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What are the periles of working from home?(27 Posts)
Hi. Not really sure if this is the right place so apologies if it's not. I'm also jumping the gun (a lot) seeing as I haven't even applied yet.
I'm going to apply for a job working from home a couple of days a week. It's computer based admin. Nothing hugely exciting but sounds ok. If I got it I would leave my current office job.
What things do I need to be aware of applying to work from home? I know it will mean I might go days without speaking to anyone other than my family (which isn't too big a deal for me if I'm honest) and I know I'll have to be super committed to turning on the pc and not getting distracted by the windows that need cleaning...
What are the advantages and disadvantages to working from home? I don't know right now if there will be set hours, it seems very flrxible which might or might nit be a good thing!
Finally, if I get an interview (jumpimg the gun again!) what sort of questions might they ask specifixally about home workimg?
I work from home but i'm self-employed/freelance rather than employed on set hours. The issues I have are two fold. Firstly people assume that because you're at home you're not really working, so you're free for coffee, lunch, to do any other jobs which need done. I also find having to justify myself to other people (usually mums to be fair) who assume that because I'm at home I'm not working at all. Secondly you have to be really disciplined - this might be easier if you have set hours. I'm constantly getting distracted by emptying the dishwasher, or making a coffee, or hanging out laundry....
I would expect to be asked what plans you have for childcare while you're working - a lot of people seem to think it's possible to work full time for home while simultaneously caring for a newborn. It really isn't. This will depend on the age of your children. They will probably want to know how you motivate yourself and work without supervision as well as practical issues like how your home office is set up.
I love WFH - it's worth it just for the lack of commuting stresses and cost, and money saved in lunches and clothes. But echoing what PP said - discipline in hours, so you don't end up at work at 11pm to finish something, and demonstrable ability to assign childcare elsewhere.
I'd never be out of my PJs to be honest.
You can also end up "too available" to your employer - so they are more likely to contact you outside your normal working hours, just because they're accustomed to phoning you, whereas if you worked in an office, they'd see you weren't there.
I think you need more than being personally "disciplined". I think you need a separate phone number and separate email address, so you keep a proper separation between home and work. Better still would be a designated work-space such as a "work" desk or table, and even better a dedicated laptop or PC at that work-space. The more "blue sky" between home and work, the better. That way you can "train" yourself to go and sit at your work-space during work hours and deal with all work calls/emails then. Outside work hours, you won't get any work emails/calls (because your phone will be turned off or silenced and you won't be on your work laptop to read emails).
I speak from personal experience - OK, I was self employed rather than an employee, but it literally ruined my home/family life when I had a shared home phone number, shared computer, shared work-space etc. - I'd end up working on and off in the evenings and at weekends - clients would phone up at stupid times of the day. They'd even send faxes through in the middle of the night waking the whole house! I ended up having to get a separate landline installed and a new number for personal/household calls, so that I could unplug the old/works number outside office hours.
Organising my work space. You need space for storing equipment and documentation which isn't going to be interfered with by others!
Managing my time. I tend to get distracted and think I'll do a bit more tomorrow to make up for it. Then I'm behind.
I'm unrealistic as well about being able to pop out for an hour, or juggle things to fit it all in.
Also the dog pesters me...
"seems very flexible" is a red flag to me. Sounds like they'd expect you to be on-call at their whim. I think the least you need to get cleared from the start is agreed working hours so you're free to do what you want outside those hours and won't be anxious every time there's a phone call or new email whilst you're making tea or pruning your roses!
I work freelance ten hours a week for the same place I worked full time as a salaried member of staff before I went on maternity leave.
Depending on the week you catch me this is either:
- amazing, feels like money for old rope, keeps my mind ticking over and my CV updated while the kids are young, or
- crap because everyone assumes my ten hours is made of elastic and basically I sit by my work email 80 hours a week (because I get queries late at night and weekends too) but the clock for my ten hours only starts ticking when I am asked to do something.
On balance it's guaranteed money doing something I know well and enjoy in an industry it's hard to get into after a career break, but the flexible hours are as much a curse as a blessing because I never have a point now where I sit down and watch tv without feeling guilty about not booting my laptop up to work at the same time.
Admittedly the fact I worked there full time before probably muddies the water but I'd definitely say try and get them to explain (and put in writing / on email) what they expect you to do and what happens if it's not completed within your set hours.
