Working from home: solitude or a more balanced life?
More and more people are working from home, attracted by the flexibility, the efficiency and the fact that they do not have to commute. Private companies and some Government agencies are allowing some of their employees to work outside the office. But it is not all roses.
Some workers say that after a few years working from home they end up feeling isolated. Apart from the lack of interaction with colleagues, there is the lack of interaction with the rest of the world. The best way to interact with the community you live in is through work as this leads to meeting people. When you remove this element, you need to work at creating a work environment.
Working alone means fewer interruptions, but it is during these small moments shared with your colleagues that connections are made. The worst thing when you are working alone from home is that there is no one around to help when things go wrong.
Also, balancing your private life and work within the same space is difficult for everyone, although a recent study published in Germany suggests that women find it harder. Contrary to the perception that working from home means more flexibility for parents, this study found that, for women, it basically translates into more childcare.
On the other hand, the study found that fathers who are based at home work more, but rarely spend time with their children. Taking care of children when they are sick, attending meetings at their schools and organising them during the summer holidays which never seem to end while holding a full time job is difficult enough for any parent; working on something that requires thought at the kitchen table with small children constantly claiming your attention is impossible.
Self-confidence is the key to any type of work that can successfully be done from home. This is because it allows you to communicate clearly (so that your superiors and colleagues know what you are doing), it helps you work consistently (without the feedback you would get in an office environment) and recognise when you need to take a break.
When you work well from home and you realise that your set up is working, the results will speak for themselves. This means that you have managed to organise yourself well; for example, you have created a permanent place from where you work and you follow a schedule.
Notwithstanding the obvious challenges of working from home, it works for some people. The vast majority of those who work from home claim that they are happy with how they are living and working.