Thinking of Working from Home? – Avoid the Pitfalls by Creating a Dedicated Space.
Looking to achieve a better work/life balance? To make this dream a reality, the thought of working from home for some or all the time may spring to mind. After all, even one of the biggest hit songs in the past couple of years repeatedly tells us “we can work, work, work from home”.
Cutting out the daily commute and the time it takes to get ready to face the office environment, can free up 10+ hours a week (over 40 hours a month), so not surprisingly many people seriously think about the idea of working from home. In fact, working from home is a trend that is here to stay according to labour market research. The New York Times reported last year that 43% of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely, while CNN reports that there was a 115% increase in telecommuting workers in the decade between 2005 and 2015.
Ambitions to work from home may be a case of just one or two days a week, or it may be full time if you have opted to go it alone or taken the leap to start your own business. Regardless, you likely feel you have found the perfect solution to achieving that greater work/life balance you desired. No more rushing for public transport, only to be crushed against the hoards of others caught up in the rat race or leaving home early to beat rush hour traffic and covet one of the ever-reducing number of parking spaces.
Wrong, within weeks, if not days, you are experiencing cabin fever, sick of spending all your waking hours contained within the same four walls. Your dining table now doubles as your office desk, meaning you are forever clearing away your laptop and work documents just so dinner can be served. Or, you can’t fully relax, because rather than the old problem of taking work home with you, work is now literally all around you.
Then there’s the matter of concentration when there are home distractions at arm’s reach; the TV remote control, the games consul or your new favourite book. And, with no boss or colleagues looking over your shoulder, the online world is your oyster as without even leaving your laptop and ‘desk’, Netflix, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are all just a click away.
Family too may be unable to make the distinction between the ‘working you’ and the ‘home time you’, calling on you to come dry the dishes or to help with homework, purely because you are in sight or in the next room, and therefore considered available. You will realize that what you really need is your own dedicated working space, away from distraction and interruption.
However, laying claim to a separate work area is no easy task. Every room in the house is occupied, working from your bedroom is not sustainable and counterproductive to a good night’s sleep, while any dreamy notion of a home office extension is quashed either by budget or the mere thought of the upheaval involved. Even if space allows, extensions are costly and may require planning permit complications. A separate garden building may be the answer. Screenwriter and producer Tassie Cameron, known for hit TV series like Mary Kills People and Little Dog, says a backyard shed is her favorite room, and makes the perfect work retreat.
“As a writer, I’m a procrastinator by nature. When I’m in my house, like everybody, I get obsessed with emptying the dishwasher. There’s always something that needs to be arranged or tidied up, food to be eaten, mail to be opened… but this little shed is separate from all that. There’s nothing to do out here except work. It really helps me focus.” Companies like The Bunkie Co. have noticed a growing demand for home offices and studios that can be assembled in just a few days from a set of pre-assembled components, with no building permits required.
“We see the opportunity for professionals working from home to use our beautifully designed, turnkey Bunkies. Our clients love the personal sense of place that bunkies offer for working on a laptop, reading, or maybe even pulling down a murphy bed for a power nap,” says Evan Bare, Owner and Designer at The Bunkie Co. in recent conversation with KITI.
Indeed, working metres from your home has all the advantages you imagined; no more early rises to beat the morning traffic, no more humdrum commutes, and no transformer powers required to convert your work station back into a dining room. Instead, you have your own devoted workspace, a place in which you know you are there to work, away from the main house. You can add features to keep the space organized, like shelves, benches and bins, and install a printer and other equipment. And best of all your family understand that when you are in your home office or studio, you are working and not to be disturbed.