The Perils and Perks of Working from Home

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An irreverent look at the pros and cons of being a ‘home alone’ worker!

Part 1: The Perils!

As a freelance marketer I work from home, on my own. It’s a great arrangement – clients save lots of money because I don’t have any overheads to speak of and it gives me flexibility, not least of which with my young children (aged 1 and 4, both of the pink variety!).

Like any working arrangement there are ebbs and flows, peaks and troughs, pros and cons and this is my, slightly tongue in cheek yet all based in fact, guide to the perils and perks of working from home.

They say always leave your audience on a high so let’s start with Part 1: The Perils.
Part 2: The Perks to come on Monday!

OK so here’s my top 5 countdown of the Perils of Working from Home:

1. There is NO boundary between work and home: I often find myself balancing a child on my knee whilst trying to compose an e-mail or having to lock myself in the bathroom to take a call from a client (desperately attempting to maintain a cool, professional composure while drowning out “mummy I need a poo!” in the background. Note to self: must get the bathroom soundproofed)

2. It’s too easy to get sucked back into work after the children are safely tucked up in bed. Top tip – turn the computer off when you finish at teatime. Going back into the office for 5 minutes to ‘check e-mails and turn the computer off’ at 7pm often ends with you stumbling out, slightly disoriented, at 10pm. You haven’t been abducted by aliens and lost 3 hours of your life, you’ve just been seduced by the thought of ticking a few more items off the to do list. Trust me, if you have to crank the PC back into life again, the lure of Corrie Norrie and a glass of wine become much more appealing!

3. You begin to suffer from multiple personality disorder, that is when you have a ‘normal job’ and you go out to a place of work you tend to adopt a certain persona with your work colleagues which is different to how you are at home. You wear different clothes, you do different things, you may even put on a posher accent (or is that just me?). When you work from home you do have two identities but they start to merge into one and you forget which one you’re supposed to be sometimes. You don’t generally go out to work and decide on a whim to mop the floors at lunchtime (I actually did that today!), likewise when you’re at home you don’t tend to answer the phone “Good morning Sarah Ainslie” to your mum (actually if you DO do that can you stop, identity fraud is a serious crime and quite frankly I’m confused enough with just the one of me. And why is my mum calling you?)

4. You have to clean your own office, empty your own bin and make your own coffee. Worst of all – buy your own stationery! Sometimes the best perks of employment are the pens, paper clips and post it notes you can squirrel away (it does give me a sense of smug satisfaction that I am still making use of the box of staples I liberated from a previous ‘proper job’, back atcha corporate establishment!)

5. You turn into Shirley Valentine. Working on your own all day, bereft of social contact (despite your best efforts to engage the window cleaner in meaningful discussion) and sitting in the same room all day (which generally tends to be the box room converted into an office where you can access all equipment and supplies without having to leave your chair or a spare room where you have to work around the sofa bed and boxes of Christmas decorations) how many of us have started a conversation with “hello wall….”?!

I do of course jest. In reality I am a super slick business woman, operating from a bespoke working environment enabling me to offer high value solutions to my clients.

Honest I am.

“Hello wall…”

On Monday, the sequel – Part 2: The Perks of Working from Home!

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