Working from home – the holy grail? It can be….

Work from Home Week is underway and it’s the dream of many. Instead of making your way through the dreaded commuter traffic every weekday morning, you can just get out of bed open your laptop…and start work.

Home working. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? And it is. I’m one of the 4.2 million* people in the UK using their primary residence as a base for working, at least for some of the week. There is a down side to such bliss, though.

There are some who sit up in bed with a bag of Maltesers (or similar), making their way through the daily grind of chores. But I’m not one of them. I think it’s crucial to have the right space and set-up because, despite its obvious benefits, there are a few cons to working in the same environment you’re living in.

To start with, it’s easy to get distracted. You could pop the kettle on, and spend a couple of hours in front of the telly if the mood takes you. The dogs will need walking, the dinner might need preparing, and the washing machine could be screaming to be emptied.

When you work with colleagues in an office, you’re away from all these little treats and chores. In theory an office environment will help you get more work done. I agree – but you can create this for yourself from the comfort of your own home.

It still takes a lot of discipline, you need to set yourself targets – even if no one has set them for you. Yes, you can sit around in your civvies and slippers, but all of this is for nothing if you don’t tackle the tasks in hand.

So how do I do it? I’m lucky enough to have a spare room in my home. And I’ve really made the most of it. It’s my space, and it’s the perfect location for a home office. I’ve made it my own – with neutral colours conducive to clear and creative thinking. I have a desk and everything – from phone to printer – is placed exactly where I want it.

It seems homebuilders are recognising the rise in the number of workers just like me, and they’re producing more houses and apartments designed with us in mind. Many have studies, or at least an extra room for guests which can easily be adapted to suit. This is a great plan because I believe this kind of employment and self employment will continue to rise in popularity in years to come.

I don’t have people around me of course, so I can’t bounce ideas off them. Some home workers will miss this – but not me. I love the fact that I can spend some time on my own and get things done. It just needs to be properly thought-out if it’s going to be a success. And that means making the best use of the space you have in your home – or of course actively seeking out a home that works for you…..


Paula Good

* analysis of figures by the TUC




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