Working Remotely or Not Remotely Working?

After I left my job (which I wrote about in this article) I spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of work I wanted - or was able - to do.

Not ready to stop working entirely

This led to a lot of soul-searching. Would I be able to work full time? Would I even want to? I wasn’t quite ready to stop working entirely but surely there ought to be a better way.

I had previously done a bit of freelance work, mostly from home. And technological advances make working remotely a more regular option, right?

In an office five days a week

You might think so. But in my experience, the majority of companies still see being in an office for five days a week as the only way to be sure that your workforce is actually... er, working.

I was lucky enough to be able to stick to my guns. And over time I have been offered a few short term contracts, all of which include some level of home working.

I even did a little work for my old employer on a freelance basis, as well as taking part in some paid research for a pharmaceutical company. I guess there have to be some advantages to having a wonky Central Nervous System.

Counting my blessings

I am lucky. I have an incredibly supportive family. We are resilient enough to be able to navigate the U.K. welfare system and countless social security organizations.

However, it is a financially precarious existence, going from one short term contract to another. But in the U.K. at least, the idea of a “job for life” doesn’t really exist anymore. And the so-called gig economy is becoming the norm.

I was talking to someone about all this recently and she said that her teenage kids weren’t thinking about only ever having one job. They were planning to do this for so long, this for a while, then maybe a bit of this...

Job security versus flexibility

What you lose in job security you make up for in flexibility. And not to be defeatist, but the very thought of leaving the house to work for seven-and-a-half hours every day is just exhausting. A more flexible mode of employment could really suit people with chronic health conditions who want to stay in work.

And speaking personally, at least this way I keep my brain going, get a bit of money in, while avoiding burn out.

How is work working out for others?

If you're still working I'm interested to know, do you work from home for part of the week? Do your colleagues see it as a perk? Are you trusted to be professional? Or are you viewed with suspicion?

That was certainly the case in my last job. When I negotiated having a day each week to work from home in order to help with fatigue I had to email my boss at the end of the day, with a list of what I'd done.

Over to you!

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