Working from home – the ups and downs of not leaving home in the morning.
Working from home has a lot going for it, but …and there is a but, if you don’t maintain a business attitude, this opportunity may not be for you.
For many of us, getting up at regular times, making a packed lunch and commuting to work have been a way of life. We have managed kids, doctor’s appointments, car servicing and making dinner around our work hours. In our family, both of us have been shift workers for most of our lives and have just learned to juggle.
When the chance to become a home-based worker presented itself, ideas of combining 8 hours of work (or more) with preparing gourmet meals whilst ensuring that the house was immaculate was conjured up in my mind but in reality, that is not really the case.
Where you really gain is not to having to commute, and the financial savings that are made because of this. I used to commute 1.5 hours each way and being in a middle management job meant that I was often away from home for 12 hours a day. And before you say, “I do a12-hour shift” remember you are paid for those and receive appropriate days off.
So, in my mind I picked up 3 hours a day, 5 days a week by working from home. Not true, you replace a great deal of that time doing what must be done rather than “juggling” so much.
If you’re the sort of person that can lock yourself in your office and churn out work, then the home-based office is probably right for you, however if you like social interaction, bouncing ideas off colleagues and attending meetings then it will require a complete change of pace.
Working from home also requires self-discipline, motivation and a level of organisation that not everyone has. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking working from home is a childcare solution. If you’re expected to be on call during the day and work specific, uninterrupted, hours, you will require childcare. Children don’t stop asking for food and seeking a play partner just because you have an important meeting on Skype.
Working from home PROS
- Independence and control in your workday with the ability to structure work hours around your own schedule and family commitments
- Possibility to enjoy more family time
- Tax advantages - you may be entitled to claim office equipment and utility costs
- Save time and money on commuting costs
- No office politics or distractions
- Greater flexibility in your working hours
- Space and cost savings for the employer
Working from home CONS
- Household distractions and family interruptions
- Having to secure childcare for when you’re working
- Can be isolating and lonely
- Lack of IT support
- IT security
- You may find it difficult to separate work from home life
- Must be self motivated and organised everyday
Work Health Safety
An area that many home based workers do not look at is work health and safety.
In the office environment, a forward thinking, staff centred company will ensure that there is adequate room and light, provide suitable desks and chairs and maintain the work environment to a safe standard, but what happens at home?
Is the old desk chair that you got the department store suitable for sitting at all day, do the lovely down lights in the study provide adequate lighting, and the fact that the split system air conditioner is at the other end of the house, may mean that the extremes in temperatures see you working under 5 blankets or dangling your feet in a bucket of water to keep cool.
These are of course extremes, but are just some of the hazards that must be identified and solutions planned prior to commencing work from home, just like any other workplace risk assessment.
Praktis Partners has considerable experience in assisting workers make the transition from company workplace to home based work.
Praktis Partners is able to provide work from home guideline packages to businesses and individuals to ensure that both the worker and the work remain on track and safe. Praktis Partners can also arrange home office assessments for businesses to ensure that your workers are safe in their new work environment. Simply send us a message or call us on 0418 560 027.