I’ll hold my hand up and admit openly, 5 years ago, I was horrified by the prospect of working from home. It just seemed so alien to someone who’d commuted daily in a car, or on a bike, to a place of work – schools for 27 years; a real life sentence as a teacher.
When I decided in November 2015 that my time as a teacher was up – exhausted and stressed from almost three decades – and that I’d become a freelance writer, I recoiled at the prospect.
I’d liked picking tapes (Google it if you’re under 30) or CDs for the car journey; I enjoyed the diurnal rituals of getting up, eating, showering and dressing for the classroom.
Fast forward five years though and to me I’d now recoil if someone said to me “Stuart, get up, get dressed and drive to a workplace.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no shrinking violet socially, but I think Covid 19 in 2020 has swelled the ranks of people working from home.
I remember when I began this journey, 4.7 million UK residents were self employed freelancers, working from home. I’d love to know that figure now.
I have seen and contributed to various polls on LinkedIn asking about whether people prefer WFH or Working at a Workplace and, a bit like Brexit, the opinions seemed to be as polarised.
I know that so many industries rely on workers being at work – from cafés to taxi drivers, from florists to office supply companies. It’s no coincidence that companies like Pret, Costa and Starbucks have seen huge falls in revenues as town and city centres are left quiet during lockdown and since.
Seriously, I do feel sorry for any business affected by the pandemic – but I don’t really think there’s any way back.
When Sharon White of John Lewis speaks of closing its Oxford Street store, you know that digital transformation is underway big time.
So what tips would I give to anyone considering binning the commute?
- Be prepared and allow for time to mentally (and physically) adjust to Working From Home. I remember a tangible sense of isolation for the first few months – but now I love it.
- Expect to work more. Because you’re not worn down by the commute (and office politics) you’ll find you have more energy. The danger is that you’ll work too hard – trust me!
- Separate space – if you have the space, create a home office. I’ve gone full Lawrence Bowen on mine with branded decor, podcast microphone with more tech than an Apple Store. I have a sofa, large desk, iMac, printer and a Kab chair. Invest in a good chair first as you’ll be in it for long periods.
- Increase broadband strength. Replace that old router with a mesh system, like Google Wifi and get the fibre company to give you their fastest service. Trust me, you’ll need it.
- Invest in a website for yourself. This was my first move to set up Get Pro Copy and that investment back then of £500 was the best money I’ve ever spent. It’s repaid me handsomely each year.
Finally, if you would like to join this group with a dedicated page and professional email address, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can make your business grow – all from the comfort of home!