Interview: NearDesk – Is Working At Home All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

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The opportunity to work at home can be attractive; no commute, an extra hour’s sleep and a better work/life balance. Sounds perfect but is it really that great?

Let’s start with the basics, your own motivation. Are you really self disciplined enough to work productively on your own and surrounded by distractions? The absence of having others around you may be enough to start you daydreaming. Then there’s the added distractions of home life, such as the contents of the fridge, the housework, and online shopping, to name just a few. The distractions don’t stop there and are easily compounded by noisy neighbours, family interruptions and the inevitable knock on the front door.

So if you think you have what it takes mentally then what about the physical? Ideally you’ll need a quiet space like a study or spare room, a desk and ergonomic chair to maintain good posture, good lighting and also access to natural light. Laying on the sofa or perched at the dining table all day will soon send you to the osteopath with a bad back.

Now that you’re sitting comfortably, have you got technical capabilities, like fast, reliable internet, a printer, a scanner and what happens if your broadband connections can’t cope with video calls or your IT starts to play up?

There are operational considerations too. Additional heating, lighting and even coffee costs, household insurance policies should be reviewed and perhaps upgraded and the mortgage company or landlord should be informed and covenants checked for restrictions on home working. Be mindful too that business rates could apply for a space that has sole use as an office, even a spare room.

For freelancers and contractors that just about covers it, but as an employee your employer still has a duty of care and it’s their responsibility to check the suitability of your workspace and even arrange home visits for health and safety assessments, electrical equipment testing and one to one meetings.

So working at home isn’t quite as simple as getting up later!

Using a nearby NearDesk location instead gives a clear separation between home and work, free of home distractions, provides the right working environment alongside like minded people who can help when you need some inspiration or just need help with your IT, and for a small hourly charge avoids all the on-costs of working at home.

Now that sounds perfect…

About the author

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Gavin O'Toole is Consultant, Head of Research at Onyx and a journalist, author and copywriter with a specialism in finance and business.