Home or Office?
Update: This article has been translated into German by Alex Wicht.
One of the big draws of freelancing is the prospect of working from home. Say good bye to commuting, say good bye to peak hour traffic and in their place say hello to your pajamas, to sleeping in the middle of the day and to all the other comforts of home. When I first started out I did in fact work from home and I must admit I have even worked an entire work day in my underwear. In the end though I began to discover some nasty drawbacks that I had never thought of and since then I have separated work out to a little mini-office and home to… well home.
These were the problems I found:
- No separation between life and work
The biggest problem with working at home is that the separation between work and the rest of your life is much smaller. There is no “now I’m at work, I’m on alert mode… now I’m at home, I’m in rest mode”, its just always a semi-work, semi-home state. What this means is that rather than switching off in the evening you can’t help but feel maybe you should be doing some work right about now instead of relaxing. Or instead of waking up on the weekend feeling like you have the day off, you still feel a little like you are at work.
Nothing is more conducive to working some strange hours than working from home. Where once you woke up at a decent hour, worked a normal day and then had evenings off, you suddenly find sometimes you work late into the night, sometimes you take mornings off and then make it up by working Saturday afternoon and so on. In some ways this is quite nice, but in others sometimes its nice having weekends for weekends and evenings for evenings.
- You’re always in the Same Place
And finally, unless you go out a lot, one major problem is that you are always in the same place. You wake up there, you spend all day there, you spend all night there. It’s a little like being in prison… well not really, but you get the picture.
These three downsides were particularly acute for me because I am by nature a work-aholic, so throw in doing it all from my living room and as you can imagine, problems arise.
How do you find working at home?