• Your step forward Go for meaningful things in your life and career. Small steps can bring big results. This website has been created to support you through your decisions, dilemmas and actions when you feel it is time for change.
  • Useful tips The tips and advice on this website draw on selected topics from readers or from my coaching clients. Find your topic among the existing ones, or suggest one yourself.
  • Coaching - professional support for your next steps Coaching starts where useful tips end: coaching is about “you” instead of “a general case”. It considers your complex life situation, not just one issue, and it helps you create your own unique solutions.
  • People = experiences and stories Are you wondering what has helped others in a situation similar to yours? This website also offers space for sharing your experience and advice with other readers – and learning about theirs.

coach contact smallbigchange.com           

 

When work means only what you do, not where you go

Waking up half an hour or more later, throwing your comfy clothes and slippers on and, while grabbing your breakfast, switching the computer on.

Is it a dream scenario or a nightmare?

 

Thanks to technology, an increasing number of people can work from home. Some have been offered it by their employers, who decided to reduce their office costs. Other people take their own decision, ask their boss, get his or her trust, and receive the benefit.

For many professionals, home office is a cost-effective option for a business start-up. And at the same time it makes the comfort and freedom aspects of being a freelancer or self-employed come to life.

Nowadays, a huge number of people work on tasks for which the workplace does not really matter, anyway. Or does it?


I myself have had four years’ experience of working from a home office, and I have put together some of the pros and cons that I have observed, to share with you. I will be glad to hear about your reasons for working from home, and how such a setting works for you.

 

Home office


Some advantages

  • no commuting to the office every day (saving time, money, nerves, as well as the planet from some carbon dioxide)
  • time flexibility
  • many options for adjusting things to the needs of your own work/life balance
  • no need to follow dress codes
  • no need to sit like you sit when other people can see you
  • your own fridge and chocolate treasure chest at your disposal whenever you like
  • tax deduction of some home-office costs
  • freedom to furnish and decorate the place according to your own taste
  • less distraction from co-workers

 

 Risks

  • significantly less informal information from colleagues
  • no collective help in case of IT troubles or other small office disasters
  • patchy feedback on your work
  • the danger of procrastination, distraction and weak time management
  • having the work in your view also at times when you don´t want to see it or think about it
  • the impact on your family members: e.g. asking them to be quiet or to go out for two hours
  • a feeling of isolation, missing other humans around to share your days with
  • the temptation to confuse the boundaries between work time and private time, and to switch between them until late evenings and even on days off

 

What works for me

 

When I look back at my first weeks in my home office, I realize it took me a bit to find my way, but I have found it now, and I have actually solved most of the cons that I listed above.

I think it has been thanks to home-office work that I have rapidly improved my self-discipline and time-management. I get up every morning at a similar time and start to work as soon as my husband leaves for his office. I do a minimum of housework during this time, I don´t read books unrelated to work, (ok, I do sometimes over lunch).

Most importantly of all, I have built a personal network of other professionals who can consult each other, discuss work issues, give each other friendly but open feedback and support. I have a couple of local contacts with other people that I can sometimes have lunch or a coffee with during the day, before I go back to work. Also, an increased part of my work activities involves social contact, be it with my clients or other professionals.

I maintain a clear boundary: no e-mails or work during weekends or in the evening once I’ve finished my work day. I often work till late, but I always make “the end of the work day” at least an hour before going to sleep.

I have a ritual for how to switch off from work – at the end of the day I plan my next day, write down ideas and notes that keep my mind busy, and leave them on the desk, where I don´t see them until the next working day.

I never ever work in my pyjamas.              

What I find always good to regularly ask myself, are a couple of questions, such as: Who will tell me if I do something strange or stupid, but not disastrous enough to make my contractor terminate the contract?; or How can I maintain my own motivation and self-discipline, when there is nobody to tell me why I should work?

The trusted core of my social network and a couple of personal rituals are the solutions that have worked for me.

 

Growing trend: co-working

Another option for fighting against some of the disadvantages of telework from a home office, such as social isolation, is co-working, that is: working in dedicated premises among other people, who do not necessarily work on anything related to your job, (typically, other local self-employed professionals from any field). But that is already a new topic and I will write about it in one of the future articles.

 

What works for you?

What has been your experience with telework, home office or co-working? Are you ready to share it? Please click here.

  Share your experience and ask your questions about the topic.

Make an appointment or just ask anything about coaching.

  Get a monthly overview of the new articles and tips.

Let me know what you would like to find on the site.