I wasn’t surprised to read in the paper, last week, that more and more people are seeking to work at home. It makes sense if you have children – ie the school run becomes a whole lot easier. Plus more work can be done, due to the time you save on the daily commute, and there are fewer distractions eg catching up with the latest chatter in the coffee room. Plus you save money, without the train fares or petrol costs or Starbucks drinks bought at lunch.
Yet, as someone who works from home, i’d suggest it’s a decision to be taken with caution. It’s a lifestyle that requires discipline and doesn’t suit everyone.
Take my husband, for example, who used to work as an IT consultant chez nous. He worked far longer hours, often from 8am to 7pm without a break – he’d eat a quickly thrown-together lunch at his desk. Nor did he socialize so much with colleagues. It’s harder to all hit the pub after a hard day, if you aren’t all based in the same office. Plus fitness-wise, he didn’t even walk to a place of work.
All this changed a couple of years ago when he moved jobs. He now cycles an hour each way to work and regularly goes on nights out with his IT crowd. I’d say it’s a far more balanced, healthier, happier life.
And now I find myself in the same position as he used to be in, writing full-time from home, more or less 9 til 5 every day and into the evening sometimes. Yes, from the viewpoint of being a mum, it’s great to be here to welcome the kids back from school, to fit in baking a much-needed batch of muffins during the day – I wouldn’t have it any other way. But there are downsides… I miss the banter I used to have in various jobs, or with other mums at toddlers group/the school playground when the kids were younger. Social Media is great, but nothing beats communicating with people and actually hearing their laugh or seeing their face. Plus I miss fresh air – with writing deadlines ever-looming, it is all too easy to plant your bum at your desk at 8am and stay there, more or less, until 6pm.
But I guess that my glued-to-the-desk syndrome is because I love my job – and I don’t take that for granted. I realize I have a lifestyle that would appeal to many a stressed commuter and I am very luck to be able to write full-time. All I’m saying is,if you are making the decision to work at home, really think it through. Will you miss human contact during the day (I make up for it by chatting to the cats and postie – and myself 🙂 )? Have you the discipline, not to find yourself at your desk, come 11am, still in your pyjamas without having eaten breakfast? Also be prepared for the fact, that your partner might want to relax at weekends, whilst you’ve got cabin-fever after a week in, and are itching to get out.
Oh and yes – in case anyone is wondering, from the photo – my desk is actually inside a wardrobe, in the spare room. I could have my husband’s lovely, sunny office downstairs, but I’m a creature of habit (and still stubbornly on Windows XP, but that’s another post…)