When I’m homeworking… Ding dong… “Hello luv, can you take a parcel for number 12?” can become a regular occurrence.
When you are a home worker you’re there to take in deliveries for half the street. Especially in December! Now I don’t mind helping a neighbour. There’s more than one occasion when a parcel for me has unexpectedly turned up a day early. Once my lovely neighbor got the benefit of a gorgeous bunch of flowers sent by a friend who didn’t know I was on holiday. Nearly two weeks of blooms on her dinner table while I just get a warehouse for a porch! But then you’re home so really it’s no trouble to sign for a delivery till John over the road gets home from work. Implication: a proper job.
It’s one of those conversations. Someone asks where you work and you answer I work from home. Oh, you ‘work’ from home. I don’t know how many people ‘work’ from home when the Olympics is on the telly. Or when it’s one of those scorching summer days when for some working is more like sunbathing. But I do work from home. Everyday.
I have a dedicated office space set up with keyboard and monitor. With client files to hand and a plant on my desk. It’s a nice place to sit, to work. It’s not a place I would choose to sit and relax. I sit at a desk, in a office chair, by a window for natural light and (in the summer) fresh air. I have a radio for background noise, if it’s not distracting to the task. And that’s me for a fair few hours of the day. Working in peace.
So it’s a little frustrating when someone wants to pop in, ’cause you’ll be home won’t you’. Even rather rude when the assumption is that ‘you must have seen that thing on TV this morning’, as they assume you work with Homes under the hammer and that program with women gossiping, playing away all day.
I have never found a busy office a good environment to work in. Just the general hubbub and people wandering past my desk could be so distracting. Let alone those that want to stop by for a chat. Wherever you sit there’s distraction. Possibly the chap opposite always on the phone at full volume or the person on the adjoining desk thumping away on her keyboard as she bangs out another angry email. I like to work alone so having a home office suits me fine.
Then there is the idea of nomadic working. Not ever having a workspace but picking up the laptop and working wherever. Train, park, cafe… I guess it depends on the task. I have been known to read books and make notes in the garden, I check and send emails on my phone from pretty much anywhere and I’m currently sitting on my sofa writing this blog while waiting for my husband to get ready so I can take him to the station. Client work though deserves concentration. When I’m doing work for a client I’m on the clock, literally. Timing myself and charging for the hours I work. I schedule chunks of time to focus on a task. Cue postman Pat with delivery number one of the day.
For some the problem with homeworking is the isolation. If you are used to being in a team and you like working in a room where you can chat and go for lunch together. It can be lonely on your own all day. When you talk on the phone and its to clients not colleagues, you may find yourself hoping someone will visit to read your gas meter! It can also be all too easy to never go outside. So making sure to go for a walk or meet a friend for coffee is important to avoid cabin fever.
We all work in different ways. For me my home office is ideal, so I guess that means being happy to do a favour for neighbours, taking in any parcels.
Where do you work? Are you a nomadic worker, do you need the buzz of an office or do you crave the peace and quiet of working alone?
You may also like to read my Standing blog about my sit/stand desk