Are you alone?
Had a thought today about working from home and dealing with feeling alienated. When you work from home do you find yourself missing the office banter or do you find yourself relishing in the quiet? I think I've found myself feeling both ways. There are days when I wish I had a coworker to complain to or just chat with, and other days where I have tight deadlines and thank my lucky stars that I have quiet. When coaching other wanna be freelancers I try to give them a realistic look at what working from home is. They usually start off viewing it as a fun thing, getting to sit around in their PJ's while hanging out. The truth is if you do that all the time, you probably won't get much work done. It's all about finding your balance and whatever comfort level you need to get the most work done in the shortest time. If you are someone who hates being alone, you may want to rethink working from home. There are other options such as office sharing or common work spaces that rent you a desk for by the hour.
While I do miss the coworker shop talk, I don't think I miss the office politics and eavesdropping in on TMI conversations. I just find it hard to get work done with so many distractions. These days my distractions consists of my 3 year old who hangs out with me a lot during the day. I find myself doing my most deep thinking work while she is asleep and leave the easier no-brainer work for when she is around. I also have different child care solutions setup for different days of the week so that I can maximize my time and simply get things done. I can speak from experience that it is hard to work from home with a toddler. I think it's all about being creative, remembering that you are a parent and a not a workhorse, and also finding the zen you need to produce.
If you are feeling alone when working from home, Skype Skype Skype! If you need to discuss something with a client or coworker, Skype with them if possible. You can get more accomplished in five minutes of talking than a day of back and forth emails with hours between correspondence, and seeing a person while talking with them will help alleviate your feelings of being alone.
So what about you, do you work from home or want to work from home? What are/were some of your expectations of working from home that may have changed?