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Working from home

Do you like the flexibility or is it a lonely work life?

Didn't find your answer?

Read an interesting article on the Guardian earlier this week on working from home.

Remote working not only allows you to work from the comfort of your own home but you can fit in school pickups, dentist appointments and long commutes around office hours.

But there is a flipside to working from home. Whereas remote working can help solve the work-life balance conundrum, it can also blur the line.

I appreciate the flexibility of working alone and often find I get more work done, yet at the same time I miss those small interactions with colleagues – “where people become multifaceted, as opposed to the flattened, disembodied personas of online avatars,” as the article said.

So how do you overcome and avoid the challenges of working from home? How do you enforce boundaries so you’re not working late into the evening? And how do you find the self discipline to stop yourself from reaching for the biscuit tin? And how do you deal with the loneliness?

Replies (18)

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By 1 2
28th Mar 2019 15:57

Over the last 12 years I've gone from:
- commuting to London to work for big employer,
- working from spare room of home,
- working from self contained office still at home,
- working from separate self contained office ~10min walk from home.

I'm happiest with what I have now. Commute to London wastes a lot of time. Working from home on my own I found quite depressing. Fine in the short term, but unpleasant long term.

Also removes/reduces the mental separation between work and home. There's something nice about that "I'm done for the day" feeling when you leave the office...and it's not the same if just moving from one room to another in your home.

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By andy.partridge
28th Mar 2019 16:37

Pretty much the same as Maslins. When I worked from home there was no work/life balance, it was a grey soup that required even more self-discipline to manage.

Although the commute up and down the stairs was easy and usually clear, instead of switching off in the evening my mind would race with all the things I could be doing in the office to earn incremental income.

I well recall one post-midnight work email exchange with a local client. After a few, we simultaneously sent each other one that said, in effect, 'What the effin hell are we doing this for?' The rest of our respective houses in darkness and our respective wives sleeping soundly.

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By Les Howard
28th Mar 2019 17:28

I frequently work from home. But I build networking events into my diary to ensure I have human contact during the week.
And I do eat biscuits!

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By Crouchy
28th Mar 2019 17:54

I think working from home, you either love it or you hate it

I have a garden office, so creating a boundary between work and home is achieved, I feel like I go to work and don't really feel the need to go 'home' other than to make a cuppa, I can appreciate that working from the kitchen table or spare room could blur the boundaries for some

Likewise I try and get out to clients when I can and I have clients coming to us, so I always get some human interaction in, but again I can see this wouldn't work for some

I guess in part it depends what type of practice you have and where you are at with your business too, we're established and have a decent client base, so there is always something to do, there isnt necessarily time to be distracted by things at home

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paddle steamer
28th Mar 2019 18:43

Whilst part time re the practice from the house ,so being alone up here is only part of the week, I get by with chats on Accounting Web and if really fed up I also have some model making tools etc in my study so can drop accounts and try to repair an old Hornby Dublo loco or similar, or paint some model then do some work on accounts whilst I wait for that colour to dry.

Once I pack up the practice this year the company will likely continue as a small business refurbing and reselling mainly Hornby Dublo, Hornby O Gauge trains and older Meccano etc and if I get really bored with that I can always do some accounts/tax to break up the day/for fun.

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By Moonbeam
28th Mar 2019 19:32

My very large client is forever on the email/phone, so although I've worked from home for many years, it's not lonely because of this interaction, and other people call as well.
And as someone else said, you can go to the odd networking meeting if desperate. Trouble is, you may bump into a crowd of people desperate to flog you something rather than have a chinwag.
I used to live near a large Tesco's and if I wanted company then I'd pop down the road for some bananas and crack a few jokes with the lovely people on the tills.

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
28th Mar 2019 19:36

I can never understand why the government (should that read just 'parliament'?) doesnt give incentives to companies to allow their staff to work from home.
Think of the saving in car emissions, accidents, reduction in cost of travel so people could spend more on other things so producing extra VAT for the govt etc etc. There would be no need for a tunnel at Stonehenge - again saving govt money!

When I worked in London (8.52am train from Woking -reaching work about 9.30am every day- same old same old) if you worked from home your fellow members of staff would think you were skiving.

I am based at home and its great. I get much much more done than when I was in an office taking turns in making the tea every 5 mins. Best of all you are not timed to 9-5 or have to ask permission to leave early. You can go to the dentist for example, whenever you want - when the town is not heaving with people.

If I want to take time off on a Weds (market day) I work Sat to make up and dont have to ask anyone's permission. I can go on courses and other events when I want to.

Like Les I go to networking events where you meet a variety of people - rather than others in the same profession- meeting people who are trying to make a success of a variety of businesses and have interesting stories to tell.

I decided that I would get out into the real world at least once a week. I go to the lovely George Albert hotel up the road for a Successful Women in Business event once a month in the morning (great breakfast), at another mixed networking event again at the George once a month for another fattening breakfast and other events as they come up.

