The idea of working from home might be really appealing, but it’s something that you should consider carefully before you decide to make the switch from working in an office.
When people have to go out to work, they tend to only see the plus points of the home working scenario. There would be no miserable commuter journey to put up with and you could be so much more productive in the time that you’d save not having to travel to work. You could nip out to watch the children’s school assembly or sports day, and fit in medical and hair appointments mid-week, for example.
What people don’t always consider are the downsides. Have a think about the points below and see whether you really would be suited to home working.
Do you like being by yourself?
Working from home can be lonely at times, especially if you’re a gregarious type that enjoys the banter of office life. Of course, the advantage is that you can avoid a lot of office politics but some people do find that working at home can leave them feeling quite isolated.
You can still arrange to meet colleagues now and then, but you’ll generally do most of your face to face meetings over Skype or similar, rather than travelling in on a regular basis. You may already know if you’re a good lone worker or not; but if not, perhaps you should trial working from home and see how you get on with it first.
Do you have self-discipline?
When you’re at home, might you be distracted by household chores or by thinking about what you’re going to cook for dinner. Home working only really suits those people who can be quite self-disciplined about the time they are working and the time they are not. People who let the two roll together often end up working longer, less productive hours and the line between work and recreation can blur as they fall into the bad habit of procrastination.
How do you like admin?
If you’re part of a big company, you tend to have fewer administrative tasks to take care of. You file your expenses receipts; you don’t have to do anything else with them. If you choose to work for yourself from home, then you have to take care of all the back-office admin that would be someone else’s problem in a big firm. Working for yourself, you wear a lot of hats, from tea maker to accounts manager. Some people thrive on this kind of work environment; others don’t.
Do you have the space to work from home? Although we all have laptops and tablets which give us the ability to work from anywhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can work from home full-time. While doing the odd bit of work on the laptop on the kitchen table might be ok when you usually go off to the office to work, you’ll need a more permanent work space solution if you’re going to work at home all the time. Not only will you need the space to dedicate to work papers and admin, but you will also need the space to be able to think without being disturbed or interrupted by other members of your household.
Don’t rush into choosing to work from home – weigh up the pros and cons carefully and decide which kind of working lifestyle you’d be most suited to.