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Working from home

Forget about flirting and office gossip if there’s only one person in the workforce.Here’s what to expect.

Control

Your career is in your hands. There’s no need to work your way up the ladder because there isn’t one. You’re the boss. Top dog. Whatever path you want to take, it’s down to you. Just don’t expect the tea to get made unless you get up and switch on the kettle yourself.

Flexibility

Nine to five? Forget it. You can work whenever you want, for as little or as long as you like. Just so long as you get the job done, you can work at night if you like, and earn yourself a great big long, lazy lie-in. Back in the real world, the more time you spend away from your desk, the less you’re likely to be earning.

Diversity

All of a sudden your job description becomes impossible to define. Which can’t be a bad thing, when you think about it. As a freelancer, every job demands a different skill. And if something crops up you really don’t want to do, you are fully authorised to say so.

More time

You get up and you go to work. There’s no in between. No slumming it on the bus or the train with all the other commuters. In terms of travel time, it’s a huge saving. Plus you don’t arrive at your desk in a state of sweaty exhaustion.

Home office hell

Discipline

Being a success at something you enjoy means never having to work again. Right? Not if sleep is your passion, and that’s where most freelancers fall flat. If you’re the only one who’s going to notice if you’re late, it’s horribly tempting to hit the snooze button and never get up again.

Cash flow

Forget about the monthly pay cheque. When it comes to being paid, freelancers come last on the list. Sure, you can state ‘payment within four weeks of receipt’ on your invoice, but your clients will merely consider this to be a challenge – something to ignore. As a result, you just can’t plan ahead. Financially speaking, it’s either feast or famine.

Insecurity

Going freelance means going philosophical too. From the very first day, those confidence-crushing questions begin haunting your thoughts: ‘What am I doing?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘Can I afford to stop for Neighbours?’ There are no easy answers. Without a permanent contract, it’s very hard to see beyond the next commission. But while there’s tough competition in some areas, such as media and design, even companies that are cutting back may need some freelance help.

Isolation

Working from home means being content with your own company. Don’t save it up for the window cleaner or postman. They have a job to do, too. Check out online forums, networking groups and magazines for people in your line of work – they’ll provide some virtual company. And if you’re crippled by cabin fever, go and work in a coffee shop that has Wi-Fi, or your local library. Just remember to put some clean clothes on first.

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