Unexpectedly Working from Home

Cosy Work_cropped

The prospect of working from home to somebody who is primarily office bound is an extremely attractive proposition; especially if they are battling with a long and expensive daily commute and a busy, noisy office that perhaps isn’t conducive to that persons ideal productive work environment.

Back in March an unusually cold spell hit England and covered my local area, and the roads in layers of snow and ice. I was thoroughly pleased to be told to work from home for the coming week until the snow had cleared and the roads were considered a lot safer.

Day one of my working from home adventure and I was snuggled up in my pyjamas with a cup of tea at my desk. My desk, although somewhat covered in ironing and other home utility bills was still functional and I had a smile on my face enjoying the prospect of freedom in my working day ahead, and imagined how productive I would be during the day.

Having a job that involves a lot of creative writing I was certainly in a better, more relaxed frame of mind to let my creative side run riot, and my writing seemed to flow as I listened to my favourite radio station and typed away with regular breaks into the kitchen to put the washing on, catch up with a few chores or even to pay some attention to the cat!

Day two, still feeling motivated and liberated I stuck to my routine and got to work as usual. Whilst undertaking a usually mundane task I realised that I needed a special piece of software to complete it. A usually simple task turned into a long drawn out ordeal as I tried in vain to find a way around the situation, this took me much longer than it would usually have done when in the office – my first set back and it was frustrating to say the least.

Day three and the novelty of working from home is starting to wear off – Cabin fever is taking hold! I’m wondering what those who live closer to the office and who have managed to get in are up to… Am I missing out on anything? And how did my colleagues meeting go last week? Putting my thoughts aside I crack on with my work until I realise a piece of paperwork I need to complete a job is in my filing cabinet next to my desk in the office. It was tantalising to know it would be within reaching distance if I was only in the office, yet it was impossibly inaccessible to me working from home, it was a task that yet again had to be side lined till I was back in the office.

Day four and the snow has cleared and the ice has melted enough so that I can finally see the road beneath my feet once again. I dust off my work suit, fold away my pyjamas and drive into the office with a smile on my face for the first time in a while! Relieved to be reunited with my familiar work station, my colleagues and my trusty computer, my working from home experience has been an eye opener. Starting the week with high hopes I must say, by the end I am thankful to be back in the office and get on with tying tie up loose ends; jobs I had started at home and then run into a brick wall, leaving them unfinished.

My time away from the office made me value the little things; precious contact with my co workers, those chats around the kettle and the ease of access to information without a considerable time lag. I will not be taking these things for granted anytime soon!

Whereas the writing side of my job flourished, other parts of my job role suffered and had to go on the back burner till I was back in the office and I had access to specific software programmes and other paperwork. I was able to catch up on a lot of article writing and content generation, enough for me to relax for a week or two in this part of my job but I had other areas to catch up on… getting back to emails, and developing campaigns that I needed a special software package to produce. For me, working from home allowed me to gain a new prospective on my working life, the office does restrict my creativity but it does put me at ease in other senses such as ease of access to other specialist colleagues, the information they provide and special IT packages and technical aid.

If I was better prepared from a technical point of view in my home, and cleared up my desk space from home related guff, then I think working from home could potentially be the way forward for me – But not full time. I would need that face to face contact with other colleagues that create a true team, a well oiled workforce that is well informed and appreciates each other’s job roles.

My working from home experience has taught me that sometimes us office based employees look at the working from home population through rose tinted glasses and in reality, as with most things, it has its drawbacks and does not suit everybody’s working style.

By On August 13, 2013

  1. When I worked for AT&T as a project manager, I had projects all over the US, and even my boss was out of state, so it made more sense to work from home, and I did so for about two and a half years.

    Maybe it was because my job was less creative, but I had the exact opposite reaction… I started off way less productive, and then gradually grew more productive as time went on. Though, I don’t know if I was any more efficient working from home than in the office.

    I certainly accomplished more, however, I had less work/life balance when I worked from home than when I worked at the office. Working from home was great, because I could work whenever I needed to… but then I started to “need” to work off hour more and more. And I’ve found that when I work from the office I “have to get things done by EOD” so those things get accomplished before I leave work. When I worked from home, I would find myself “getting just one more thing done” because “Well, it’s still before five on the west coast.”

    Don’t get me wrong, working from home is great, but for some people, like myself, I need to make sure I don’t get too wrapped up in the “work” portion during my “home” time.