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The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Working from Home

Working from home © dgrilla - Fotolia.comAll things in life come with their share of good and bad. This familiar aphorism is one which we all accept in theory, but rarely remember in practice. Case in point, the idea of working from home seems a dream come true for most of us. But, speaking from personal experience, working from home is a rollercoaster ride: full of more ups and downs than office life and definitely not for the faint hearted.

Before we look at why, bear in mind that there are different ways to work at home. You could work at home full-time as somebody freelancing or setting up/running their own business; or you may have the option to work a certain number of days a week outside your employer’s office.

Flexibility or frustration?

On the bright side, working from home provides you with a lot of flexibility. For example, depending on the type of work you do, if you are an owl or a lark, you can adjust your working patterns to suit. For example, you may prefer to get started on your work at 6am in the morning so you can be done by the afternoon, giving you more personal, family or social time. However, it can become very easy to abuse this freedom. Many people find themselves all too readily shortening their work hours at the slightest excuse, leading to poor quality work results and potentially in turn the loss of contracts and even jobs.

Peace and quiet?

Many people think the lack of office banter can save them time and energy. With social media this problem is never eliminated, though it can be hugely minimised. Chances are if you work from home (particularly as a freelancer) social media will play a role in your work. You could find yourself making up for the office banter by tweeting and updating your Facebook status every few minutes…and not for work reasons; unless you develop the appropriate level of discipline.

Of course, there’s also a flip-side to that coin. As much as you might save time in the absence of workplace distractions, those distractions can also be quite motivating. A laugh and a joke with colleagues can be the difference between a great day and an arduous one. This essentially comes down to your individual make-up: do you flourish in the company of others or are you too easily distracted? If the latter applies, working from home might be the ticket for you.

Do you have the confidence to go it alone?

Working in solitude could allow you to take more risks and be more creative. For example, when in an open plan office you may feel stultified by others’ expectations and opinions, or at least your own self-consciousness. Solitude may liberate you to try that sales call in a completely different manner, with more prosperous results. On the downside, some of your adventurous techniques may not go according to plan; not having the emotional support of colleagues when you need them most could mean your spirits take longer to rebound from rejection.

Cabin fever?

The last thing to consider is something that is likely to catch a lot of people unaware. Spending a lot of time at home sounds pretty great, at least when you’re someone who spends most of their time in an office. The thing is, you may find that changes very quickly. Spending most of each day in the same house, in the same rooms, looking at the same four walls can be pretty demoralising, and it can make separating your work and personal lives a little difficult, as the line between the two begins to blur.

Over to you…

Suffice it to say, working from home is not for everyone and it’s impossible to say if it works for you before you’ve tried it. Yet stumbling at the first hurdle of it is likely to happen to all who try it; in order to give yourself a fair understanding of whether or not you are any good at it you need to stick at it for some time. The best way to develop the discipline and maintain the motivation required for successfully working from home is to tie it up to a long term goal; for example, working from home to set up a business or whilst taking a break from working in a more conventional environment. Without an end or at least secondary consequence in mind you will find nothing but complaints when you make your home your office.

This is a post from the finance fanatics at IronFX, offering Forex broker services.

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