The Realities of Working from Home

Working from home

I’ve been working for Sharpmonkeys for over three years now. During that time I’ve not been working in the office, I’ve been working from home. I was hired in 2011 via online recruitment to create five blogs a week for one of the clients. I’m still working on that particular job but over the years my duties have expanded and now I’m providing my services as a social media specialist on a full time basis, still from my home office.

Do Home Workers Have it Easier?

When people think about working from home they picture it as an easy life. They imagine being able to pick and choose the hours of work, lying in and working in pyjamas. People think that home working is easier, and in some ways I suppose it is. I don’t have the mad morning commute to deal with, but as far as I can see that’s where the main advantages end. You see, although I could work in my pyjamas I choose not to, and here’s why.

As a home worker I don’t have my boss breathing down my neck. What I do have is all the distractions found in the home right smack bang in the middle of my face.  These distractions include my family (the people and the pets!), friends and relations, the laundry, the garden, the washing up and the empty cupboards that need stocking up. I have the usual home distractions too (will they ever put a stop to cold callers?), deliveries, the sofa, Netflix! It’s all there and there’s no escaping it. The only thing I can do to avoid it is focus on my working life and create a clear definition between work and life. I am a professional so during my working hours I have to act exactly as I would if I was working in the office with John and Tommy next to me.

Being Professional in the Home

Wearing pyjamas all day and working on the sofa with Game of Thrones on in the background isn’t professional and it doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind. I have turned my attic into my office to help me. Each morning I get up, I get dressed, grab a cup of tea and head upstairs where I will spend between 8 and 12 hours working each day (with the odd break here and there). At the end of the day I close my office door, get changed and avoid checking my work email until the start of the next working day.  By defining a clear line between work and home life I‘m able to ensure there is a balance that allows me to stay on top of work and to shut off at the end of the day.

Sure, if I want I can choose to make the most of the sunshine, but that doesn’t mean I have it easier. If I do take an afternoon off or decide to start late one day that only means one thing, working late. I have deadlines to meet just like everyone else. I have a commitment to ensure all the work is completed on time so the clients get what they require. I cannot let the clients, Sharpmonkeys or myself down for that matter.

While you may think home working is easy I can assure you it isn’t. I’ve worked hard to get myself where I am today, which has involved working many nights and weekends. In my first few years as a freelancer I worked seven days a week and I didn’t have a holiday until my third year. You see there are downsides, no paid holiday, no sick pay, the risk of being replaced and the uncertainty when it comes to payments and length of contract.  I’m lucky to be where I am right now but it’s not luck that got me here, it’s dedication, long hours and commitment. It’s also thanks to having forward thinking companies like Sharpmonkeys that understand the benefits of working with someone like me, reward hard work and give commitment and dedication back in return.

When you meet someone that works from home I hope this article will remind you that they are hardworking individuals that aren’t lounging around in their bed all day. If they are you can be sure they’ll be putting the hours in while you’re sound asleep in your bed. They can’t down tools at any given time because you’ve knocked on the door, even though they probably do, it just means they’ll be working late again.