Dominic Foster has written a post on Benefits of Working From Home which, as the title suggests, outlines some of the upsides of working at home:
- Choose your own hours
- Get to see more of your family
- Save money
- Maintain sanity
- Save time
He explains each and makes good sense – I’d write a similar list of benefits that I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years.
I’d add a few things to it including incredible:
- flexibility – as I’m writing this I can see the delivery guy for our new washing machine arriving – if I were not working at home there’d be no one here to take deliveries, let tradesmen in to do work etc.
- productivity – IF you’re a disciplined type of person (and don’t get distracted by the XBox) productivity levels are potentially quite high. I find I get an incredibly amount of work done simply because I don’t have the distractions of meetings, workmates, etc. I also work more hours (and enjoy doing so) as I can just pop into the office in the evenings or weekends without having to catch a train or drive anywhere.
Of course there are a few downsides to working at home also that include:
- Loneliness – while I have a constant stream of ‘virtual companionship’ via IM and email I’ve often lamented the fact that I don’t have someone to chat to over the water cooler about the footy or someone at the next desk to work on a project with. While I’m an introvert and enjoy my alone time a definite downside of working at home can be isolation.
- Blurring of Home/Work - I actually think that this is a partial strength and partial weakness of working at home. On the upside it does mean that you CAN (if you’re disciplined) get more work hours in a day. This might sound bad but as someone who really enjoys my work it is actually a plus for me. On the flip side there is obviously a downside and while Dominic rightly says you get to see more of your family (if they’re home during the day) it can mean negotiating boundaries and avoiding the temptation to always be working.
- Distractions – every workplace has it’s distractions and the home is full of them. They can come in the form of family (I suspect I’m about to learn about this one with V stopping work in 3 weeks and Mini-Rowse moving in a few weeks later), electronics (TV, gadgets, video games etc), books, gardening, bed…. the list goes on. Having said this I constantly surprise myself by how focussed I am on my work. If you’d asked me 5 years ago whether I’d be able to do it I’d have said no way – but for me if anything perhaps I should work MORE on being distracted than less as if anything I work too much.
I’d love to hear the experiences of other work at home bloggers and entrepreneurs. What are the benefits and costs that you see of working at home? What strategies do you use to get the most out of it?
A Question for Work at Home Parents
I’m particularly interested to hear from Work-at-Home parents. As I move towards this myself I’m really looking forward to it but am also a little anxious about how it will go as I not only become the sole breadwinner (once the maternity leave runs out) but also have the added distractions of wife and baby at home. Anyone got any tips for me?