The following text is a contribution from a freelance writer, Jenny Holt.
It all seemed like such a perfect idea. My office job would switch into a remote job – I would work from home, spend more time with the kids and the dog, cut out the dreaded commute, and spend more time gardening, baking, and reading books in the conservatory. Yes, those things were all done, but the work went terribly and I learned some harsh lessons when remote work turned into no work. Working from home is a positive experience, but only if you put the hard work in and do it smart.
If you’re working for a company which can exist online or where you do your work on a computer, then it is work that can be done at home as well as in the office. There are a lot of positives to it. I was able to take my children to school, work in bed when I was feeling ill, and avoid that commute altogether, but when I took up freelancing, I worked very hard.
By working from home, you’ll also be more engaged with your workload, as there are fewer distractions like people offering you a coffee, or colleagues pestering you for a natter. With fewer distractions, more work gets done. Furthermore, that old boss who always interrupted you to make themselves feel like they had a purpose in life? Not there, no more. Gone. In fact, the University of Stanford found that of 13,000 people studied, 12% were more productive working at home. These are all positives if you are like me, eventually, who thrive when working alone in a quiet, comfortable place. If you can only work in a noisy office surrounded by people and competing with colleagues eye-to-eye, then working from home is not for you.
However, there are of course cons when it comes to working from home. If you’re not the type of person to be self-disciplined, then you’ll struggle to work away from the office environment. This got me at first. It began with giving the dog a fuss and going for a longer walk, it continued with snacks from the fridge, daytime TV, catch up TV, magazines, and continued with housework. Nobody is pushing you to work at home, so a quick twenty-minute break can easily become hours wasted away on YouTube or Facebook. It only worked for me when I instilled some discipline.
Relationships were the hardest thing for me to deal with. Working away from colleagues makes it more difficult to form proper relationships and friendships with colleagues. I lost touch with my best friends from the office. We became occasional email buddies if that. My husband would come home talking about his work buddies and I’d have nothing to talk about on the social front. However, there are interest groups out there, there is a community of work from homers, and being at home, means it’s more fun to go out and see people in the evenings or for lunch.
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind.