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Starting / Working from home

Working from home: The hidden dangers exposed

Contrary to popular belief, working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In this article, Mary Gardam takes a light-hearted look at the hidden dangers.

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Working from home sounds great, everything’s at your fingertips, mere metres from the comfort of your bed and a fully stocked kitchen. There’s the convenience of being able to spend time with your family and pop out to the shops when everyone else is busy at work. However these benefits also come with some hidden dangers. For the safety of soloists everywhere, I think it’s time they were exposed.

Commuter hell

Okay, so your desk might be metres from your bed, not much of a commute right? While spending 45 minutes in traffic isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, at least on the roads there are some rules everyone follows, you know, keep to the left, stop at the red lights. In my house my commute is only about 10 metres but it’s an absolute minefield of discarded school bags, children asking for snacks/videos/help, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll stand on a forgotten piece of Lego – ouch!

Office politics

While there might not be the power struggles and backstabbing associated with working in an office, there is a different kind of power struggle: Convincing your family, friends and well meaning neighbours (who drop in unannounced) that you are AT WORK. I’ve been guilty of this myself prior to having my own business. Sorry Cynthia. 

"If I'm having an unmotivated, unproductive day at home, it can quickly descend into a Homeland marathon. Bad Mary! Thank goodness for deadlines."

Distractions

In the past it might have been a chatty co-worker causing the distractions, but now I have the luxury of choosing my distraction: the TV, washing, reading books, calling Mum, social media … did I mention social media? And the list goes on.

At least at a workplace there is some peer pressure to get your work done. If I’m having an unmotivated, unproductive day at home it can quickly descend into a Homeland marathon. Bad Mary! Thank goodness for deadlines.

Lunch room issues 

Instead of being the place that keeps your lunch at the right temperature, your home kitchen can exude an almost hypnotic attraction. Suddenly my husband’s Mint Slice biscuits begin to call me. Suddenly I’m contemplating what I might be able to eat or cook that will magically make me much more productive. 

First in, last to leave 

We’ve all had those days when you are completely in the zone and dare not stop because you’re afraid that you won’t be able to recapture the magic.

In the office the cleaning staff start turning off the lights, which is a good sign that you need to call it a day. At home you just keep at it. And even if you do stop, your work is only a few metres away. Switching off is an important skill. If you need some ideas I believe the distractions section may help.

I love working from home but it requires much more self discipline, commitment and patience than working in an office.

However there are some unique benefits. There aren’t too many workplaces that would let me bring my three year old along. She’s been playing happily a few metres away while I write this. I just took a break to check on her and guess what, on the way back to my desk I stood on some Lego. Ahh the comforts of working from home!

What hidden dangers have you discovered working from home?

Mary Gardam

is the Principal Quality Advisor at LogiQA. She has held a number of senior quality roles but is now enjoying introducing small business to the benefits of business systems. Mary also lectures in Quality Systems at Griffith University.

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