Whenever the topic of my employment comes up, everyone's first reaction when I tell them I work from home is: "Wow, that must be really nice!" While working from home definitely has some benefits, it has some cons.
As Cameron Childress mentions in his post on Coworking in Atlanta, the two hardest things to adjust to are the lack of socialization and self motivation—both are issues Cameron and I have talked amongst ourselves about in the past.
One of the very first things I found I needed to solve when working from home was the motivation problem. I found the best way to resolve this issue was to treat going into my home office the same basic way I would treat going in to a workplace office. I found the following tips really help me to get in the mindframe of being at work:
These tips have really helped me try to stay focused on a day-to-day basis. That doesn't mean I don't flex the rules on occasion, but I try hard to stick to a routine. I've just found it makes getting in to "work mode" much easier each day—because it feels like I'm at a workplace.
The lack of socialization is the thing I really miss and haven't come up with a good solution to the problem. There can be times when I basically don't leave the house for days—which I really don't like. I've always been a very social person, so the lack of daily interaction with people is really problematic to me. I also really miss the ability of going in to a co-workers office and banging ideas of each other, which I think is an extremely useful exercise.
In the past I've even looked in to starting my own coworking business. I did some research about leasing some office space, but there didn't seem to be enough interest to make it worthwhile. I thought it would be nice to have a shared office space with shared dev servers, printers, high speed access, conference rooms, etc, but I couldn't seem to find enough telecommuters in the Columbus, OH area to make it worth actually going through the hassle. It would have just been too expensive of an investment without having any potential clients who wanted to share office space.
Ironically just this past spring at a conference I talked to an acquaintance who also had the same idea, so hopefully the coworking idea will pick up some steam here in Central Ohio.
I will on occasion go work from a coffee shop, but I find it's often too distracting to get any really good work done. It's a good way to catch up on my blog reading, but I have trouble writing productive code.
Anyway, hopefully my tips on working from home may help others when it comes to self motivation. If anyone has any tips on the socialization aspects of working from home, please chime in with comments!