Working From Home: Everyone’s Biggest Dream or Worst Nightmare
Everyone dreams of having a job where they can be their own boss and do what they want to do when they want to do it. The problem is that working from home is not as easy as everyone thinks it is. There are a lot of factors that go into a successful work environment. We’ll talk about why you might want to think twice about working from home.
I started out working from home in a corner of the bedroom I share with my wife. While this may not sound like much of a problem, you have to remember that another person lives there. She has every right to get dressed after a shower, do her make up, etc. Our bedroom isn’t very big, so I had a very small corner where I built my own L shaped desk, anchored to the wall. It was a nice space, organized and everything, but it was still cramped. Every time I got up or sat down, I smashed my knee into the corner of the desk. I had barely enough room to slide into place. If you don’t have enough room to spread out, it can really be stressful to stay organized, or spread your work out and knock it out.
Not only am I married, but I have 2 children, one being my three year old son, and the other being my nine year old daughter. Both of them are into Ninja Turtles (so was I as a kid) and they spend most of their days clanging their plastic weapons into each other and fighting imaginary Foot Clan Soldiers. While this might sound entertaining, it isn’t when you’re trying to concentrate. Imagine trying to fix something in the PHP code of a website with “Hiya!! Bang bang!! Wah!! Chop!!!” going on in the background. It’s cute when you’re sitting there on the couch having a drink, but when you’re working from home, your stress level would shoot through the roof!
Along with two ninjas in training, we have 2 dogs and a cat. One dog and the cat like to battle (without ever touching one another, so I think they are just playing), and they are always sniffing me out for attention. If someone is even close to the outside of our house, the animal alarm goes off and they’ll bark for 10 minutes until they’re sure they’ve scared off our imaginary intruder. They also like to come and bug me to take them outside or for a walk, too.
If Your Neighbors have pets, they can be a huge source of trouble, too. My neighbors all seemed to have acquired dogs within a few weeks of each other. One was the neighbor next door, whose dog will bark constantly for 20 minutes. Try writing an article or building a website with that going on in the background. The neighbors caddy-corner to us all have those little yip-yap dogs, but they have 5 of them, so it sounds like a herd of angry chihuahuas are near our home. You can forget getting work done then.
I think stay at home moms are great. Little kids need their mom growing up, because that nurturing figure builds them up as people, and they get great care. The flip side to that is that a lot of times, if you’re working from home with them at home, too, they don’t understand that you’re not available to chat all day. They’ll come talk to you about whatever crosses their mind, which keeps you from getting things done, too.
If You’re Easily Distracted
If you need to think, it’s hard to do so with so much going on around you. Imagine trying to do your job in the middle of a circus. It’s ok if you have your own office or a room where you can go and shut the door and lock it, but if your house is too small, it can be tough to make it work. If noises easily distract you, you may want to reconsider working from home.
Being Self Motivated and A Self Starter
This is a big one for many, but it is essential for working for yourself. Working from home and peace and quiet are one thing, but being motivated and a self starter are another. You may want to reconsider owning your own business if you have trouble staying on task or making yourself do the work to begin with.
Meeting With Clients
As your business grows, you’ll be having a lot of meetings with clients. This can be tough to do from home, especially if you have all of the things I have listed earlier. You may not be able to bring your client into your home. It may not even be appropriate. Imagine me bringing my clients into the tiny corner of our bedroom. Can you imagine my dogs jumping all over a client? What a nightmare. You can get around this by meeting clients at their business or at a coffee shop or restaurant. In this case, you’ll want to spring for a cup of joe and a scone, or pay for their meal, which you can mark down as an expense.
Don’t panic, you don’t have to rent an office from day one to build a successful business. I started in that tiny corner office in my bedroom, which was fine for a couple of years. Now I have a nice, quiet office just a couple of minutes down the street from my house. I hold client meetings there, and I have a place where I can go and concentrate, getting my work done while keeping a little more of my sanity. Keep your chin up, because you have to start somewhere, and you have to keep things within your means.
Over to You
No matter where it is, I’d love to hear about your workplace and where you get your work done. Do you have horror stories of tough work environments? We want to hear about them! Leave your stories and pictures in the comments section below. For pictures, send a twitpic to @creativebeacon on Twitter!