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Working From Home - Could You Cope?

It is a well-known fact that more and more people are choosing to work from home rather than face the daily agony that is otherwise known as commuting. There are many companies that are even encouraging this practise amongst their permanent staff as a viable alternative to travelling to work.

In most cities, workers will have to commute to and from the office, which depending on where they live could mean adding an extra one or two hours to their average day. At its very best commuting can be a tiresome and stressful activity made up of countless public transport delays, shoulder-to-shoulder contact with complete strangers and to a large extent, mind-numbing routine.

This sort of start cannot possibly be conducive to a productive working day and at long last there are a lot of companies beginning to realise this. However, it is worth mentioning those at the opposite end of the scale that actually thrive on running the commuter gauntlet morning and night and would never consider doing anything else, though I think they must be very much in the minority.

For many people, working from home has long been seen as the sole domain of freelancers, who many think get out of bed when they want to, start work and stop work when they want to and generally come and go as they please, which on occasion may be true, but more often than not it's exactly the opposite as one vital requirement of working from home is self-discipline; without it you may as well go back to commuting.

There are multiple distractions in the home that all too easily lure the unwary away from their work. There is no manager looking over your shoulder, nobody to tell you how long to have for lunch; you can wander away from your desk at any time you like. There might be a television programme you want to watch, the grass may need cutting, a visitor arrives or the dog needs walking. You can do all this if you want to and it sounds good doesn't it? - until at the end of the working day you suddenly realise that you haven't actually done much work at all whilst leaving a backlog to catch up on the following day.

However, once you are over the distraction stage it can be very rewarding to work in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of the home. You may find that you like the solitude in which to conduct your work, or welcome the fact that there isn't a colleague constantly taking up your time for one reason or another; you could discover that you can think more clearly without having photocopiers, fax machines and telephone noises constantly assaulting your eardrums. One of the foremost pleasures would be not having to travel to work, affording you the luxury of an extra hour or two in the day to do with as you please.

There is one piece of advice I would give to anybody who is thinking about working from home, and it is this: When you get up in the morning don't attempt to start work wearing your dressing gown. Get properly dressed as you would if you were travelling to work. This is more psychological than anything as it puts you in the right frame of mind for the day ahead - even if you are only working from the living room. If you slob around in a vest and shorts or your pyjamas you will not work to the best of your ability.

Working from home merits serious thought before you decide to take the plunge because it will not be to everyone's taste; ironically, some people who tried it found that they preferred the daily battle of commuting to the comparative peace and quiet of their homes, and subsequently returned to working at the office. To anyone working from home for the first time it will possibly be a bit of a culture shock but at the same time exciting, and once you adapt to the different rules, learn to manage your time effectively you will gradually begin to enjoy it.

John Sheridan is a professional proofreader of hard copy items and website copy. He also writes web copy and occasionally accepts small copy-editing assignments. He can be contacted at: website:

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