Whether you already work from home or perhaps you are considering making a move at some point in the future, this post is a tell-all version of the truth about working from home, from someone who has done it for many years.
· Got a great idea for a business?
· Have clients who you know would deal with you directly if you were to branch out on your own?
· Want a better work-life balance?
· Need flexible working hours?
These are just a few of the most compelling reasons that people decide they want to work from home. Renting an office is no longer a requirement, nor is it often a cost that new businesses or consultants can afford, especially when it is not needed, and you can operate from a home-office setting.
Is Working from Home All It's Cracked Up To Be?
There is much debate on the subject of working from home. People are undecided as to whether it is one of the most liberating things to happen for business people and employees alike, or potentially disastrous for productivity and business as a whole.
So, if you are thinking about making a move to a home office, here are some points to consider.
You End Up Doing More Chores Around the House
Nobody sets out to work from home with the intent of doing more chores. However, because you are home more often, you automatically feel obliged to take care of things that need to be done. If you had been in an office, these tasks would have simply got done as a matter of course of the week or at the weekend.
Sure, if you need a workman to come out to fix something, it is handy that you can be at home without needing to worry about taking time off work. However, you need to be prepared for that house call to cost you time, and ultimately money.
Things do tend to spiral, it may start with a ten-minute dishwashing task, to mowing the lawn, or even looking after the kids and picking them up from school, because after all, you have the flexibility in your schedule to be able to DO IT ALL.
But everything you do during your working day that is not actual work will end up impacting you further down the line. Perhaps you have to work in the evenings to catch up, you fall behind, you miss deadlines, or even book less business because you’re not 100% focussed on the task at hand.
This can be easily fixed, as long as you are self-disciplined, and you have clear boundaries during working hours.
You Could Improve Your Health
We’ve all been there at one point or another; the daily commute. If you’re lucky, you might only spend an hour a day travelling to and from the office. But for some, that can easily be extended to 2-3 hours per day. This adds up over time and can have a significant impact on your overall health as well.
When you work from home, you rid yourself of the energy-sapping commute. You are more in control of your time, of what you eat, when you eat, and when you start and stop your work.
Avoiding cake and other office treats that get put into circulation, along with not binge-eating after being held up at the office or stuck in traffic, each of these points contributes to helping you become a healthier and happier worker.
Unless you have a meeting, you also forgo the need to select your workwear, iron your clothes, prepare your lunch, and undertake your daily grooming routine, giving you even more time to be productive.
Are you Actually Working?
Not everyone has the confidence, the skills, or the drive to work from home. If you take the leap, there will be plenty of family and friends who will jokingly ask you if you are working from home or if you are catching up on your Netflix shows.
Many people believe that flexible working routine means that you are available at the drop of a hat to do things during the middle of the day. For friends and family who know you are at home and might need you, they sometimes have a tendency to turn up expecting you to be able to drop things and help or entertain them.
Trust me, as much as I love my friends and family, turning up unannounced at my home for a ‘quick coffee’ in the middle of the working day can be a huge productivity killer. It can also distract you from working, and while many of us would not wish to appear to be rude or unwelcoming, it is one of the biggest frustrations as it puts you out of sync, interrupts your working flow, and above all else, it can result in you missing deadlines and losing out on booking revenue for your business.
Be strict, do not accept visitors into your home when you are working. A quick visit, even for just 30 minutes can throw you off course for the entire day.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Even if you enjoy time spent alone, cabin fever can start to creep in. Founder Isolation is ‘a thing’, it is also known as loneliness. It is one of the few drawbacks of working from home. However, as long as you are aware of it, you can deal with it.
If you do not deal with it, it can lead to social awkwardness and make things that you have always taken for granted, such as making small talk and interacting with other a challenge. For some people, when your home becomes your office, you forget how to switch off at night and can end up working before, during, and even after dinner.
Don’t forget to have a life outside of work. A good tip for staying in control of this is to give yourself a separate workspace in your home. You need to have an escape room, a place where work is off limits, a place you can switch off at the end of the day or even take a break in during the day.
A great tip I was once told is to try to find other people like you who also work from home. Having people that you can talk to or message, who know the trials and tribulations you face as a home worker is key to survival.
Is it right for you?
Working from home is not always right for everyone. If you take your energy from the people around you and enjoy working as a part of a team. It might not be the wisest move to branch out as a solo entrepreneur just yet. However, if you enjoy quiet time and working alone, and you have a good level of self-discipline and motivation, then it could be one of the most significant changes you make in your adult life.