Working from home may seem like the dream – no boss breathing down your neck, comfy PJ and matching slipper attire and the constant numbing sound of Friends in the background as you tick through your ever-growing to-do-list without the impending dread of the commute looming over you. But it can also be one of the most isolating experiences.
When you suddenly remove all the day to day interactions that come from working with a team or in an office and you’re left with just yourself, things start to change. Over time this lack of face-to-face communication can create a disastrous tear in your confidence. Or so it is for me.
I thought that when I removed the daily commute and the stress of London travelling (which was completely mentally, physically and financially exhausting) my overall wellbeing would be improved. But I was completely wrong.
Yes, certain aspects did improve such as my personal and professional organisation, my confidence in talking on the phone (something I hated prior) and my ability to work alone productively and successfully, but I also experienced this crippling sense of cabin fever, a major loss of confidence and this overwhelming anxiety in how to interact in social situations. By removing these sub-conscious interactions such as just a smile on the street to a stranger, the daily good morning to the ticket conductor or even just a casual conversation as I was purchasing my lunch I removed all aspects of how to daily converse with someone other than my phone, leaving my confidence a little worse for wear.
And it isn’t t just the lack of conversation that is the only damaging thing I’m experiencing. Something as simple as not having to ‘dress up’ and look ‘respectable’, is now doing more harm than good. Hair is constantly thrown messily in a bun, make-up never touches my face and I live in yoga pants and baggy jumpers, which, to most, sounds like either the dream or the everyday means, but to me, it has become this disguise of not recognising myself or the need to put effort into my personal life. My whole view on life has become entirely consumed and clouded with my work.
Working from home, started out as a way of being in control of my day to day situations. An ability to be able to work when I’m sick or too stressed to leave the house. A way of being able to fit in all my daily tasks instead of spending my mornings and afternoons cramped inside a metal container smushed up against the rest of the city’s workers. A chance to take back the day and focus on my blog and personal life away from the emails and looming deadlines of the work accounts but what I experienced and still am is the complete opposite, and I’m not the only one.
A quick twitter poll showed that 80% of you found working from home to cause these segregating feelings between you and the rest of the world. With Productivity vs Socialism being called into question, each situation coming into play with their own ups and down. But quite frankly, if you ask me, both are nothing without the other – a balance is needed in order to live your best ‘working’ life. Employers offering 4 day weeks and flexible working hours have noted a spike in productivity and increased happiness amongst their staff over those doing one extreme to the other. So perhaps we have it all figured out, right? But what can you do, when no office is available?
With more of the world adopting the freelancer gig a set working abode just isn’t viable, and with the recent surge in coffee prices and weak WiFi a local Starbucks membership just doesn’t quite cut the mustard anymore.
Turning to the last resort, only available gal pal and my recently turned BFF, Google, the site hits range from everything from introducing more Skype over Voice calls, getting out the house and discussing the weather and best toilet roll quality with your neighbour and attending networking and training seminars all the way through to joining social media or dating-app style groups for home-workers in the same state of affairs or taking on a second job working once a week in a bar or cafe – anything to force some actual conversation into your mouth.
But what do you, my humble readers think – is working from home the cause of my sudden lack of confidence or am I just being over dramatic? Can working from home be more disastrous than good? And what is the way forward in combating and controlling freelancers mental stability without a fixed desk and missing coffee cup? Drop me a tweet, email or carrier pigeon, I’m intrigued by the answers on this modern day conundrum.