This is a collaborative post.
Working from home isn’t for everyone. It’s one of those things that people think they want to do, but the reality of living the dream can be quite different. So, how do you end up as someone who sits in bed on a Sunday morning working on a laptop? There are a few factors, some positive and others not so great. You might call it the perfect storm.
Not so long ago, I was chatting to a client about remote working. He works in an environment where everyone is predominantly office based. People have the opportunity to work remotely occasionally, but he finds that their productivity level drops at home.
This really surprised me, but I do appreciate that it’s not for everyone. His colleagues are all quite young, and I suppose working from home is looked upon as a treat – and an opportunity. In the office, they’re all incredibly diligent. But at home, there are naturally more distractions. It’s part of the reason why I often work in a coffee shop.
There’s even an app these days to allow people to share home-working spaces. This may seem counterintuitive – after all if you want to work away from home, why not work in an office? But I understand the logic. Working from home is about the flexibility to work when it suits you. Working away from the house and with others provides two essential ingredients – company and accountability.
It’s so easy to ‘just quickly’ do something that needs doing around the house. Or put the laptop down and pick up the phone to mess about on Instagram. Or of course, be tempted away by something tasty in the fridge. Being away from home or around other people for a few hours a week can increase productivity and decrease loneliness. Did I mention it can get quite lonely being on your own all day every day?
For me, this is the major factor in home working. When I had Libby, I went back to work when she was just three months old. It was horrendous. I couldn’t go part time and commuted for over an hour each day. I was only able to work from home one day a week and the business wouldn’t be flexible and allow me more. So, it wasn’t long before I found something else – working from home.
By the time Lia came along, I was working freelance. I took on anything that would pay the bills. Audiotyping, writing, social media management. Then my husband had an accident and the amount of time I could dedicate to it dropped dramatically. His injuries were complicated. A broken leg that wouldn’t heal, not due to medical negligence but simply the nature of the injury. And for around 12 months, finding time to work was tough.
Looking back, it was the most difficult of times. But the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was definitely true for me. Through necessity, I found work I could do at times to suit me. Enough to pay the bills but not so much that I was up all hours to get it done. And I learnt to focus, despite everything else that was going on – or maybe because of it.
An inflexible employer, two demanding children, two dogs and a husband who was as much use as a chocolate teapot. A frustrating combination but when it came to making freelancing work for me, it was my perfect storm.