Whilst working as an employee most of the time you have little say in where you work and for some professions and roles you can only ever work in one specific environment, for example, within a classroom of a school or on a ward within a hospital. In some professions there is the provision to work from home for some of the time, but the nature of public sector roles does not lend themselves to working from home full time.
One of the reasons why people start their own business is the freedom to dictate where you will work from. This is especially true if you have children and one of your motivating factors for making this kind of change is to be able to spend more time with them or so that you can be flexible with hours to tie into school runs etc. For me, a critical factor in being able to work from home was that we could have dogs again. Previously when we were both working full time, the hours we worked each day would have been too long for young dogs. Though there was a moment when we welcomed two springer pups into our home that we questioned our sanity at the decision to have dogs again.
If you're thinking of looking at opportunities where you can work from home, I thought in today's blog I'd explore the benefits and challenges of doing so.
- You have far greater flexibility. Maybe you are one of those people that works better at certain times of the day than others. Sometimes you might want to double up your time so that you can give yourself some time off another day. If you only want to work a set number of days, you can swap the days you work around to suit you when needed. It's also handy if you are internet shopper and you get Amazon deliveries just about every day.
- There are no managers, colleagues, people ringing all the time etc, distracting you.
- You can be more efficient and effective, often you can do more work in less time, especially as you have got rid of the annoying distractions.
- No more Air Con Wars. No more listening to people whining they are too cold whilst hogging the window seat. No more fighting to maintain a constant temperature when people are turning the heater up to 30'C. You control the temperature of your domain.
- You can play music, watch tv, make as many drinks as you like or work in your PJs if you want (I found I was less productive if did this, so for some it might be a challenge.) If you don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn you don’t have to.
- Gone is the morning commute and all the stress and hassle that comes with that. Gone is going to and from work in the dark.
- You don't have to work a 9-5 job so you're no longer a wage slave, and that is quite liberating.
- It allows you to have better balance with home and family life.
- When you are just starting out, the worry about money if there is no regular income can be an issue. Though you soon realise that you don’t need as much money as before as you don’t eat out a lunch time any more and gone are your travelling costs.
- It can get lonely working from home. You can go all day not talking to someone and you can't have office banter with the cat or dog. They just don't get it. Factor in time for meeting up with people for a coffee, attend network meetings or form your own small business network. You can bet that if you are feeling lonely from time to time, other people are as well.
- Be strict with your time or schedule. Some days it can be easy to get stuck in a Netflix binge or watching day time TV, especially if you are procrastinating.
- Other people don't think you have a "proper" job. They don't see what you do as work. So, you could be working longer hours than before, earning more money than in your previous employment but because you aren't physically leaving the house in the morning and coming home at night, it's not work.
- Sometimes it is hard to separate work life and home life. If you do plan to work from home, try to have a separate room to act as your office space, this creates some demarcation between work and everyday life.
Hopefully if you are thinking of working from home on a permanent basis, today's blog has given you a bit of insight into the benefits and challenges of working from home.