Why working from home isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be
Let me start by saying I L.O.V.E. working from home. I can wear my ugg boots all day in winter. I can keep on top of the (never-ending) laundry requirements. I can pop dinner in the oven early in the day for mid-week roasts (this still feels ever so decadent). I could go on, but you get the point.
But sometimes, working from home can get, dare I say it, lonely and isolating. Yep, even a dead-set introvert like me can have a bit too much of one’s own company.
The silence and overwhelming solitude of working from home has really hit me this month. My youngest child has started school. Instead of only two or three days home alone, I’m now at home with just Steve the wonder dog for company five days a week. And while I love Steve, he’s not much of a conversationalist.
That’s why 2018 is my year of getting out of the house.
Grab your cards and get networking
Strategy one is going to some networking events this year. Lots of networking events are breakfasts first thing in the morning and that really doesn’t work for me. So as much as I hate the stereotype, networking events for mums are perfect. They’re usually around 9.30 or 10 am, after the school drop off, and don’t eat into the already hectic and busy times at either end of the day.
In February, thanks to some prompting by my friend Tanya, I went to my first event with The Mothers Den. Despite my reservations about needing to human, I have to say it went quite well. The woman sitting opposite me happened to live in the same suburb and has a daughter the year above my eldest at school – small world, hey? And I recognized another woman from swimming lessons, but wasn’t able to speak to her as she left early, so maybe next month?
Now, it will be great if maybe at a future event I meet a prospective client and wow their socks off. But for the time being, I’m happy with having some social interaction and a great cup of coffee.
Desks for hire
There’s also a growing number of co-working spaces cropping up around the Northern Beaches. I’m yet to check any out, but the possible benefits would include deepening relationships as the same people are there week in, week out; a ready made network of connections; and not least of all, a workspace free of the distractions of home.
I’m currently weighing up the pros and cons of a co-working space and wavering on the financial investment. So feel free to convince me in the comments about the glories of your favourite co-working space and why I should check it out!
What if you can’t afford a co-working space, and are continually getting distracted by things to do around the house? Well, there’s a FREE and often forgotten option in suburbs all around the country. These places are quiet workspaces, usually with great internet connections and of course, lots of reference materials at your fingertips. Where am I talking about? The library of course.
As a teenager, I used to use the library all the time. For high school research assignments in the mid-1990s, there really wasn’t another choice. Home internet was pretty much unheard of for most families, and school internet was just for the computer club nerds. Yep, it’s true. But somewhere after 1996, I forgot about the library until my eldest daughter was born in 2008. Needing to get out of the house (do you recognise a theme here?), I discovered story and song time at the library, and suddenly remembered everything that’s awesome about libraries.
Nowadays, I find the library perfect for when I want to do focused work, especially if I need to smash some deadlines over the weekend while my children are at home. Unlike cafes, the library is usually quiet at the weekend making it perfect for getting in, getting the work done, and getting on with enjoying the rest of the weekend.
Get a buzz
And of course, there’s the tried and tested freelancer staple of a coffee shop! Cafes can be great for getting out of the house and are my preferred option for when clients want to meet face to face. But they’re also good for when you just want to write.
Cafes provide you with the buzz of caffeine, of course, but also the energy of just being around other people. Lots of coffee shops have free wifi, but there’s also a lot to be said for no internet connection when you want to get work done without distractions. (Especially if you can have the discipline to leave your phone in your bag, or even – and this is getting pretty out-there, I know! – at home.) In fact, I’m writing this post right now at one of my favourites while my car is at the mechanic.
Over to you
Do you sometimes start to go a bit stir crazy working from home? Where are your favourite options for getting out of the house to work?