I also go to the George to see clients or meet them at their premises.

Oh dear... just look at the time.. 7.30pm!!

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
paddle steamer
29th Mar 2019 09:44

They in effect do, my son is contracting at the moment for the Scottish Government, he returned home one morning this week as had gone to their offices but they were short of available desks so he had to came home and do his work (writing software) from our house.

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By Retired Dave
28th Mar 2019 19:38

I worked from home for 30 years and loved it. It takes mental discipline, but it's well worth it. Before that I used to commute about 600 miles a week by car, once I started working from home I changed my cars because I was bored with them, not because they were worn out. I could have an extra 3 hours plus a day. Three hours a day over 30 years equals about 22,000 hours, or almost THREE YEARS not sat in a car. Almost as much as you would gain by stopping smoking :).

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By gainsborough
29th Mar 2019 09:10

I work mainly from home and really like it, but don't think I could do this without having the regular social interaction of client meetings and occasionally teaching.

Definitely don't miss the grind of the daily commute and, as Jennifer mentioned, great being able to schedule doctor/dentist appointments etc at non-busy times.

The main downsides - the first year I set up my business was horrendously tough and lonely - especially when you are looking for those initial clients and, to this day, I still have well meaning relatives asking if "I am working this week?" (#silent scream).

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By yorkshirepudding
29th Mar 2019 18:46

I work for a public sector organisation in my day job. Lots wrong with it, but the senior managers and my managers are supportive of home working. I normally do 2-3 days working from home and the rest in the office. I normally stick to similar days, but flex each week depending on what's on. Today I worked for 2 hours, had about 4 hours off for a personal meeting and then worked the afternoon.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
29th Mar 2019 21:51

I lasted about 6 months working from home when I set up on my own.

I found I just was too easily distracted, and not productive. I seemed to spend half the day taking in Amazon deliveries for the full street. Once my daughter came in from school all work stopped. I also was not keen on clients coming to my home.

I had people "just passing" so they dropped in when your having your tea etc. I got fed up. I was going to build a garden office to try and have some separation but I lost the battle for garden space with my daughters olympic standard trampoline.

After 25 years of getting up and going to work I just could not do it so took a serviced office which has been great.

I have the smallest bedroom in the house with a half decent setup to work from when needed like in January, or if working on a tight deadline for something but try and get as much done in the 9 to 5 ish at the office.

Accept on flyer Fridays where I like an early finish to go up to Northumberland.

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By Sky_accounts
30th Mar 2019 15:55

I worked in industry for the past 18 years, apart from one year my commute was never more than 10 minutes. Folk would say to me "That's lucky" and I would reply "No, it's good planning, I get an extra hour per day not stuck in my car like you are!"

I've recently made the move into practice working for myself from home. It's definitely a change of environment but it does allow me to join the daily dog walk every morning. I'd agree that it becomes a grey area between work and play (like typing this on a Saturday afternoon!). Time management is interesting at the moment as there's a lot to do setting up the background infrastructure and finding clients. As things evolve I'm hoping to move into a local office and keep the separation between work and play.

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By legerman
30th Mar 2019 23:54

When I first started out I commandeered part of the living room. I disciplined myself to start at 9 am but at 9.25 I was bombarded with the Jeremy Kyle show and then the hoovering. I was fortunate to find a small office in town for £30 a week so it was a no brainer.

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Della Hudson FCA
By Della Hudson
31st Mar 2019 10:27

I love the solitude of working from home. Some days I don’t speak to anybody apart from my kids.

Fortunately I have enough meetings, speaking gigs and coaching sessions that I get plenty of human interaction to break this up.

I also chat a lot online. My ipad is usually on my desk for a quick catchup on twitter between tasks or when seeking inspiration while writing.

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By A mum and an accountant
31st Mar 2019 22:30

I used to work exclusively from home. The best thing about that was I could work whenever I wanted unless I had an online Skype meeting or phone calls to make. The worst thing was I would work in the evenings after everyone else was asleep. This wouldn't be so bad if I managed a nap in the day or it wasn't too late but most of the time I'd feel like napping just before the school run, so in reality it never happened. However, it wouldn't be every night so it was ok.

I now work three days in the office and one day at home and have one day off. The days at home, I struggle with bingeing on biscuits and the lack of exercise. But apart from that I like the structure of working set hours and the hours I do allows me to do school runs and school plays. Plus it's nice to see people at work.

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By ScribbleD
02nd Apr 2019 14:52

I currently work two days at home and two in the office. Whilst working from home is convenient in many ways, not least because I have no commute, it gets very lonely. I miss the hustle and bustle of the office and the general chit chat during the day. I would chose the office over home everyday if it wasn't for the commute.

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By Tax Dragon
19th Jun 2020 09:40

What a prescient thread.

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