How do you get any work done at home?
I understand that some people might find it difficult, but for me it has been a good fit. I am much more productive at home than I ever was working in an office or a lab. As an introvert, I can concentrate much better when I’m on my own. In fact, I find it quite calming to be at home.
Saying that, working from home is still ‘work’. As much as everyone likes to tease me, I do not sit around watching Ellen and baking cupcakes everyday. While I admit at the start it was tempting to watch movies on the couch all day, I would not find that very fulfilling in the long-term.
“Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.” -Anne Frank
There is a hilarious oatmeal comic on “why working from home is both horrible and awesome” (you can read it here).
From my own perspective of this working lifestyle, I’ve noticed the following:
- More flexibility: I can work from anywhere in the world (as long as I have an internet connection and a laptop). This means if my partner is traveling for work for a month or so, I can join him. I can also work with my slippers on and wearing my tracky-daks and no one will ever know (well now you guys know, but only because I told you!).
- Reduced stress: I can fit my freelance work around my household chores. Being able to multitask saves me time and means my overall stress levels are reduced. For example, I can put a load of washing on, and then do an hours editing work before hanging it out to dry (and giving me a break from the computer screen). I can do my shopping when it isn’t so crowded (I hate grocery shopping on a Saturday!). And I have been able to do more exercise. It is much easier to squeeze in a quick run when you are working from home, which again is better for my mental health and reducing stress.
- Improved motivation: Some people have said to me: “Oh I wouldn’t be motivated enough to work from home”. But I find it more motivating to work for myself rather than working for someone else. The work I put into my business benefits me. Yes, I still have my days where I would rather watch a movie, doesn’t everyone? But with deadlines to meet and clients to keep happy, I can’t do that.
On the downside, working from home often means:
- Longer working hours: As my clients come from all around the world, my job is no longer 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. I may have to work nights and weekends to meet deadlines and clients will expect me to be in regular email contact even on the weekend. Because of this, the line between ‘work time’, and ‘personal time’ can get blurred, especially as I can no longer leave my work at the office.
- Social isolation: This is a tough one. I definitely miss the social interactions and support you get in a workplace. I try to get around this by scheduling time to catch up with friends for a coffee or breakfast, or making sure I meet with people for dinner during the week. Also, communication via email and social media can help me feel connected to the outside world.
Note: It is important to mention that I do not have children at home. I can honestly say it would be extremely difficult to get work done at home if you had children demanding your attention as well. However, I have read some great blog posts from parents that offer tips on how you can manage this (check out the wikiHow page and the wonderful blog post by Sarah Dobbins).