This is something I’ve written about in the past but it’s a good topic and it’s raised its head again, this time via Melbourne’s Newspaper The Age.
Working at home alone isn’t for everyone. It’s not just the ‘running a business’ and keeping track of your finances, but more the day-to-day aloneness inside the four walls of your home, without others to keep you company during the day.
We all tackle it in different ways – well, not all. Some return to work simply because they crave the daily face-to-face contact with others, even if they don’t enjoy being back in the workforce.
What about those who do succeed in staying home long-term? How do they manage it?
Perhaps it takes a specific type of person to start with. Someone who enjoys being alone. I, for one, do not miss the office politics and games that took place when I left the corporate world over 17 years ago. I did return to a short stint (3 months) to a corporate office when my business was having challenges but that was enough to cure me and to make sure I was back in my own office fairly quickly.
But for all that, I am not home alone day in, day out because there are things I do to ensure I get some balance.
I go to the post office every single day to check my mailbox. This stemmed from taking the kids to school in the early days – it became a habit. When I return I’m returning to my ‘office’ and not my home. Made for a good change in mindset for me. And it gives me opportunity to see other people at the start of my day; often helps to set the mood for the day.
I attend business networking events on a regular basis. I used to go to a couple a week – with various groups, but these days it’s mainly my weekly BNI meeting and then occasional local council business network events. I get to meet different people, share ideas and learn that other business owners experience similar challenges to me.
I have a hobby – regular readers here will know it’s photography. In the past I’ve attended a gym, gone for walks, written books, read books, done the gardening. Anything that will get me out of my mindset of ‘business’ and doing other things, and partly sharing time with other people. And my cats keep me company, as does the radio which is on all day long, listening to my favourite station. And the VA forums I belong to are also a great way to mix and mingle with others on a daily basis.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to not be working without breaks, without contact with other people, to help keep you going strongly in your home office. Read the article mentioned at the beginning of this post for more thoughts on this topic.