When I used to drag myself to someone else’s office five days a week I used to dream of working at home! The thought of not having to get dressed, not having to rush to get out the door, not to having to sit in traffic was enormously appealing to me.
The reality, as so often in life, is a little different. There are the slight annoyances – suddenly the bill for toilet paper and coffee goes through the roof – but is probably off-set by the savings on lunches and snacks at work. There is the fact that you are the one that gets the door-to-door salesmen and the telephone survey “opportunities”.
The single biggest issue I had, working from home and working online, was health. Basically building my own business was hugely absorbing and I could work for hours and hours and not get up from the computer – in fact barely change position. My body hurt – I didn’t have full-blown RSI but I would certainly have developed it had I not noticed and changed my keyboard and mouse positions around to stop myself hunching over the keyboard quite badly.
I got lonely too – although I have always vowed loudly and often that I didn’t go to work just to meet people – not going to work I certainly found quite isolating. My poor partner came through the door every afternoon to a barrage of chat as I practiced using my voice again! That only lasted about a month or so and I got used to it though. It was tougher for me because I was living overseas at the time, but then I am also quite self-contained so I don’t need to have social contact every day. If you do I seriously suggest you think twice about working from home – it is a very different environment than working in an office.
Then one day you look up and find you don’t fit your jeans anymore. Even if you don’t currently walk or cycle to work, even driving involves a few more calories moving between car and buildings than moving from bed to home office, and all too often, via the fridge. If you don’t want to put on weight when you start working from home you really are going to have to make an effort to exercise. I am lucking that I take ballroom dancing lessons three days a week. Dancing to me is all the fun parts of exercise without any of the boring bits – and that’s the key you need to find something physical which you enjoy doing to get you away from the computer and active. The human body is not designed to sit inactive in front of a screen for hours on end. If you don’t plan to get some exercise into each day your working from home lifestyle will be far from healthy.