Escaping the distractions of working from home
by judyheminsley

In recent years, there’s been an explosion of coworking spaces, coffee shops and libraries offering free wifi, as well casual coworking ‘Jelly’ events.

The bemused home working onlooker might well be asking why all this is necessary, when they already have a perfectly good place to work at home that costs nothing.

The fact is that while living and working in the same place has many advantages, such as allowing more time with family and the ability to juggle work and home commitments, it’s also a double-edged sword.

In a survey I carried out on my website recently, distraction came out as one of the major challenges for people working from home.

The top three distractions they identified were as follows:

  1. Family members you never saw when you were at the office all day may not be quite as aware as you of the concept of working from home – the fact you are around means they want to talk to you or expect you to do the lion’s share of the jobs. As one of my Twitter followers told me – ‘My wife came home and asked why the house was a mess when I’d been at home all day’.
  2. Neighbours were mentioned surprisingly often in the survey as a source of distraction. They know you’re at home so they pop round for a chat or to ask for a favour. And suddenly you find yourself becoming the neighbourhood sorting office for parcels delivered during the day.
  3. Housework. There’s nothing more depressing than facing a dirty, cluttered house every time you leave your workspace, but too much time spent on the house means lost working hours. To work from home successfully you have to find your own level of acceptable cleanliness and tidiness.

Many home workers find that leaving behind the actual and potential distractions of working in their home allows them to focus in a different way.

Most people are amazed by their productivity in third spaces or at Jelly events, even allowing for chats with fellow attendees, and a friend says her productivity ‘has shot up’ since she signed up with a coworking space.

To paraphrase a well-known quotation, home workers have never had it so good! We can mix and match the benefits of working at home and in other places in combinations to suit ourselves and our lifestyles, and so neatly avoid many of the challenges of home working.

Judy Heminsley (@judyheminsley) is a homeworking expert and believer in mobile & flexible working, coworking, coffee & cake.

Photo credit: joybot

Do you work from home? What are some of the distractions you face? And how do you deal with them?

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