PRO'S AND CON'S OF WORKING AT HOME
I have a confession - because I work from home, I sometimes get lonely. When Jason gets home from work, I am exactly like a puppy who hasn’t seen their owner all day. Seriously. I bounce up and down, I want to chat and find out about his day, I want to have little brainstorm sessions together and tell him all my ideas. The thing is, he’s a teacher looking after 25 eight year olds, so he’s usually exhausted by the end of the day and I have to be mindful of this.
In truth, I am at least 50% introvert and 50% extrovert, meaning I love spending time alone but when I am around people, I thrive on their company and conversation. I get equal parts buzz when I work on my own as I do when I work with other people. It’s my daily conundrum!
I’m certain I am not the only creative working from home who feels this way, so I thought I would share a few tools I’ve put in place to alleviate the pro’s and con’s of working at home. But first, here are some of the pro’s and con’s.
I don’t have to battle peak hour traffic or public transport to get to work.
I can start my day as early or as late as I like. The same applies at the end of my day; I can finish as early or as late as I like.
If I feel like working in my pyjama’s all day I can, which I never do because I think it’s important to get dressed for the day. Point is however, I have the choice.
I can create my own workspace haven.
I don’t have a manager looking over my shoulder nor do I have to deal with office politics. Yawn.
I don’t get to interact or bounce ideas off other co-workers and creatives.
It can get lonely.
I can never escape to the office, or home, because I am already here.
I don’t get as much facetime with other people as I’d like so it’s sometimes more difficult to find out about new projects and clients.
Everyone’s at work so there usually are no co-workers to have lunch with.
So what tools have I put in place to make sure I get the most out of working from home?
I have a morning routine
I get up at 5am to exercise, then I get home, shower and dress for the day, I have a nutritious breakfast and a cup of my favourite Mayde chai tea with Bonsoy, I spend time with Jason and when he leaves for work, I start my day.
I have meetings in the morning
I find I am most productive in the morning (and in the early evenings after sunset - for some reason still unknown to me today). Because of this, I make sure my clients calls and meetings happen in the morning, as this is when my extrovert side is ready to thrive.
I have a proper lunch break
Throughout my career, I have always been against eating lunch at my desk. Why? Because your employer doesn’t pay you for this time so if you eat lunch at your desk, you’re effectively giving them 240 hours of your time each year - for free. Because of this I have always taken a proper lunch break. I prepare my meals for the week every Sunday afternoon so I don’t have to waste time during the week making something every day or spending money on expensive lunches. I get out of my studio and either eat on our deck, or jump in the car and eat lunch at the beach, or one of the beautiful parks near by.
I listen to podcasts and Ted Talks
Sometimes I like a bit of background noise when I work, and sometimes I don’t. This usually depends on what I’m working on and when I think about it, it’s actually another Pro of working at home - I don’t have to battle it out with other co-workers about the noise volume or choice of music. When I do feel like listening to something, I always listen to podcasts and Ted Talks. I love learning this way!
I’ve started a podcast
When I don’t have meetings, or catch ups throughout the day, or the need to jump in the car to do admin jobs, I can only hear my own voice throughout the day. So I decided to start a podcast. I get so much joy from listening to podcasts and because I know and get to work with so many amazing creatives who each have so many wisdom bombs, actionable advice and practical tips to share, it seemed like the most natural step forward in meeting new people, growing Your Creative Start and getting additional exposure for my business.
I get out of the house in the afternoon
Whether it’s to grab some groceries, meet a friend for a coffee or a quick stop at the Post Office, I always make sure I leave time to get out of the house in the early afternoon. I find it’s very important to have work/home separation each day.
I use social media
I generally have a love hate relationship with social media because I feel there is a huge disparity between the gloss of what people show on social media, compared to every day mundane life. However, social media can be great to connect with other people throughout the day. I also use it as well as a tool to get inspired try new things (hikes, recipes, workshops) and motivated to the work. I’ve been recently been inspired to create some new workshops so watch this space… I also know other creatives who work from home use Instagram Stories as a way of connecting with people. I’m not so much inclined to do this myself (hello introvert) but I do enjoy watching and listening to their Stories.
I enjoy nature at the end of the day
Usually in the later afternoons, when I am happy with the day’s work completed, Jason and I will jump in the car to find somewhere along the beach to watch sunset. There are so many beautiful spots on the Sunshine Coast so it's almost seem sacrilegious not to appreciate it every day. It’s great to get outdoors and breathe in the fresh salty air when I have been at home all day, and it’s also a super nice way to catch up with Jason if he’s gone for a surf straight after work. I highly recommend it!
Words by YCS Director, Jaharn Giles