Home-working isn’t for everyone. There are some huge advantages to it, but there are also some disadvantages.
One of the advantages to home working is the extra time that is added to your day. The time that you would normally spend commuting you can spend doing other things. But there are also some real downsides. So here are the downsides:
Isolation can be both professional and social. Working on your own all day may sound great, but it can get lonely. It can also get intense; there isn’t any downtime. The time that you may spend in the office chatting to colleagues over a cup of coffee or at the water cooler doesn’t happen when you work from home. Work is work and there is little if any social interaction. You can also lose out on the all-important professional networking. And when the weekend comes round and other people are happy to spend some time pottering about at home and getting some chores done, all you want to do it get out!
Lack of exercise
Another downside can by immobility. When your commute consists of staggering out of bed, crossing a corridor and going to your desk in the spare bedroom, then the amount of physical activity you do all day can be limited. My telephone records how many steps I do each day. Today it is showing 36, which is shocking. There is also a ready supply of food. I boost my steps by walking into the kitchen and getting yet another chocolate biscuit. Which kind of defeats the object. But it is very hard to be disciplined when you don’t have a lunchbox packed full of good intentions and limited calories.
Unless you are willing to sit at your desk swaddled in jumpers with your woolly gloves on, the cost of heating your home will increase when you home-work. You will save money on your commute, but there will be additional costs associated with using your home for additional hours during the day.
Knowing when to stop
When your work is at home, then your home is always at work (or something like that). Knowing when to stop work, and not just finishing of this last piece… is important. Being able to close a door and not letting the paraphernalia of your working life encroach on your home life is essential to maintaining a semblance of work/life balance. When you are a bit bored at the weekend, or you have a bit of spare time it is easy to just finish off that report. Which is fine occasionally if that is what you want to do, but in the long run it isn’t healthy and it isn’t sustainable.
No time to wind down
One of the positive things about commuting to work is it gives you time to prepare for work, and it gives you time to wind down. When you work from home, you don’t get that opportunity. You can rapidly move from work mode to husband/wife/mother/father mode. This can be difficult. My work mode is more intense and focused (and occasionally grumpy) than my wife mode – and sometimes (actually often) I need some time to adjust before I turn in to the sunny, loving wife that my husband is used to 🙂
Home-working does work for many people. It is worth thinking it through though before you commit to it. In this blog we give some top-tips to help make home-working work for you.