I’ve been working from home for several years now. While I’d daydreamed about being self-employed for many years, the reality of actually working from home took quite a while to adjust to. As with any situation, there are positive and negatives. Most days, it’s fabulous, but sometimes I’d gladly trade it for a corporate job where I work as part of a team.
If you savour solitude and you’re self-motivated to complete tasks, perhaps you’d succeed in a work-at-home environment. However, if you’re the type of person who thrives on competition and needs the constant company of others, working from home may not be for you.
If you’ve ever seriously considered working from home, following are some points you might like to consider before taking the plunge.
Working from home – The Pros
Set your own schedule
I love the flexibility of working from home. I can take time off during the day and work early in the morning or later in the evening, so long as I meet my clients’ deadlines.
“Casual Fridays” every day
Yes, I can work in my pyjamas if I want to, but I choose to get dressed each day, as it makes me feel more “ready” for work.
There’s no-one to disturb you with their annoying habits or pointless interruptions/distractions. The only true interruption I have is email and the phone – which is usually a client … and that means work, which is just the right kind of interruption! 🙂
Sure, I occasionally go out to meet with a client, which I enjoy, but I certainly don’t have to sit through long, boring, pointless meetings #winning
If I went out to rent an office, there would be a number of expenses involved. As a small business, it’s important to keep costs to a minimum, so it’s handy to have my office at home.
Flexible work locations
I can work wherever I want, whether it’s in the office, the living room (I do my best editing at the dining table), the library, a co-working space, a coffee shop or down at the beach if I want to.
I never have to worry about traffic jams or public transport delays, and I save a great deal on petrol and car maintenance by working from home.
Because I have no distractions, I’m much more productive than I was in the corporate world. Although I’ve always had a strong work ethic, I do achieve more as I’m motivated by making my clients happy, rather than the boss. (P.S. Happy clients = more referrals, which builds my business).
Meals are cheaper
Instead of buying lunches, I can prepare them at home, which saves on food costs. I occasionally treat myself to a lunch out of the “office”.
I’m home for the children
Our teenagers are pretty independent, but it’s good to know that I’ll be home most afternoons if they need me to help or take them somewhere.
Working from home – The Cons
It can sometimes be lonely. I have our dog as company (some would say better company than a few people!), but sometimes it would be great to have a colleague to bounce ideas off…. Only sometimes.
Most days, I’m perfectly happy with the solitude, but occasionally, I miss the sense of camaraderie I had when I worked in the corporate world. When it’s your birthday, time for the Christmas party or Melbourne Cup Day, there’s no-one to celebrate with. I have to arrange to meet up with friends or business associates for this type of celebration, which is fine, but it’s not the same as having a group of co-workers around you.
Self-discipline is essential
Some days I really need to have a stern talk with myself to get motivated and sit down to work. There are still deadlines to meet and clients to communicate with, but there’s no boss to report to.
Lack of boundaries
It’s taken me years to train my family and friends that I do WORK from home. I’m not just sitting around drinking cups of tea all day long, I’m actually working, so when they phone or call in unannounced, I often have to give them the short shift.
Work is ALWAYS there
I’m fortunate to have a separate office within the home. However, work is always around me, which can make it difficult to maintain work/life balance at times (is there really such a thing?) I can’t just finish up at 5pm and walk away if there’s still work to be done – and often go back to the office after dinner. If I have a client waiting for their job, I sometimes work quite early, rather late and even on weekends!
While it’s great to have happy clients, there is little recognition for a job well done (other than the bill being paid and sometimes receiving a referral). There’s no boss or co-workers to give you a pat on the back.
While there are points on both sides above, I’m quite happy to be working from home, and I do enjoy it most of the time.
Do you work from home? If you work outside the home, what do you think would be the best thing about working from home, if you had the opportunity to do it?
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