Working From Home, a Dream or a Nightmare?
For many working from home is the stuff dreams are made of, and although only a small percentage of people will ever end up fulfilling this dream it is worth spending some time looking at the pros and cons.
When I first began working from home it was when my office in a downtown highrise decided to cut costs by moving to a smaller office in the suburbs. As my position of a web designer is done completely online and from a computer, I was one of the first to be given the option to work from home. I, of course, took it, knowing that this meant an enormous amount of freedom, and perhaps most importantly, the option to work in my pajamas! It was not all fun and games, however, and I would like to share some of the things that I learned “the hard way” so that maybe you will not have to:
1. Set up and maintain a dedicated workspace
It is easy to want to work on the couch in front of the television, or outside on the porch, or at the coffee shop down the street- but it is essential to set up, use, and MAINTAIN your at home workspace. For some people, this is a no brainer, but for me things can get out of control really quick if I am not being extra conscious of what I am doing. If you are lucky enough to have an extra room you can set up as an office you are golden, but if not you may need to get creative. I have used room partitions before to set off a portion of my bedroom as a work-space and this seems to work well. The important thing is that you set up your space and use it.
2. Maintain an Even Work/Life Balance
When you think about the phrase “working from home” it sounds pretty appealing, but when you realize that the opposite is also true, in that you are also simultaneously “living at work” some of the appeal seems to fade. With this being the case it is important to set the two apart and identify different parts of your day as “work” time and others as “your” time. With the boundaries between work and home blurred this can be easier said than done so it is worth keeping in the front of your mind.
3. Set Boundaries With Friends and Family
It is often difficult for those who don’t work from home to comprehend that just because I am in my pajamas that I am not actually “at work.” Because of this they may be more prone to engage you socially or expect other things from you such as running errands or doing extra housework since you are “at home” that they would not if you were at the “the office.”
This can be especially true if you have little ones running around- I know I am definitely looking forward to the end of the summer! On a serious note, it is okay and in fact necessary to draw boundaries and expectations from family, friends, and room mates so that your work time is recognized and treated as such. This is a two way street however, so if they see you sitting around, drinking coffee, watching TV, or otherwise appear to be not taking your work seriously they will be less likely to as well.
By applying the above you will love working from home as much as I do!