Working from home can be a double-edged sword – it can be great, but also can be very lonely.
Whilst it keeps the costs down and can feel like a dream working from home with your children or escaping the rat race and busy commute of employment, it can also give you new challenges. How do you stay focused and not get distracted by the washing/ironing/TV/pets etc? Do your friends and family not see you as being at ‘work’ because you are ‘just at home’ and turn up expecting you to drop everything and have coffee or lunch with them?! And I guess the biggest downside is the loneliness – being inside those 4 walls all day, every day, urgh!
When I asked some ladies in a local networking group what were their pain points of working from home I had a range of answers:
‘So many distractions!!!’ (Samantha Strong)
‘Main one is the keeping focused, organised and not being distracted by other ‘stuff’’ (Karen Rutland Broughton)
‘The blurred line between work time and non-work time’ (Sarah Hayes)
‘What really p’s me off is when I have meetings at home and then the door gets banged on and it’s a delivery for next door. Feel like a parcel depot at times!’ (Wendy Jennings)
‘Family coming in to chat!’ (Katherine Phillips)
‘Often the fridge keeps calling my name’ (Sam Dixon)
‘I find the hardest thing is that people don’t think I’m working, they think I’m just ‘at home’ (Rachel Epstein Lousky)
‘It can be hard to motivate yourself when you work remotely!’ (Rachael Burridge)
‘Procrastination, being easily distracted by household chores and raiding the fridge too frequently’ (Steph Grainger)
‘It’s got to be the distraction here too…. surrounded by all the ‘other things’ that need doing. I often feel guilty for leaving them and have the urge to tidy up over doing actual work’ (Danielle Heath)
I have experienced every single one of these!
Loneliness is probably the most common and biggest negative to working from home, it came up a lot when speaking to other people and definitely was for me when I used to work from my spare room. Sanchia has written a great guest blog on her top tips to combat loneliness – you can read it here.
One of her tips is to look at using a co-working space, but what is this and why would it work for you? Easily put, a co-working space is an office style environment where many different entrepreneurs go to work with like-minded people, to get out of the house, and generally feel like they are ‘going to work’. Co-working spaces come in many different styles and have different options – you can hot desk – where you rent a desk for the day, either on an ad hoc basis, or a set number of days. You can also become a resident of the co-working space and rent a desk each month, which is then yours to use every day.
Here are my 5 top advantages of using a co-working space and combating all the pain points mentioned earlier:
- Avoiding loneliness – with other, like minded, people around you you’ll be able to socialise and banish that feeling of being lonely. There will be people to talk to, and actually have a (grown up) conversation with.
- Networking – the above really does lead on nicely to networking. Different businesses getting together and chatting – you’d have people to bounce ideas around with and to pick their brains (and they pick yours). The variety of skills in the space could be immense. You could find some new suppliers or even customers. Either way it will be a great way to grow your network; co-working can be like a community of business owners.
- Flexibility – one of the reasons working from home appeals is the costs and you’re not tied in to leases, phone or broadband contracts etc. With co-working spaces the terms are much more flexible. If you need to get out of your home office, but aren’t ready to take on your own office and lease then co-working is a great in between.
- Getting more work done – with less distractions of normal household life you’ll have more time to dedicate to completing your to do list. You’ll have a bit more structure to your working day and will want to use the time more efficiently.
- Separation of work and home – actually leaving the house to go to work you’ll be keeping work and home separate. You’ll get more work done during the day (as we’ve seen above) and when you’re done for the day you can then go home and enjoy family life without work getting in the way.
But what about the kids I hear you say?! No, a co-working space won’t work if your main reason for working from home is to be there with the kids and avoid costly childcare. However, when the kids are at school or nursery why not give it a try?