28th February 2012
25 Home Truths
(This is an old photo. It looks more like a studio and less like a call centre now.)
I’ve been working from home for 3 years.
There are good things and bad things about eating, sleeping and working all under the same roof.
Here are my observations on the subject:
1. Awesome daily commute.
(Approx 15 seconds)
No traffic jams, no angry commuters, no travel costs.
2. No scary out of office hours.
Early birds and night owls know how creepy a big empty studio can be.
Work early or late without fear of the Blair Witch.
3. Your Postman will judge you.
Even if you are fully dressed and have been working since 5am, every time you open the door to him he will assume:
a. You have no job
b. You have a lame job
c. You are a ‘lazy student’
4. The temptation to work in your pj’s all day is IMMENSE.
You can’t do your best work in a onsie.
5. When Skyping, dress (all) of yourself to impress.
Sporting a cool screen printed tee and “commission me” grin on your top half, whilst from the waist down you’re clad in Mr Men shorts isn’t a great idea.
Get your game face on and your PJ’s off.
It needs to be unlimited and reliable.
7. It’s oh so quiet…
Say goodbye to mind numbing office small talk, Barry’s weird choice of German techno beats and Susan’s booming telephone voice.
Working from home is blissfully peaceful…
8 … Unless of course you have noisy neighbours.
Over the years I’ve shared walls, ceilings and floors with a DIY enthusiast, 3 kids with a penchant for e-numbers, a couple of ravers, a couple with anger issues and a larger lady who does Zumba in the afternoon.
9. Noise cancelling headphones are a sound investment.
10. Working from home can be lonely.
If you are used to working in a big, busy environment the initial quietness of being alone can be unsettling.
There’s no one on hand to bounce ideas off, to laugh at the latest YouTube clip of a cat on a skateboard with or to double check your spelling.
You have to become very self sufficient and independent.
11. Remember to shower.
12. Having meetings in your home can be a bit weird – for both parties.
There’s nothing like worrying you’ve left your pants drying on the bathroom heater to make you fluff a pitch.
Quiet cafes with big tables and good cakes are where I conduct my meetings and greetings.
If ‘cardio’ has become shuffling from desk to kettle, you’ll soon find your physical and mental health suffers, followed swiftly by your work.
Get your trainers on and get out that door!
14. Home is like Switzerland (minus the cowbells and nice chocolate).
No office politics, no bitchy co-workers, no drama.
15. Control freak? OCD tendencies?
Work from home.
Enjoy full reign over radio station, temperature, microwave cleanliness and even the brand of teabags.
(Twinning’s Lady Grey).
18. You need boundaries.
Assign a dedicated workspace.
Desk, corner, spare room, garden shed…
Set spaces for living and working help keep you sane.
It also means you don’t end up with spag bol splattered on your laptop.
19. People will pop in for a cuppa.
Make sure your nearest and dearest understand that although you work from home, you are still working.
Be kind, but firm.
Send them away with cake if necessary.
20. No more soggy sandwiches!
Say goodbye to Tupperware butties, squashed satsumas and bruised bananas.
Work from home and you can dig into a freshly prepared lunch every day.
21. Waiting for your new sofa to be delivered?
Helpfully vague delivery slot of “between 6am and 9pm”?
You’ll be there.
22. Get into a routine.
Clocking on / off times, lunch hours and tea breaks may sound a little rigid, but a disciplined foundation to your hours helps keep you focused.
By all means be flexible; work 8 hours or 20 hours, but have that core day in the middle which is non negotiable.
23. Money, money, money
I can’t discuss working from home without mentioning the financial incentives.
Rented studio space, rates, insurance and overheads can really add up.
In some areas these costs can be equivalent to that which you are paying for your home!
For me, working from home makes a lot of economic sense.
It still incurs costs of course, but these are much less than when I rented a studio.
Ask your accountant how to handle the split of costs between business and personal.
Not got an accountant? Ask mine.
24. Hermits are weird.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Both the face to face type and the online variety.
A bit of time spent in the company of others always leaves me inspired, revived and with a renewed sense of energy and determination.
25. There’s no such thing as a weekend.
No matter what day of the week, I always find myself in the studio at some point.
The line between life and work is very, very blurred.
I kinda like that though, it’s me.
And that concludes my thoughts on the matter.
If you want to see what the desk in my home looks like each day, you should take a peek at mydesktoday.com