The biggest disadvantage is.. working from home! I teach interpersonal communication skills, and anyone who has telecommuted for a prolonged period of time will agree that the lack of social interaction can actually become depressing. While I don’t miss working in a cubicle I do miss the social office environment.
A few days ago I was posting on some technology message board when I stumbled upon a post from a guy who said he was so lonely working from his home office. He said that although he makes really good money, he spends on average 9 hours a day in a little room, with nobody to talk to, and the loneliness was really getting to him. Freelance programming and website development is his actual profession.
That post started quite a long discussion where many people chimed in about how they too were making great money by telecommuting, but were also suffering from the same loneliness, induced by a total lack of social interaction.
Prior to me working from a home office my whole engineering career involved a considerable amount of travel and field work, where I got used to working out of Starbucks coffee shops. Personally, if I stay inside working all day I go stir crazy.
On a side note… similar to opening 3 warm up sets (groups of people) to get in the zone when in a club environment, the baristas (usually cute girls) are my warm up set during the day. Not just a warm up set, but part of putting me on the right track for being the social, fun, and playful guy that people love to meet when out and about during the day.
So my advice to anyone who works from home is to use a laptop, and work from the wifi connection in coffee shops. Many of them have free wifi for customers, and Starbucks now provides 2 hours free wifi when you buy a prepaid card. Prior to this you would have to spend $20-$30 per month on Tmobile or AT&T wifi access.
OK, so I hope that there’s already some sanity saving advice here, but the real tip of the day relates to the fact that the music at most Starbucks is ANNOYING at best! I’ve had to leave on many occasion, because the combination of their music selection and volume levels can be like mind torture, especially when you’re trying to focus on work.
Sanity Saving Tip: Use a pair of noise isolating headphones, and work from your own blissful bubble of sound. My favourite brand is Shure, as I mentioned in the “Losing my connection..” article. Shure just make a great product that improves my quality of life.. highly recommended.
Do you want to meet women during the day? Yes, then realize there’s quite a bit you can do to improve your chances if coffee shops happen to be your hunting ground.. and making them your virtual office does have some advantages from that respect. Last week I was working at the same table that I’m writing from at this very moment. It was crowded in here, and my table had the only available seats. A couple asked if they could share the table with me, of course I said yes. It turned out that they were just friends, and I ended up leaving with the girl’s number and some tentative plans for reconnecting. No hunting involved on that occasion.. honest 😉