The Lonely Aspects Of Working From Home

Up until nearly 6 years ago I worked in an office.  I’d been an office worker since I left University after my Master’s Degree and joined the Civil Service.  I always used to think about how lovely it would be to work from home and not leave the house at 6am every morning to get to work and then have a long tiring commute home every night.  The thought of saving around 2 1/2 hours a day on my commute and just rolling out to bed to work in my PJs all day seemed like heaven!  When I left the Civil Servive back in January 2013 due to ill health I knew that I didn’t want to spend all day doing nothing but a less stressful job accompanied by no commute sounded wonderful.

At this point I had already been blogging for 3 years but due to my job I was not allowed to monitise my blog but I had managed to work out the basics of blogger.  I will admit I honestly thought life would be lovely, I’d get up at leisure, take a few photos and write a little and hey presto the work would come flooding in.  How wrong was I?

Nearly 6 years later I have moved over to WordPress as I quickly found a free blogger account was very restricting and I was quickly thrown in to self hosting on wordpress where my blogs have been for the past 4 1/2 years, you can’t just have one blog can you?

After a while, when I had suddenly gone on a HUGE learning curve relating to sales, marketing, graphic design, social media manager, photographer, copywriter etc etc I realised how isolating working from home can be.  The main thing I have found hard to get my head around is the social isolation of being on my own all day.  The actual fact that there is nobody to just say hello to can become very isolating before you even take in to account needing someone to talk to about advice, reassurance and a basic sounding board for ideas and that’s before you consider a team to cheer you on when you think all if going wrong. 

The constant quiet can be isolating especially when all you hear if you tap tap tapping on your keyboard.  As strange as it sounds I miss the office back ground noise even someone coughing or muttering under their breath can make all the difference.  The office noise that you never heard when working in an office becomes all too clear when it is suddenly missing.  It also becomes very clear than you alone are respoinsible for everything and if its something you can’t do or doesn’t come naturally to you, you find that you are on a huge learning curve.

I have been looking lately at co-workin spaces just to enable me to tke time away from the usual lonely 4 walls I work from at home.  As the nearest ones are over an hour away *insert what was my usual commute when I was employed and they then suddenly lose their apeal.  But I do try to get out of the house at ;east one moring/afternoon a week and sit in a local cafe and work from there.  the fact it’s a different 4 walls is a mental boost at least.

Working from home can be isolating but at the sametime fit in to my life.  These are the pros and cons I face working from home:

The Pros

  • You are your own boss and there will no longer be office politics to try and avoid.
  • You will be more able to find the work/life balance that is perfect for your situation meaning you will have more time to spend with friends and family.
  • You will no longer have to do the daily commute.
  • You can make money from a hobby or interest and spend your days doing things that truly spark your imagination.
  • Being self emplyed will give you more flexibilty to take time off to spend with your family at special events and occassions.
  • You will be more able to take a last minute holiday or actually take time off when you want to.  Just think, no more office politics over who has to spend the Cristmas/New Year period at work!  It will be your time to have the whole holiday period off every year.
  • It will be much easier to attend hospital, Drs and dental appointments.

The Cons

  • You are responsible for filing your own tax returns and for paying tax and national insurance if due.
  • When you are self employed there is no paid sick or holiday leave.
  • You will be responsible for your own pension that an employer won’t top up.
  • It can often be difficult to find a suitable space within your home to set up ‘office’ where you do not need to pack everything away at the end of the day to make space on the dinning room table to eat your evening meal.
  • Setting work ‘boundaries’ can be hard.  You could end up not walkimg away from your work on evenings and weekends or spend all day being distracted by ‘life’ at home, be it a favourite tv series or household jobs.
  • It can be difficult for friends and family to understand that you have work to do during the day and that you are not at home to run errands or have people pop in for a cup of tea.  They wouldn’t expect that if you were employed outside of the home.
  • You can feel very isolated if there is nobody around to have a quick chat at the drinks machine or bounce ideas off.
  • It can be difficult to have structure to your work day when life is all around you, especially when others are in the house relaxing.
  • It is often difficult to wear all the different hats you need to constantly be wearing when you are self employed and work from home.  There are so many skills you need to learn and quickly!
  • Often you will be responsible for finding your own work.  I think we would all love it if work just dropped in to our laps!
  • There’s usually no office party as lets face it, it would look a little silly with you say there all on your own.

Working from home could never be described as a bed of roses but for me it fits my current circumstances perfect.  Are you self employed and work from home on your own?  What do you do to stop feeling isolated?

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