Personal Wealth versus Mental Health: working from home

Working PJs1 Personal Wealth versus Mental Health: working from home

We all go a little mad when we’re locked away for hours on end. You just have to ask my imaginary friend, who for legal reasons will remain nameless. But on the subject of making a living from home and the social choices we make, is there a cost of sheer loneliness? (Sad face).

Studies show that since 2010 there are around 15% of us working from home in the UK, most of who are self-employed. This is an increase from 2001 of over 20% and shows signs that more and more of us are making a living from the relative comfort of home; relative because not all home life is a happy life. Of course some may have to work from home in order to look after a loved one, too.

The question is; what is better? Choosing your hours at home or having the security of a fixed routine and team at a place of work? Both prove to have their good points:

 

Positives Working from Home

Positives Going to Work

Choose your own hours (can be awkward). Keep to a routine set out before you (you leave the house most days)
Be there for family and neighbours. Keep away from demands of family and neighbours.
Live a healthy life by cooking proper food (and much cheaper). Get to visit your favourite places to eat and socialise at lunchtimes.
Having your own space and choice of atmosphere (les ambience). Less time to procrastinate and worry.
Guaranteed flexibility. Guaranteed income.
Plan your housework/tidy at your own pace. Good chance the children or partner does the housework.
Don’t have to listen to idiots. Get to enjoy your day with others.
Choose your own hours (can be awkward). Keep to a routine set out before you (you leave the house most days)

 

The point at which the debate comes to a cul-de-sac is when we factor in personal preference. I’m sure some of you may well work from home yourselves, and your opinions and insight could well differ from Joe Bloggs’ over the road who does the same. Also, one of you is the more lonely (Sad face).

There are people across all ages now in self employment and building their own businesses and portfolios from home. You could argue that true work experience can only be gained by being out and about with other like minded and talented people.

Yet we know from our own accounts of the workforce that sometimes our bosses and colleagues drag us down. I guess it depends on how lucky you are with the people that surround you through your working hours. It can feel like they inspire you or it can feel like they hinder you.

Depending on personality and experience there is the higher probability of becoming depressed when shackled alone at home. On the other hand, there are highly stressful scenarios that occur when travelling to and from an office, or alike. Traffic jams, for example, are something you’re going to experience fewer times as a home-worker.

Everything is pretty low-risk when remaining indoors, except for the grueling risk of failing to make ends meet. In parallel, whilst you’re less likely to be in a horrible accident or get mugged you’re also less likely to experience the thrills and joys that make urban life so appealing. By staying at home you can become ‘out of the loop’.

What I have found is the temptation to do almost nothing is too great some days. Staring at a blank screen for half an afternoon leads me to sink into a panicky state of disarray. Other notions of my experience are with sadness and frustration; I prefer to stay in generally but not having a workplace to go to means I don’t meet new people and don’t get to express myself as much.

What would you choose, or what have you chosen? Do you enjoy how you make a living or wish you can make the drastic switch to either be less or more sociable? And what does working from home mean to you in terms of ideals?

photo credit: Zepfanman.com via photopin cc

15 thoughts on “Personal Wealth versus Mental Health: working from home”

  1. Working from home and self-employment are not the same thing. I am employed, but I work from home (mostly). Family and neighbours know that I work from home and they don’t expect me to ‘be there’ any more than I was when I was office-based… at it is well known that many home-workers work much longer hours and are much LESS available to family and friends despite being in the same building. I even have my postman and delivery people trained not to knock on my office window if I don’t come to the door – they know I’m working.

    If I’m going into the office I eat healthily and save money by taking my lunch (I can still be sociable, if I have the time for a break). I cope with the commute by making all the phone calls I’ve been meaning to catch up on or enjoy reading a book/listening to music. But if I want to be sociable at lunchtime or after work I make arrangements to meet friends or neighbours. If you want to meet new people, join a gym/club/evening class – you don’t just have to meet people through work. If you need structure to your working day then go for a walk/run/gym class after getting up and before starting work – you can do the same at lunchtime and again at the end of your working day (I so need to get back to having an end to my working day…)

    As for writer’s block it is NEVER solved by staring at a blank screen. So if that’s what you’re doing, go and do something else. Visit a friend, go for a walk, or a run (I find this clears my brain as I can’t run and think at the same time), or a swim, or to a museum.

    If you don’t want to be employed, but can’t work from home, work from a cafe (my SIL does this) or from the library. Or from somewhere different every day. But don’t start thinking that you’re trapped or the writer’s block will get worse.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Victoria. Most if not all people who are self employed do work from home. I guess it’s a chicken and egg debate.
      Going for a walk is always good to get some ideas and creativity in motion, but the point is for some of us socializing is not as straightforward. I fail to see how anyone can want to be surrounded by people, but some jobs require just that.

    2. Definitely difference from working at home (employed by another) or self employment. Working from home there is still lots of interaction with team members or those involved in a project. With self employment there is really just you 99% of the time.

      When I was employed in corporate America I would take daily walks to clear my head. Now, I’m self employed I still take daily walks to clear my head.

  2. I think at this point, I’d love to work from home (though you don’t make it sound very appealing!). I do like the social aspect of working in an office, but the times that I have worked from home I have been happy to do so. I have a social life outside of work so I wouldn’t get lonely.

    1. Yes some sort of social life is a must for those working from home, otherwise you’ll go bonkers! Or in my case; a little more crazy :)

  3. I am employed, but classed as home based, so a view similar to Victoria. Prior to this I was self employed as a Consultant, so again, home based, but went into other peoples work places. Frequently friends say “I’d never be able to work from home ” but you just need to treat it like a workplace. Yes, I can do housework and potter round the kitchen while on a conference call, but I don’t switch the tv on, or other distractions. I can still meet friends for lunch, but I’m not available all day to help with babysitting for example.
    My actual office is 200 miles away, so I don’t get there too often, but I do go to customer offices, which is the best of both worlds; you get to be with other people and have that social interaction, but can then walk away.

  4. ‘Distractions’ is the key word here. I personally am alert and sensitive to everything going around me so keeping focus can be difficult sometimes. Noisy neighbours don’t help either, but then to most people getting home from work or childcare responsibilities is the time to let the hair down and relax.
    I like the idea of working from other people’s homes, though. Sounds great to make friends as you go about your business without the stresses of having to be stuck in and office building.

  5. I like being my own boss, working on my own time, being able to go to the kitchen and make a sandwich if I so choose, and being able to listen to a podcast while working. Nothing else compares.

    By a “typical” job, all you are doing is making other people money. That’s why they hire you. If you’re earning more money than you make for them, there’s no reason for them to want you there in the first place.

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