the myth of working at home


2004-12-23

I have been dreaming of working at home for many years now. Now that I have some experience with it, I'm not so convinced anymore...

The idea of working at home - or rather of not leaving home to go to work - is a very pervasive one. It is such a common dream among people sick of the day to day drudgery of going to work that only very few seem to reflect what it really means.

For one: there will be no easy border between home/freetime and office/work any longer. Ok, that is mostly a matter of discipline and the fact if you really want to differenciate the two aspects of your life.

I actually tend to think that the two are not to be devided. I think it's more a question of what you work and for whom and why... if I really enjoy what I do I don't mind 'taking it home'.

A common 'pro' of working at home is the gained flexibility in work-shedule... but again that largly depends on what etc.

Also this flexibility can be a two-sided sword... clients might come to expect you to be available around the clock... again a question of discipline...

But from the past months of experience with a) being selfemployed and b) really working at home I see another major block:

Working at home is a dream if you are alone or have a family that can and will 100% respect your work shedule. No interuptions, no quick questions or small household tasks etc.

If your are - like me - even slightly prone to procrastination, consider not working at home. Find an office or lock your door.

Don't misunderstand me now: it's absolutly not my family's fault I have been very unproductive in these last months. It's a combination of me being very easily distracted and needing regular creative breaks. But such a break does not mean I'm availeable at that time... I need those breaks to sort out things in my head and am actually very occupied. But seeing me strolling the appartment is a natural moment for the family to interact with me. And all too often I let myself be distracted.

That's the crux with the way my brain works. I don't work for a full three hours uninterrupted, but I still need the full three hour envelope without (external) interruption! I need to be able to stroll around, procratinate etc, but I also need to be able to return to work whenever my mind is ready....

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