If you’re familiar with the acronym WFH, you’re probably also familiar with working from your own home.
Working where I do, it’s actually encouraged to work from home at least one day a week. In our offices we use the ‘hot-desking’ system, which means no-one has an assigned desk unless they have circumstances which mean that they require a customised desk. Teams have their own designated areas, but the computers and desks within those areas are usually managed by a desk booking system (which I don’t use – there are only 4 of us in our team and 2 computers, so 2 of us slope off to a bigger and freer hot-desking area). This can be a really frustrating system – spending 20 minutes on finding a computer and desk and then having to haul the contents of your locker to the other side of the building is pretty inconvenient. But on the whole, I get the logic of it – reducing the environmental impact of machines and commuting, flexible working arrangements (plus, working in your pyjamas).
I usually ‘WFH’ on a Wednesday, which for me, breaks the week up a bit. For me it means that I don’t have to worry if my hair is greasy and therefore not office-appropriate, I don’t have to pick up a makeup brush and I have the whole day full of quiet.
I’m quite a bit of a homebody – I love being at home in my own self-made cosy environment, with cups of tea and blankets a-plenty – so WFH means I have the chance to be in my own home a little more. I find that Chris and I don’t spend a huge amount of time together at home, as we work/study different hours, and most evenings I do yoga and/or go running so by the time we’ve cooked food we’re zonked, and it’s pretty much time for bed. Our weekends are usually pretty full too – so I relish the chance to be here and work even more.
However, as lovely as it to be here and not worry about how my hormonal spots look (which seem to have appeared quite unexpectedly and much like the size of a small town on my face) it can also be quite a hassle to get into the swing of things and act like I’m actually working and not just putting my feet up while waiting for Homes Under the Hammer (followed by Location, Location, Location) to come on.
Here, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly aspects of working from home, and then some tips for getting the most out of WFH.
- Less commuting
- This one is a huge contributing factor for some with regards to WFH in terms of time and cost, but for me, it just means I don’t have to walk the 5 minute walk across my lovely city to get to work. I’m really lucky in this way that we are located we are (not so lucky with the rental price, though..)
- Again, I have neither children nor pets nor anyone else to look after, so this isn’t a huge factor for me – but it does mean that I sometimes get to do yoga during the daylight instead of the dark, and I can do a round of chores in my ‘lunchbreak’ that I don’t have to do in the evening. Plus, unwashed top knots 4 lyf.
- Less interruptions
- I have fabulous work colleagues, most of them I’d consider friends rather than colleagues. But, we’ve all been there: you’re really stuck into a project, on a deadline, and you decide to make a cup of tea to fuel you along. In comes a mate who wants to shoot the breeze, chew the fat. Half an hour later, your tea’s cold and you’ve lost your mojo with that piece of work. Having brill chums isn’t always conducive to productivity…
- NOBODY CAN FIND YOU
- The offices I work in are biiiiig, and there’s always a huuuuge possibility that someone you don’t know from another department will try to come and find you to talk about this project or that bid, and to be honest, with our open-plan floors, you’re pretty easy to find. Great, easier than sending an email that can be forgotten about our lost in the 1000 others. But again, half an hour of your precious gold (time) gone. This can be a great way of filtering out the ‘really importants’ from the ‘meh not so importants’. If they can’t find you, and don’t send an email, it can wait.
- Oh the DISTRACTIONS. Homes Under the Hammer (see above), that ASOS sale email, Instagram, US Office boxsets, cleaning the bathroom, running that errand you’ve been meaning to do for months and now it’s more important than ever. We all get distracted at work, sure we do, but at home it’s a thousand times easier when there’s no one here to give you a disapproving look when you’re on the RSPCA site looking at all the dogs and cats you want to adopt unto your family. But here, I find I can sometimes use the above to delay sending that really uncomfortable email or starting that mammoth piece of work. No, really, it’s not necessary to organise your Yankee Candle collection today.
- Cabin Fever
- People don’t exist. You’ve forgotten what your other half looks like. You’ve only talked to yourself today about whether or not you should get dressed. You’ve only had one text from your mam. Yep, WFH can mean you get that cooped-up feeling where you feel like you haven’t left the house in years. You feel like all the year’s news has passed you by. But, have no fear – you’ll catch up tomorrow.
- Feeling unproductive
- It’s really easy to feel like you’re not doing anything while you’re at home, even though you might even be getting more done. Maybe you’ve not got dressed or left the house, but you are achieving things. ‘Work’ does not always equal a snappy suit and an 8 hour office day. We are humans, we are adaptable and flexible, and yes, we are capable of working just as well at home as in the office.
- Sometimes you forget to clean your teeth. UGH.
- Sometimes you forget to put on deodorant. Further UGH.
- Sometimes, you find it hard to get up the next day to go back into work and into civilisation. It’ll pass.
- Establish a routine. You don’t have to get dressed (AKA put on a bra) or put on any make up or comb your hair. But, getting into a routine as soon as possible will set you up for a day of work and not just ‘lounging about the house’ mode.
- Make an office. This doesn’t have to be a room, it doesn’t have to be grand. But establish a place where you work, and make it pretty and comfortable. Don’t fall into the trap of sinking deeper and deeper into the corner of the settee with the laptop on your lap. You’ll get cramp.
- We all have tea/coffee breaks in work and it takes up time – in that time at home, stick a load of washing on, or put your laundry away. DOUBLE THE PRODUCTIVITY.
- Go out for lunch. Honestly, some fresh air and a great sandwich will revitalise you for the afternoon.
- Set yourself up the night before. Make sure you write a to-do-list, set up your computer, stationery, and anything else you might need. Doing this in the morning is the key to an 8am meltdown when you can’t find your domain access card.
- Know why you’re working from home – have a purpose. Do you need to finish that report today with no distractions? Great. Don’t just do it as an alternative to a day off – you’ll find yourself in that mindset. Not cool.
All in all, I love working from home. It’s something I’m very much considering moving into in my next job, as I find that I work much better on my own. As I don’t work 5 days at home at the moment, maybe I wouldn’t take to it quite as well if I were to go full time – but it’s definitely something to think about.