With the internet generation, the term ‘working from home’ seems to be thrown around on a regular basis, with more and more people making a living without having to step outside of their home. For those who have never worked from home, it sounds like the ultimate dream. No commute, no having to do the dreaded office coffee rounds, wearing whatever you want and not having to deal with annoying work colleagues? I have to admit, I used to think that working from home sounded like the epitome of living on easy street. Until I did actually work from home.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m not going to talk about how horrible it is to work from home, because, for me, that’s a lie and I honestly feel very lucky to be able to work from home for part of my week. I work part of my week from home, and part in an office-based job, so I get to see it from both sides. And when it comes to working from home, yes, it IS great getting up a bit later, and not having to deal with morning commuters, and yes, I love being able to go and make myself something tasty in the kitchen for my lunch instead of crumpled up sandwiches that have been sat in my bag for hours. But, for anyone who has worked from home, it isn’t quite the total ‘dream’ that you might presume.
- You aren’t free to just ditch work whenever you feel like it.
Unfortunately (and this is one that some people just don’t get), ‘working from home’ is still ‘working’. You still have clients/colleagues to speak to, deadlines to meet, and work that needs doing. Now, I will sometimes meet some friends for a coffee over lunchtime (if my work schedule), but this, for me means working extra hours later in the day to make up the time and work that I’ve missed. Sure, noone is there to stop me from walking out and having an afternoon off, but those emails and that work will still be there for me when I get home. Which leads me to….
- Don’t expect normal working hours.
For some people who work from home, and particularly, those who are self-employed, working from home means you often get caught up in work in the evenings and on weekends. If a last-minute request comes in, or you’ve had a particularly busy week, then it can be easy to just get a bit of work done when other 9-5-ers are enjoying some chill-out time. Other things, such as invoices and taxes etc can take up even more of that extra time.
- Keeping up your motivation is key.
Working from home, with nobody around, it can be easy to drift off, or to lose motivation for whatever you’re doing. There are no work colleagues around to get you back on track or chat things through with, and at times, it can be a real struggle to keep your working levels high and not get distracted. There have been times when I’m struggling to get motivated to work, so I distract myself by cleaning my office, or watching some Youtube videos. Neither of which helped me to get back into work-mode and actually just made it worse. I now set up to do lists and mini-deadlines throughout the day to keep me on track – but I am sure there are plenty of other tips and tricks out there to keep you motivated.
- It can be lonely and isolating.
Getting to see things from both sides (office working and working from home), there is definitely something to be said for having people around you to chat to throughout the day. Even just the odd five minute chat about the weather, or what you got up to at the weekend can be a nice break from work and help you to feel refreshed and ready to get back into it. When you’re working from home, you can go an entire 8 hours (or more!) without speaking to a single person, which can, at times, lead to a real feeling of ‘cabin fever’. I find it helpful to make sure I have even just a quick call – to a friend, or Lee or my mum – at some point throughout the day, just to stop you from going a bit mad.
All of this said, I do love getting to work from home, even just for part of my week and I feel very lucky to be able to do so. But if you think that working from home is a ‘breeze’, then have a read because it might not be all you think it is. And for those of you who work from home, but struggle with motivation, I’ll be sharing my top tips next week!
Does anybody else work from home? Do you have any tips?