Working from home is a privilege that requires discipline.
As the owner of a small business, where I am solely responsible for all administration, accounting, and marketing tasks, I tend to do most of my work from home. It’s the most convenient option, and the most productive, as I’ve found. For many small business owners, it is the only option, apart from working in cafes, but your main ‘office’ base will always remain the home.
There are many reasons why I love working from home. Firstly, I get to schedule my own day. Once I know what tasks have to be accomplished over the next days or week, I get to schedule things like running errands or even social activities as I please. The end result is getting the tasks done and whether that happens at 6AM or past midnight makes no difference when you’re working from home. When you work from home, you get to go out for weekday breakfasts or finish all your shopping by 11AM on a Monday morning. Definite perks.
Another benefit of working from home is the transport factor, or lack thereof. Commuting and facing traffic is a huge drain on each person’s energy and the time spent daily (let’s say an average of 2 hours total) can be better utilized completing tasks. Transport, when working from home, pretty much means walking from your bed to your workspace. The downside, though, is that is becomes easy to have a lack of discipline. For example, it’s too tempting to just work in your pyjamas but many of us don’t understand the psychological implications that could have.
A third perk of working from home is the ability to take breaks at natural instances when you feel your productivity is waning. Many traditional office environments would be quite unforgiving to the idea of taking two to three hours off just because you don’t feel that productive. However, this is something that’s very important to overall efficiency as it allows you to focus on completing your tasks during your most productive hours and using the hours when you feel sluggish to recharge. Working from home allows you to naturally avoid that afternoon/post-lunch slump and gives you the freedom to work when you are at your personal best during the day.
An additional advantage is a larger workspace. I know this point can be debated and challenged a lot but what I find to be beneficial about working from home is the ability to use the entire dining table, for example. Or to use both the dining table and my desk. I have the freedom to lay out my papers the way I wish without having to worry about someone snooping through them or misplacing them. This would be in contrast to a regular office environment where the vast majority of employees would be confined to one desk that’s part of a string of desks all in a row.
Another debatable point, which I find as a benefit, is the fact that there are less distractions when you’re working from home. There is less office banter (actually none) and while that feeling of camaraderie can be a very good thing, at times it is distracting and can waste a lot of time, especially in the morning before work officially starts and after the lunch break. However, a downside to working from home is also the distractions. It is easy to get sucked into household related errands and chores and to feel like you can just take a couple of hours off doing nothing on the couch. This is where the importance of discipline comes in. When working from home, it is important to set down some rules for yourself so you don’t end up wasting the day on things that could have been done later.
However, all in all, I personally find that working from home has a lot of benefits. By allowing me to schedule my day how I please, it gives me more flexibility in the ability to tailor-make my day according to my natural productivity cycle. But, like all things it has its downsides and at times you can feel demotivated and the discipline of an office environment is hard to recreate unless you’re extremely determined.