The once unattainable concept of ‘working from home’ has grown remarkably over the last few years. Figures by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed that 4.2 million people in the UK were regularly working from home in 2015. With numerous notable advances in technology and communication, some individuals now rarely need to go into their offices anymore. Whilst working from home allows for an enhanced work/life balance – self-discipline and time management are vital.
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Commuting: The Unexpected Journey
Commuting to and from work can be a horrendous and stressful experience on a daily basis. For instance when driving, being frustratingly stuck in stationary positions for long periods of time due to rush-hour traffic. Similarly during peak-hours, trains notoriously not always running on time and when they do, being stuffed and overcrowded. With working from home, there are no worries about leaving really early in the morning just to avoid traffic or scrapping just to get space on the train.
More significantly, you end up saving a lot of money. Working from home, you no longer spend as much on fuel as well as maintenance for your car. In the case of trains, there will no longer be the need to pay for extortionate weekly/monthly/yearly train passes.
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The Hindsight of Opportunity Cost
Working from home allows for the opportunity to reclaim time that would otherwise be lost to commuting. This ‘new found’ time can be used effectively to complete various different activities before starting work. For example, making a nutritious breakfast and exercising to feel more energetic and upbeat. There is also the opportunity to use the time to complete minor administrate tasks such as checking emails and creating schedules. Lunch can also be more enjoyable – making a fresh lunch, going for a short walk or completing some menial tasks.
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Constantly thinking about maintaining a formal wardrobe consisting of shirts, ties and suits is not a constant concern. When working from home you can work in clothes you feel most comfortable in – for some this may mean staying in their pyjamas for the whole day.
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The Much Needed ‘Peace of Mind’
In an office environment, you have to transition into the workspace that you are provided with by your employers. This means you may not ever be truly comfortable. At home, you have total control over the way you want your working environment set-up.
Moreover, working from home avoids the unnecessary office politics that often tends to occur. You do not have to sit there and listen to fellow colleges complaining about the unachievable workload they have received from the manager. At home, you are not burdened with the thoughts and feelings of others therefore are more focused and invested in the work. Further more, projects are always forever impending but at home you do not have to deal with the pressure of others breathing down your neck over deadlines.
Where is the Competition?
Working from home means you are not in the company of others. Working in isolation can be disadvantageous for some. Certain people need the presence of their colleagues to provide themselves with the inspiration to push themselves and be more productive. In a similar manner, some simply enjoy the pleasure of having others around them when working. They value the social interactions they get at work and the ability to make lasting friendships. Working from home also means you may have to be more creative as well as resourceful in the way you get to know and stay in touch with colleagues.
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Distractions by the Dozen
They say the home is where the heart but employers are unlikely to sympathise with this notion. Employers rather want you to wear your heart on the sleeve for them. This mean eradicating any distractions which may persist. It can all be too easy to give into avoidable distractions such as indulging in ‘just a couple of minutes’ of daytime TV or playing with your pets.
Chores may also become an overwhelming nuisance. As household and personal chores build up throughout the week, they will be more noticeable when working from home. You consequently may feel more obliged to complete these chores as they occur, thus sacrificing valuable working time.
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No Boundaries…Work, Work, Work
When working from home, there is much less separation between working and not working. In an office, work does not start until you have reached the office and stops once you leave at the end of the day. At home these lines tend to blur quite considerably. You could find yourself working 12+ hours per a day. This desire to work endlessly may stem from self-imposed perceptions that there is a greater emphasis on those who are ‘home-working’ employees.
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The value proposition of working from home is really attractive, however it is important to consider the type of person you are and what your personal circumstances are before making a firm decision. If you are disciplined and can control the urge to give into distractions, then working from home could work out very favourably.