Working from home – the good and the bad

A while ago I took on a job doing SEO/digi-marketing for an affiliate company. As their team is based in various countries and there’s no ‘office’ as such, this means everyone is home based.

Working from home has always appealed to me. Back when I was working for a local authority I used to do this one day per week and I always enjoyed it.

There were a few reasons I accepted the job (more dynamic company, challenging niche, better pay, more learning and so on) but the working from home bit was the icing on the cake.

Now, many people when I tell them I work from home go “ooh I couldn’t do that”. I can understand why – many (perhaps the majority of people) need the social stimulus of ‘real company’, or to be physically around other people to be motivated.

Frankly though as someone who’s always been somewhat of a loner, and quite happy being on my own for long periods, this doesn’t faze me at all. This week (weather being sunny and nice and all) I really felt grateful and appreciative for my working arrangements. It was a moment of realisation that I would dread going back into ‘regular’ office work and that this suits me down to the ground.

I’m bigging home-working up here but yes it’s not without its downfalls. So here’s what I see as the benefits:

1) No travel time – I save around 30 mins each way versus my old job – an hour per day that’s around 20 hours per month. Nice

2) No travel expense – no season tickets, nothing.

3) Flexibility in working hours – sometimes I’ve started at 730am, sometimes 930am. I’ve finished at 430pm, I’ve finished at 10pm.

4) Flexibility in where I work – by this I mean I can work from my dining room table, sat on sofa in living room, laid in bed, or in nice weather, sat outside in my garden. Anywhere I have my laptop and a internet connection. I love it.

5) Being around my dogs all day – they love it, I love it. I can take them out for a walk at lunchtime at a time that suits me.

6) I get to be in if there’s deliveries – I don’t have to worry about times or taking a day off work.

7) I dictate my working environment – if I want to work in silence I can, if I want loud music of my choice on, I can.

8) I can slob around if I want – no ‘office dress’ policy (which I’ve never understood anyway but hey)

9) I dictate my day – admittedly this is to some extent because of the difference of being ‘in house’ versus agency, but I like the way I can think well, perhaps I haven’t woken up properly yet so I’ll do X task, then spend the afternoon doing something more intensive, or whatever.

As you can probably tell, I enjoy my job and working from home!

OK so what are the downfalls?

1) Lack of actual interactivity – this doesn’t bother me so much now and I’ve adapted quite well I think, but it’s very different working remotely – for example interpreting a colleague’s tone or intent via text-form isn’t as easy as speaking to someone face-to-face.

2) Too easy to work too long – I guess a good thing about working from an office is that when you leave work, that’s usually it. If you work from home, it’s so easy to check your emails, etc etc.

3) When you leave the house things can be a bit surreal – e.g. going into the joys of Southampton at the weekend can be a bit overwhelming!

The main two factors to make home working a success though, IMO are doing something you love, and being a self-motivated person. If you’re doing some boring shitty job you’re going to find it hard to get up in the morning or to get going. If you’re not motivated by yourself, without someone giving you the odd kick up the arse, it won’t work out.

So there we go – I’m so used to it now and still enjoying more of it (e.g. this week sitting out in the garden working whilst my dogs sunbathed) I just dread ever having to go back to a ‘normal’ job. I’m very fortunate.