More and more people are working from home. With the flexibility and convenience of remote access, this is becoming more of a norm. All of my former professional jobs have had me working out of an office, so it has been quite a change with my new job with a microfinance non-profit. The organization does not currently have an office, as it’s still very young and growing. That means that I am working from my house.
As my house here in Granada is now where I work, it has brought on a whole new set of challenges, including balancing work and life, maintaining a substantial social life, and avoiding distractions.
In all of my former jobs, there was a certain set of hours that was expected of me to work. At my last job, I was expected to be in the office from around 8am until 5pm or so. This means that I would typically have a set amount of time that I had to dedicate to being in the office in which I needed to complete a certain set of responsibilities. Now, my schedule is completely mine. Although this kind of freedom and independence is ideal, it has been tough to make the transition. Many weeks, I am thinking about work much more than I would typically have done at my old job, and I wear myself out. Other weeks, I have so much other stuff going on that I work a bit less. It’s difficult to keep a balance and is something I’m still working on.
Working in an office around other people does have a social life advantage. Whether you want to or not, you have to communicate with others. Work or not work related, like it or not, you’ll be communicate with coworkers. Even if it is unwanted, it does provide some sort of a social satisfaction. You may leave work and not want to speak to anyone, but you did have that social interaction.
Working from home does not provide this forced interaction. I am typically working online and sending emails, so I must go outside my house to be social. Because I have everything here in my house, I find it easy to not leave the house the entire day. Around 3-4pm, I start to feel that sense of needing to speak to someone. Sometimes, I realize this too late and feel pretty down until I actually do get out. This is another thing I need to work on here.
Distractions, especially online ones, easily become a part of life. Working at home provides the opportunity to be distracted by anything and everything. Dishes on the counter? Might as well take 5 minutes to do them. Clothes to wash? Why not? Talk to a few friends on Facebook, listen to a podcast, study Spanish, etc, etc. There are so many options of things to do that aren’t related to work. The temptation is oftentimes overwhelming. This is a big change from my normal work life and has been an adjustment.
The moral of the story is that working from home is a change and takes some adjustments and time to get used to the situation. The freedom and independence is amazing, and many days I’m able to get much more done in one day than if I spent the day in an office. But just like everything, there are always challenges and adjustments that need to be made!