At the start of the year Tim and I were advised that the office space that we utilised was no longer going to be available. It wasn’t a complete surprise, and in one sense it seemed like perfect timing, as we were actually moving house the following week. However, one of the main reasons we were moving was for more space, and now, if we brought the office home, that space would be well and truly utilised!
I was disappointed that the extra space I was seeking would now be used to house our desks, our computers, and ourselves during work times. However, there didn’t seem to be another option that was feasible. Plus, Tim was quite excited about spending his office time at home, which I didn’t fully understand.
Working From Home With A 1 Year Old!
In the back of my mind I thought, “Tim will see what it’s like to try and work at home with a 1 year old!” and wondered how long it would last. However, we had given a month’s notice so I didn’t need to worry too much about it. We just needed to get the spare room converted into the office and make the best of it. I had been enjoying leaving the house and ‘going to work’. I absolutely love being at home with Harper, and doing work whilst she is asleep (just as I am doing now!). However, having an external office also meant I would get excited about going to work! Yes, I would get excited about having uninterrupted hours of work time, a quiet space to work and the ability to pop into the cafe next door for a coffee or a sandwich. Now this was going to be taken away from me!
As the weeks progressed before we moved the office home, I observed how we were working, and I began to realise that perhaps the move wouldn’t be entirely a bad thing. Tim and I were juggling taking care of Harper, managing who would take on which client work, as well as wasting a lot of time ‘waiting’ at the office when we could have easily been working at home. However, the time to travel between the two (even though they are only 10 minutes apart) meant that, Tim in particular, felt he was spending a lot more time in the office, being unproductive, when he could have been at home, spending time with Harper, even if it was only 15 minutes before a tradespersons called to meet him at a job.
I started realising that from a work life balance perspective, this could actually be the best thing to happen to us. I started getting excited again. I started getting excited to know that Tim was going to be around more. Both Harper and I would see him more, plus it would be a lot easier for us to be flexible in who was doing what, if it simply meant walking from the kitchen to the office to discuss who would mind Harper and who would dash out the door to rescue a client who had lost her keys.
So, what has it been like in reality?
To be honest it has worked really well so far. There have been a lot of positives such as:
- Tim and I being able to discuss and share client information with each other much more easily.
- We’ve saved money on coffee and buying lunches because we only have to go to the kitchen and look in the fridge or make each other a coffee from the coffee machine (almost as good as Cibo!).
- We are much more flexible in the hours each other works. Previously we had set times that one worked and one looked after Harper. Although we still work with these, if I am busy and Tim is less busy we can swap shifts as and when we need. The juggle is much more manageable.
- Tim is seeing Harper a lot more than he was, and we can simply call down the hallway “come and look at this!” when Harper gets herself stuck in her toy basket or does her first dancing twirl!
There are a few negatives, that we will have to manage, but it is worth it:
- Trying to stop Harper going into the office while we are on the phone or wanting to concentrate.
- Managing the chat vs work factor when my Mum looks after Harper on a Wednesday – a challenge at times!
- Ensuring we are both clear with who is currently working and who is currently watching Harper.
As a couple working in the business together, many may feel that working together AND working from home isn’t such a good idea. However, the work life balance positives that have come out of it have been well worth it. After all, work life balance was the reason (a) why I started Lifestyle Elements in the first place and (b) why Tim decided to come into the business when Harper was born. It is about managing the challenges to make the most of all the benefits we are experiencing.
I realise working from home isn’t for everyone. However, at the moment, with a young child and a growing business, moving our office home has been a blessing in disguise!
Have you ever or do you currently work from home?
Has it increased or decreased your feeling of work life balance?
Do you have any times for people working from home?