By August 20, 2012 Read More →

Working from home – the dream and reality

Moving from an office to working from home

Working from home - the dream and the reality, Katie Macdonald, Virtually Does ItFour months ago we heard from Katie Macdonald, who was on the verge of starting working from home. She’s back today to tell us how reality matches up to the dream of working from home.

Hi Katie, in your interview about starting to work from home four months ago you were looking forward to managing your own time. How is this working out?
I can’t believe how far the hours in a day go! I’ve been working from home since the end of April and I’ve probably only just settled in to managing my own time and getting used to how much I can do in an hour compared to working in an office! A bit of a cliché I know, but true! It’s very different and so much more productive.

What’s it like being at home on your own all day?
In the beginning, it was harder than I imagined, the days seemed so long without times to anchor things on like having to leave for work, take a lunch break within a certain time etc. I went from a big open plan office of hustle and bustle, to just me and my laptop! When I was at work looking at the greener grass of self-employment, I thought not having to structure things around time was going to be the best thing ever! However, it was more difficult than I thought, so I now work to a flexible structure, but one that fits in with me and my clients, and I’m getting on much better.

Your only apprehension was that, having wanted to leave your office job for so long, the novelty of working from home would wear off. Where are you with that?
The novelty has definitely not worn off! Now I’ve relaxed in to it and have a mix of business, working both on and in my business, and fitting in other personal pursuits, too, I am loving it.

Have you had time to grow your business?
My business planning has leapt forward for marketing, networking, and exploring new ways to build on the services I offer and the way I work with my clients. It’s good fun and I’m looking forward to putting my planning in to practice. It’s all been well received so far!

And to fit things you enjoy into your day?
I think that’s one of the things that is so great about working from home, you can fit in what else you love to do. So yes, I have managed to do this and I think it’s important for homeworkers to try and build this in to their week as a priority for work life balance.

Have there been any surprises?
I don’t think there have been. It’s been a steep learning curve, but one that was well worth it. If I had to pick one thing it would be the culture shock of what you dream it’s going to be like to the reality. The reality is now closer to the dream, but it took me a little while to get there!

What advice would you give to somebody seriously thinking about working from home?
Don’t be afraid to introduce a little bit of structure to your days (even though that’s what you might have been trying to escape from), it makes a huge difference. And relax! Remember you’ve chosen to set up your own business and work from home, enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty about building in some of your own personal interests, too.

Katie runs Virtually Does It, virtual assistance for your administration, creative, online and business support.

6 Comments on "Working from home – the dream and reality"

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  1. Saiprasad Achrekar says:

    The dream & reality of working from home is like the distance between the sky & the ocean!

  2. peterm says:

    With the ever increasing cost of travel and hassle of travelling to work, there is no better time to start working from home.
    It can result in a better mix of work/home and more flexible approach in combining work with the other normal daily commitments that we all have.

  3. So pleased you like it Katie. How are you getting on adjusting to the admin and accounts side? That’s often the part that new business owners find challenging (most of us working from home).

  4. That all sounds familiar Katie- 18 months in and I am still finding it hard to take personal time during the day without feeling guilty… It’s amazing how deeply engrained the 9 to 5 regime is! But I wouldn’t swap working from home for anything else! Hope the business is going well.

    • Judy says:

      From what I’ve seen, it can take a few years to really take advantage of the flexibility of working from home. As you say, Francesca, the 9-5 is hardwired into us – I think it must go far further back than our own conditioning. Probably it comes from our ancestors ever since the Industrial Revolution!

  5. Thanks to everyone for their comments!

    I know what you mean Francesca, it is difficult to do the things that you want to fit in around your new business without feeling guilty, but I think it’s so important. Judy’s right, it will probably take a while before we’re really, truly, comfortable with it!

    I wouldn’t swap it either, and I’m still on a learning curve!