#OfficeJoys – Working Home And Away

Whether you work in an office environment, or work from home, it has to be said, your work life is never perfect.  As someone who has been in both situations, I can totally see the view from both sides of the fence, there are pluses and negatives whichever way you choose. Furniture at Work, where you can find great quality  office furniture online, have produced the very tongue in cheek video featured above, to highlight that some days are a battle whether we travel to a work environment, or create one in our home.

Working in an Office

When I had my own office I was certainly more organised, with a place for everything and everything in its place. I could work in peace and quiet so I could really concentrate on getting tasks done, and everything I needed was immediately on hand. Coffee was only a phone call away, and there was always someone around who I could chat to.

It sounds pretty perfect, except…the stripe lights gave me headaches that developed into migraines. The office door was constantly being knocked by people passing their problems onto me or adding to my workload. The sterile environment was not really conducive to creativity and inspiration, and that office chair could be uncomfortable, And the phone never stopped ringing, I would hear it in my sleep.

Working from Home

Now I work from home, often, like this morning, with a netbook perched on my lap. I can work in pyjamas, in my slippers, I can start at what time I want, and finish at what time I want. I can take whatever breaks I like, and I have no need for childcare, particularly during the school holidays. No office chair is as comfortable as my sofa, and I never miss the postman. This is definitely more like it,

Except, its now the summer holidays and I have Joe swinging a ball around my head and demanding food while I try to work. I can’t find anything – someone has moved my notes once again, and when I do find them I can see something suspiciously like chocolate biscuit stuck to them.

The hubby, who goes out to work, leaves a long list of things to be done during the day, from washing up to going to the supermarket, all during work hours, so it looks like it will be a late one once again, and don’t even get me started about getting distracted by the television, I’m literally shouting at ‘The Wright Stuff’ as I become enthralled in yet another debate about Donald Trump.

Wherever you choose to work, in an office block or a home office, it seems like there will always be something to love, something to hate. But I think now is most definitely the time for a cuppa, so I’m going to put this laptop down and stick the kettle on.

Working from Home – it’s good and it’s bad points.

Most people would find the idea of working from home a complete dream. It gives you flexibility when it comes to the working day, there’s no stressful commute, sitting stuck for what seems like hours trying to make your way into the city, and, if you so want it, every day can be a pj day – no-one is actually going to see what you are working in. With a recent post on the GoToMeeting blog claiming that ‘remote workers’ can be up to 13% more productive than their office based counterparts, it seems that it is no longer frowned upon to fit your work around your family – to be that little more flexible. (You can read more of their findings here.)

Woman On Laptop Running Business From Home Office

And yet, there are things to consider before you become a remote worker. As someone who does this every day I can tell you it can be a lonely life. You have no co-workers to bounce ideas off, no one to have a moan at about a particularly galling email or an issue with your computer. Colleagues provide companionship, support and enable you to feel part of a team, something that you can miss if you leave the office environment and start lone working from home.

Another issue can be focus. It is all too easy to get sidetracked by things that need doing in the home, or by something interesting on the television. Staying focused on the task ahead is very important, GoToMeeting suggests having a home office, or at least a working space, to counteract this, and I think this is a great idea – you need to take the work as seriously as you would in a traditional work environment.

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I find it more difficult to stop for lunch breaks when I work from home. This seems strange, as the fridge and kettle are never that far away, I just find it more difficult to stop. Lunch and toilet breaks are as important, so leave the computer and stop for that sandwich. I find a break for 40 minutes or so is important, so I now cast the work to one side and watch Doctors – a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.

So, you really need to make sure that home, or remote working isn’t an experience that can be bad for your health and mind. But the flexibility it can offer (I work around the school run for instance), the comfort of knowing that things like adverse weather or school holidays will not stop your working day, ensures that this is an option that will prove to be crucial for so many working parents.

4th Office – Making flexible working a reality

An interesting post on the Freelancers Union website today talks about why so many women are choosing to work freelance. Sara Horowitz states that:-

“…Even more than our male counterparts, our lives play out in stages that don’t fit well with a corporate world dominated by men. By our 30s, many women are starting families and struggling with taking time away from the office. By our forties, we’re often hitting the glass ceiling in terms of pay and promotions. By our fifties and sixties, unfortunately, we’re often being ignored altogether…” (Read full piece here.)

This was certainly true for me. Starting a family in my thirties, combined with health issues that developed after Joe’s birth meant that I no longer wished to be constrained by a teaching role that saw me in school at 8am, leaving and 6pm, and then taking 3/4 hours of work home with me. Freelance work and blogging was a way to maintain a work/life balance that suited me as an independent woman, and as a mother. But working from a home office which more often than not is my dining room or sofa has it’s own issues, which is why I am excited to now be using 4th Office.

Home Office – fantasy and reality

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4th Office is your new online home office that can be accessed anywhere and keeps you organised, with all your most important files, emails, tasks and contacts stored in one easily accessible place. It is very easy to set up an account, taking just a minute, and it is free for start-ups, mumpreneurs, freelancers and those working from home. (There are premium accounts available for bigger businesses that are chargeable, these help to fund the free accounts).

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Your 4th Office account can be used at anytime, in anyplace and by anyone who you add to your account. It is the perfect way to get yourself organised – you can store your most important emails, spreadsheets, planning work and files on the system, and can then share them with anyone as required. You can set up reminders of important dates, deadlines and tasks that are instantly visible on your desktop – meaning no more need for post-it notes that just disappear. You can update your work online, and still keep previous versions to hand. What I really love is that you get a newsfeed so you no longer have to search through a chain of emails to keep a conversation going, or to refer back to something – it’s all there for you.

You can use it on the go from your iphone too.

You can use it on the go from your iphone too.

4th Office say:-

” We’re on a mission o build better ways of working – helping start-ups make the dream of flexible working a reality.”

I really think they are onto something with this, and with the free service and unlimited cloud storage space, I can see no reason for freelancers, those working from home, and new start-ups to give this a go.

To do an online our of 4th Office, click here.