It’s 2018, and I am currently one of the lucky people who has the luxury of working from any place that has Wi-Fi. There are many occasions where that might be a remote office or a coffee shop, but the majority of the time it means one main location – my home. I’ve been doing this for two years now and for the most part, I wouldn’t trade back for office life. However, there are a few key considerations to take into account if you’re looking at a position within this realm.
Everybody knows it, but let’s just get it covered. When you’re working from home, there’s no one there to judge you or keep you on track. You don’t have to get dressed. You’re on your own schedule. And you can watch Netflix all day if you want (which I may or may not be doing while writing this post). You can also take care of household chores or errands during the day. While it’s nice to have this freedom and flexibility, it’s amazing how quickly any of those things can take away from how much work you’re actually getting done. If you have family or other activities that you’re committed to in the evening, those hours that you have during the day can be especially precious. Working from home doesn’t mean you have less work to do than those in an office, and those who do it will find more success if they are disciplined and pointed about how their work gets done.
Personally, I try to take each evening to write down the tasks I want to accomplish the following day and evaluate my schedule to determine how they will fit in. Some days I sit at my computer for 8 solid hours and other days I travel about to a variety of meetings and appointments. I absolutely do take advantage of the lifestyle by scheduling in personal things during weekdays such as workouts or haircuts, but understand that this may mean I work during an evening or weekend instead. Due to my industry, my schedule is very fluid seven days a week, but there are others who have very set office hours as well.
2) Your workspace
Due to the size of our house, I do not currently have a home office. Instead, I work mostly from our kitchen table or when the mood strikes me, the couch. I’ll be the first to say that this is not ideal and creating a dedicated workspace is a HUE goal of mine this year.
If you are lucky enough to have the space for a home office, I would highly recommend it for several reasons. First of all, there are many tax benefits, such as deducting utilities, that you can take advantage of. You would also not have to clean up your “work clutter” as a part of cleaning your home. This is a large issue that I run into – my work space constantly taking over my home space to the point where we rarely eat at our dinner table). Finally, having a nice space in your home that you can invite people to can also be much more pleasant for meetings, such as those that would otherwise occur at a coffee shop, bar, etc. It allows you to control your meeting environment and also save on costs of having to purchase something each time.
Many of my close friends today are people who I have worked with in the past. The job at the time may have been a “whatever” job, but the co-workers made it worth it and we were lucky to develop a relationship outside of work by going to happy hour. This is the angle that without a doubt, I miss the most from working in an office.
Working from home can be quite isolating at times. I remember my first week when I would greet my husband right at the door each night because he was the only person I saw all day. I felt jealous that I was missing out on happy hour invites and the latest workplace gossip. Eventually, I was able to fill the void with a mix of working away from home some days and also joining a few networking groups in town. It took time and everyone needs to find their own solution that works best for their personality and lifestyle.
Special Consideration – Family and Childcare
This may not apply to all of you but I’m sure to many, whether it’s a child or even a pet. When my daughter was born, I naively believed I would be able to take care of her during the day and still get all my work done at home. Fast forward to today, and she is currently in daycare four days a week.
When I tried to do both, I immediately understood that I could not devote the time or attention that I wanted to either area. When I tended to my daughter, I felt guilty that I wasn’t getting enough work done and when I was working, I felt guilty that I should be paying more attention to her. Once we started daycare however, I was immediately given the gift of dedicated work time, and then was also able to plan ahead to the days I had with her and get my work done ahead of time.
My system isn’t perfect, but it works for where my life is right now. I’m sure if you begin a journey like this you will find your own balance as well.
Featured Photo: Tim Fitch Photography