19 11 2013
Working at home
Working at home is modern way to work but it is often very challenging too. Over years I have heard different stories from different people about working at home. Some of there people have been successful on it while others went back to office quickly after couple of days of trying. Let’s see what makes working at home challenging and what you need to get your home office running.
Me and home work
I’m working at home most of my time and this is why I’m interested in this topic. As I’m work with different partners and customers in different countries and towns then it is almost impossible to have all people at same rooms at same time. Instead of sitting in office with couple of people we have web based work organization and we are strong enough for working remotely.
First I give you overview of negative factors that affect working at home so you understand it is not possible always to make people work at home. And then let’s see my experiences on working at home.
Home is different than office
Home is way different environment than office where everything is built up the way that people can focus on their work and get job done. Homes are usually built different way – more comfort, more practal solutions due to limited space, different infrastructure and so on. At office you have your colleagues who also work. At home you have family and they are not at home to work. It makes a lot of difference.
Home is place where your family is living their lives. The furniture and rooms at your home are the result of decisions about how to make the place where people don’t work more comfortable. At home you have more entertainment than in your office. You must accept this fact that you are trying to bring in activities of work to totally different environment and it can be challenging,
This is the first thing to understand – you are trying to use home for some other purpose. It’s like using city park to play socceer.
Attractions at home
For some people it may come as surprise but most of people who don’t like to work at home doesn’t complain about noise or kids playing around or neighbour who started partying from noon. No, they have problems coming from comfort of home. Feedback straight from real life:
- At home I have TV and comfortable couch, I just forget myself watching TV.
- At home I always find something to do and being there alone I better finish some stuff that is not so comfortable to do when others are at home.
- If it is good weather I prefer to sit at my backyard terrace and work there but still the silence and the fact that it’s my time for me doesn’t let me focus on work.
Comfort and all possible entertainment at home may be so attracting that some people just cannot focus on work even when deadlines are approaching and there are tons of things to finish.
It is possible that there is no normal way for some people work at home. From real life the most popular factors are:
- The rooms where I could work in peace have no furniture like desk and working chair and there is no room for furniture like this.
- The only desk at home is table at my kitchen but this is noisy place as soon kids come from school.
- I have small apartment and even if I find a corner where I can work then still it’s too noisy for me to focus on work.
Sometimes the walls between people live make limitations to their options to find some quite corner where they can work. In apartment houses there are also neighbours whom daily lives may be noisy enough that it is heard also in other apartments.
Even if one has room enough to have some silent and convenient corner to work at home it may turn out to be mission impossible. People have also social creatures and our sociality has strong effect on how we work alone or how we work among those in same rooms who are not there to work.
- If I’m at home then kids want to talk with me often and they don’t listen to me when I tell them not to disturb me. I don’t want to be hard on them because it is still home and not office.
- I cannot work at home normally because my wife doesn’t understand that although I’m at home I still have to work like being in office. I must get same work done and being at home is not excuse.
- I feel weird when working at home because I don’t have people around me.
- It’s weird to communicate with other people using all this chat and video call stuff. I like to discuss my work stuff face to face at smoking pauses.
Some people cannot work at home due to people at home who doesn’t understand that you must get done same work as sitting in office – you just happen to do this work at home. Some people are more social and being physically alone when working is very annoying to them. For many people these problems are something they are not able to solve.
Home office – the best choice
What works the best when living with wife and kids is separate working room. It is also known as home office. You furnish this room with working desk, shelves and comfortable chair. Maybe you have also blackboard on wall and maybe you have couch where you have a short rest when tired.
My home office looks 70% messy but it is convenient for me from almost every aspect. I have balcony where I can smoke, I have table space enough to make also paper work, there is couch where I can rest and them – of course – my book shelf.
To not lose focus I live in the same routine as other people who work in office:
- Wake up almost same time in the morning.
- Have your coffee and sandwhiches.
- Put on daily clothing – it’s hard to convince yourself you are working if you wear dressing gown.
- Sit down and start working.
For me it is enough when I start day like it was during office days.
It’s important that you have very good working conditions at home office – fast machine, fast internet and comfortable office furniture. Also pay attention to how your work desk is lighted by lamps – when working with computer it’s extremely important you don’t hurt your eyes. Appropriate lightning is for great help here.
Most annoying thing with home office is that when working day ends and all office people go home you have been at home for last 16 hours at least and now you just want to go out to breathe some air. If you have good friends who take a little beer with you after office hours then your home office is perfect!
New rules at home
As you are not at home alone you have to establish some new rules. I agreed with other members in family in following points:
- Working room is like office – it’s not children playground and no normal family life goes on there. It’s 24/7 like this.
- When it is working day then other people at home will disturb me as less as possible when I’m working.
Our apartment has good planning – living room and kitchen are at first part of apartment and bed rooms are at second part. One of those rooms is my little home office.
Working at home can be challenging for many people and for many people it doesn’t work for different reasons. To work at home you have to find a room or at least some place that is silent enough so you can focus on work for hours. Also you have to explain to your family what it means that you work at home and what are your expectations. Create comfortable and simple working place where nothing disturbs you and give your best to focus on work.