Monday, 14 November 2016

The downsides of working from home



I've always dreamed of being a full time writer, and the opportunity to work from home - from anywhere in the world for that matter - is one of the appeals of this dream.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be made redundant at my place of employment. Rather than run right out and get another job, I calculated how much payout I'd receive and how many weeks of leave this amount would give me. It was almost four months. Well, I could get a lot of writing done in that time, so I did.

I'm starting to realise there are downsides to working from home that many people fail to factor in. Here are my top 5.

Toilet paper
I now go through loads of the stuff. Both the husband and I work from home or around the home - it's amazing what you can live without when you put lifestyle ahead of career. But, where I used to only buy a small pack of toilet paper each week, now I'm buying the bulk pack, and it's not to save money but because we go through it.

The Kitchen
I'm in there all the time. Making coffee, loading the dishwasher, making breakfast/lunch/dinner, baking a cake, afternoon nibbles platter. I'm starting to think I should just set up the computer in the kitchen. Some days it drives me nuts that I swapped a desk for a kitchen bench. But the downside of this downside is if I go out to eat it's spending money I don't have.
 
Grocery shopping
I used to set aside a small budget for buying lunches or coffees during the working week. Working from home means you tend to eat at home. A lot. My food bill has doubled. Yes, my lunch money is pretty much non-existent, but it's the amount I see at the checkout that horrifies me, not the savings I make.

Physical appearance
Cringe, yes there are some days when I walk the dog and I stay in my walking gear. All day. All evening.  Who needs to wear make-up or do anything with their hair other than tie it in a ponytail.

Socialisation
At work, I can go for a walk with a colleague, go to lunch, catch up with friends afterwards. At home, it's from the office to the kitchen to the couch. That's not a complaint, that's my idea of heaven. BUT I wouldn't be able to write great characters if I couldn't see that what they want and what they need are often very different.

We think that working from home is a luxury, but it can become a pitfall if we're not careful. Anyone working from home needs to make sure we are first and foremost healthy. Of the mind, body, and the spirit.

What are some things I do to ensure I'm emotionally, physically, and mentally active?

Writers group 
I belong to a group of like-minded people. We meet twice a month, one night for conversation, one night for critique. These friends and colleagues are crucial to my mental well-being.

Exercise
I walk the dog every day. I also try to do gardening at least once a week, and something around the house like painting a wall. I try to include load bearing exercises such as hand weights and lunges to pump calcium to the joints.

Catching up for coffee with good friends
Hey, I'm a writer, I live on this stuff. So why not combine my need for coffee with my need for socialisation. It's really, really important that I don't forget my good friends, the ones I've had for years who often get neglected because I'm 24/7 focused on making this writing fulltime gig come true.

Do you work from home? What are some of the pitfalls for working from home? What are some steps you take to ensure you're emotionally, physically, and mentally active?

Cheers
D L








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