12 August 2017

Working from home Q&A

Something I get asked a lot by friends and family is what it's actually like to work from home. Just to give you a bit of background... I work for a company, that is technically a US based company, with offices in the UK as well. However, the closest office to me in London which is around a two hour commute away. I've done it before, and when I was approached about my current job I said straight away that the commute would be a deal breaker. So I was very lucky to be told that I could be a remote worker and come into the office as and when it's needed.
When I told people this is what I'd be doing, I got a few questions, and now I've been in the job for a while I get others. So I thought I'd just put it all down in a post, and just give my opinion on what it's actually like to work from home.
Isn't it hard to stay focused on work when you're at home?
Obviously when you're at home there are a lot more distractions, but actually I find I'm much more productive. What's good is that actually you can take breaks to do little bits and pieces around the house if you need, and then come back and be more focused and work more. I found when I was in an office I'd had to concentrate for longer, and it'd be harder to keep that focus. So actually no, I am definitely more focused at home because I can spend my time more wisely, and I can relax a bit more.
How do you separate work and home?
This was actually quite hard to do in the old house as I had my office pieces set up in our lounge/diner. It was a smaller house and it was basically the only space I could do this in - so even once I finished work my PC was still there and it was hard to turn off. However, with the new house my office is in a completely separate room. It's in the loft conversion so it's well away from normal living and chill out areas and this really helps to separate it. I think having that physical separation really helps with the mental one as well.
Do you not get lonely without people working around you?
Actually no. I thought this would be something that would bother me, but I'm actually okay. We use Skype for Business, so it's really easy to talk to someone or have a quick catch up which is great. Plus a lot of my colleagues are in the same situation and work remotely. I also try to make sure when I'm working from home all week that at least one day I'll meet with someone for lunch and do something - whether it's my Mum, a friend or whoever. That way I get my social side fed through that.
How do you motivate yourself to get up and start working?
Routine is your best friend here. It's so easy to just keep hitting snooze and thinking well it doesn't matter, I just need to get out of bed and turn on the computer. No, bad bad times. You have to get into a routine as if you were going to work for the day. I find if I used to just get up and start I wouldn't be in the right mind set. So now I try to get up, get dressed and do my skincare, make a coffee and have some breakfast. Then I'll go up to work. If you get yourself into a routine it'll be so much easier. I'm also working on making my office a really nice space to work in, so I'm happy to go in there everyday and it's comfortable and nice.
Isn't it super easy to pretend you're working when you can actually just do whatever else?
If you saw my workload, no. Also, I'm not that kind of person. I like working hard and doing my best, so when I'm in my office I'm working. There is always something else to do, and work to be done. I think if you're not a motivated person, and you're actually not bothered than it would be easy to fall into this trap. But it's just not in my mindset.
Your job can't be that hard or busy if you can work from home?
Yes - this was actually said to me. I think if you're not in marketing, then you don't really get the spectrum of skills you need to have in order to do it well, and the amount of work that goes into it to make a marketing campaign successful. I love my job, and I find marketing fun, but it is bloody hard work. I think there is a stereotype that any job that entails working from home isn't demanding, busy or hard - but actually, I probably do more work at home than I used to do in an office. My issue is stopping work and switching it off for the evening.
Do you have trouble stopping work at the end of the day?
Erm, yes. When you get into the zone and you work from home there's no real end of day rush that you'd get in an office. You know when home time comes and everyone rushes for the door. So you do run the danger of just carrying on. While I've been working at Mum's I've been making sure I finish at a certain time, and just set an alarm. But when I'm at home, I basically work until my husband comes home, and then I turn everything off. That's my home time rush.
I hope you found this interesting! It is very different working from home than working in an office. But I absolutely love it - I think I'd find it a bit weird going back now, but I have no intention of leaving my current job anytime soon. I'll be doing some more features on this so keep your eyes peels!
Much love, Lisa May x

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