The bonus points far outweigh any negatives. What I will say is make sure you set office hours for yourself otherwise you'll dilly dally around making cups of tea and doing a bit here, a bit there. Then before you know it, an 8 hour work day has spilled well into the evening. It doesn't have to be 9-5 but make sure it's consistent and take a proper lunch break each day. Also, "get ready" for work, whatever that means to you. Don't stay in pyjamas, get dressed and do your make up (if you wear it). It gives you far more oomph for the day. Finally, depending on where you live, the local postmen and delivery folk will start to know that you're in. DO NOT become your local collection point. Tell them to naff off and if necessary, pop a sign on the door. With me, I was getting buzzed 4 times a day for other people's parcels and it was proving a huge disruption so learn from my mistakes!
I have been working as a freelance translator for 8 years now, and I still love it. I love not commuting, being available if there is a school "emergency", having a break in the garden on a sunny day, going to the pool/sauna during school hours if I have time etc.
It is very personal if you like it or not. I like the silence, but I also liked the silence when I was a student working on my thesis, and I am quite good at managing my deadlines, I know how much I can take on, and I have no problem saying no thank you to jobs that I don't want to to do. I do get distracted and end up doing a bit of house work or MN'ing, but it's not a problem. Sometimes I do work in the weekend or evening, and I do have to keep that to a minimum or I get stressed.
So ask yourself if you would be lonely and if you can manage your time. It will require some adjusting, but you will find your own way.
I work from home part of the week. I like it because it removes the commute, I can work in my pyjamas and still get washing etc done.
However the pitfalls for me are that I work longer hours and feel like I have to prove that I have worked harder than if I was in the office, and it can be lonely. I also get distracted sometimes but a positive is that I don't have people just stopping by my desk to chat, if they make contact with me it's for a purpose.
Misscph, can I ask you how you got into translation and which languages you speak? I have a modern languages degree, and would love to do something like that, but didn't think there was much call for it. Are you in the South East? I'm in a rural area, so not many opportunities, but I guess translation can be done and then emailed to the client, so it shouldn't really matter where you are.
If you have any advice on how to get started I would be very grateful!
I'm also a translator. The biggest problem for me is the isolation.
I miss the social aspects of working in an office and I have to make sure I get out and see someone during the day.
But the trade off is flexibility with childcare.
I'm employed, but work entirely from home. The big downside is that you can be really socially isolated, so you have to make an effort to leave the house and speak to real people!
I've been based at home for 10 years now, and the flexibility goes both ways - I load the washing machine while the kettle is boiling, fold laundry while on a conference call. But equally I'm happy to answer questions late in my evening, or attend meetings out of hours - the 6am call with asia pacific gets done from the spare bed
Tokelau, I have a degree in Scandinavian and English Languages & Literature (I'm Danish), and one of my friends from uni started as a freelance translator, so I had lots of advice from her. I only translate from English to Danish. I mainly used the portal Proz.com, and it was a fairly easy start, but I was very geared for selling my services. I'm in the South West, in a rural area as well.and I almost exclusively communicate with clients via e-mail. You are very welcome to pm me if you want some advice/help to get started.
pombal, where are you? Proz.com arranges meet ups for freelance translators, if you miss colleagues. I am a member of a FB translator group and I have recently also become a member of CIOL.
Thanks misscph, I'm not in the U.K. and I don't really feel like I need to talk to other translators per se, I just need to talk to someone
It's part of working from home I didn't really consider before I started.
pombal, working from home does mean that I don't see enough adults apart from my DH. It doesn't really bother me, but I do miss a good chat. FB and MN are my water cooler ;)
I have recently joined Meetup, but I have yet to go to a meet-up.
Thank you Misscph, I'll take a look at that.
The benefits far outweigh the pitfalls.
I work for myself, motivating myself is never an issue.
I work 15 hours a week, which is enough as I am at my most productive when I have time for other things too.
You have to be disciplined around time management I find. Motivation can be an issue.
Procrastinating can be one fatal sin...which reminds me I have a brochure to do don't I...
Strangely enough motivation is easy for me.
Not a problem at all.
I've been working at home freelance more or less for 5 years (3 young kids) but I've had enough. The last straw was having to stay up until 3AM finishing a project when my OH "forgot" to say they were going to work on a day over half term they'd previously said they'd taken as holiday.
My experience is the assumption that your work isn't important, difficult or meaningful and because you work from home your accessible 24 x7 for people you work for and you can pick up everything at home - doctors, school stuff, shopping and so on.
Or maybe my OH is a twat.
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DH used to work from home about 5-6 years ago. His crappy bosses told him that one of the reasons the vast majority of their staff wfh was that they got loads more time and effort out of their staff for free because they didn't have a commute and so didn't switch off from work so easily. Make a permanent work area, give yourself a commute and switch off.