I started working for LABVANTAGE about 10 years ago as an Application Developer on a project called the Experiment Management System (EMS). At that time, I was based in our High Wycombe office in the UK and lived in the outskirts of London. My commute was about 45 minutes to an hour each way. Working in the office was a great experience because there was a real sense of team effort. We all learned from each other’s experiences, helped one another with daily issues and enjoyed good social interaction.
When I was promoted as Senior Engineer in 2006 to work for the US office, I was offered to relocate to the US. After careful consideration and multiple discussions with other home workers, I decided I would work from home in the UK instead. At first, I loved commuting down the stairs, not shaving every day (I saved a fortune on razors over the years), not having to iron a single shirt and doing house work on my lunch breaks! I also regularly traveled to the US office for a week at a time to coordinate projects and get more tasks.
However in 2008, when my son was born, the dynamics of working from home dramatically changed. Both my wife and son were at the house all day and travelling became more difficult. I could no longer work late into the night or on weekends, and found myself not leaving the house for entire weeks!
I needed a new game plan. So, I started to treat working from home as working in the office. My family and I moved to a larger house where I had a bigger office away from the noise of the family. I made a rule that my laptop would only stay in that office and fixed my work hours to start at 10AM, have dinner with my family, finish by 7PM to put my son to bed, and if I needed to finish something to switch off by 10PM max! I joined a gym to get out of the house every day and even began a routine in the morning to go out to a shop before work. This way I had a sense of getting ready to go out. Now, I have a daughter too and found these rules and mindsets have made working at home much easier and more productive while running a family.
Out of all my experiences, I would definitely recommend working from home. Of course I know it only works for certain people and job roles. The extra time gained by not commuting and the ability to spend extra quality time with my children has made my working life better. In an office there are lots of distractions and without them, you will find it’s much easier to focus and get targets completed. There is no social interaction at a home office, so make sure to still communicate with colleagues even if it’s just to say hello. 🙂