There’s been a significant increase in the number of people working from home, making use of Internet technologies that mean you can perform your role from the comfort of your own home, and rarely if ever having to travel for meetings. You could be a freelancer with clients all over the world, using Skype and email to communicate, and working collaboratively within a Slack group. You could be working for someone else, but by using Cloud computing you have access to all the documents, information and resources online that you need to do your job. The advantages are many, but there are a couple of issues with working from home that you need to consider carefully if you are going to make this lifestyle work for you.
Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can give in to the temptation to do other things instead of getting on with your work. You’ll be surrounded by opportunities to procrastinate, for example doing household chores that you can see need attending to, making coffee every ten minutes, getting side-tracked by a new book, or taking an extra-long lunch break to finish a TV boxset. While you’re at your desk, you run the risk of getting lost in the intriguing and entertaining posts and websites on the Internet, and before you know it you’ve lost a couple of hours looking at photos of celebrity plastic surgeries gone wrong.
If you work from home, you need to behave with the same self-control as you would if you’re commuting to the office. Have a routine, schedule your day to fit your allotted work time in, and make working for the required time each day a priority. You may, especially if you’re freelancing, be able to work flexible hours, so if it suits you better you don’t have to stick with the nine to five kind of schedule, but could arrange your day so you can spend time with the kids afterschool, then work another session in the evening.The important thing is to make sure you plan a routine that works for you and makes best use of your time, so you don’t waste any parts of your day.
Working from home does mean you are somewhat isolated from your colleagues and clients for a lot of the time, and it can feel lonely on occasions. For introverts this can be a blissful state of affairs, being able to spend most of the day on their own, and choosing when to see other people. However, if you’re the sociable type, this can be one of the most difficult aspects of working from home, so you need to think of ways to prevent yourself becoming isolated.
Maintaining social contacts is important, so keep in touch with colleagues and friends online, but also by calling them on the phone or having a chat via video link. Make arrangements to meet up in person too, especially with friends and family. It’s easy to let the days slip past and not make arrangements to meet, because you’re working hard and don’t realize how long it’s been. But if you’re starting to feel down about the lack of meaningful human contact, you’re probably overdue for a get-together.
It’s a good idea to try and get out into the world most days,because if you have no reason to leave the house you might end up not seeing another living soul for days on end. If you’ve got kids and need to take them to school, that will get you out, but rather than dashing in with them and racing off again, take some time to have a quick chat with the other parents while you’ve got the chance.
Make the effort to organize getting your friends over for dinner, or a movie night, where you can all relax together. Now the marijuana laws are changing across the US and in Canada, you might be able to share a joint or two on your social evenings. It’s possible to order weed online now, from legitimate suppliers like Dope Mail, so you can easily arrange for a relaxing evening enjoying the company of good friends and being with people you can share conversation and lots of laughter with. Alternatively, you could meet up at a friend’s house, or go out for the evening. It would be good for you to not always have people over to yours, because although you will benefit from the company, you’ll still be at home, and you need to get out of your familiar environment to ensure you are stimulated and you feel the benefits of a change of scenery.
Being able to work at home might sound like reward enough for many people, but in practice it can be hard to operate without any supervisory feedback or positive reinforcement. Freelancers, in particular, have to cope with frequent rejections, being ignored, and only hearing from clients when there’s a problem. If you’re employed, your company should have systems in place to ensure you get positive feedback and some form of reward if your work is good enough, so if you miss this aspect of employment, or you feel down about not being told your work is good very often, find ways of rewarding yourself. Whenever you do get positive comments, make a note of them so you can refer back to them when you feel neglected. Find some simple ways to give yourself small treats when you achieve certain goals or complete particular pieces of work. That doesn’t mean a cream cake every time, though! A ten-minute break to go for a walk, getting yourself a special coffee now and then, making a call to your best friend, or buying yourself a small present are better ways of congratulating yourself for a job well done.
If you are able to work productively, prevent social isolation, and find ways of feeling appreciated for the job you do, then working from home can be an excellent and very positive lifestyle choice.