Welcome to Workathomechoice.com! This site will provide advice for those who are either looking to start working from home, or those who want to start their own business from home.
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Find out a bit more about me, Chris, the author of this site and my own journey to start working from home on a more permanent basis and start my own business working from home.
The Working From Home Choice - How can I work from home?
In 2019 the concept of working from home just one or two days a week was one that tech industry professionals and a few other (mainly hipster!) industries were gradually migrating to as it offered more flexibility in their work/life balance.
In early 2020 it became apparent that suddenly people from all backgrounds were forced into a position where they had to (if they could) work from home. This was a big shock to the system for most companies in the UK.
The gradual normalisation of working from Home
Since March 2020 working from home become normalised with a lot of office workers being forced to stay at home due to the global pandemic. In the UK we have even seen MPs (Members of Parliament) working from home asking questions through video chat, something which I never thought I would ever see. The 2020 pandemic has forced us to adapt our ways and has changed the working world for the majority of this year and probably next year as well. The ramifications of this are fairly clear with some tech companies declaring that they will from now on be “Remote only” companies, meaning that they can employ anyone from around the world and that they will be downsizing their offices in city centres.
Is working from home the inevitable future of work now?
Not necessarily, but for some sectors it will become increasingly more normal. The answer to this question really depends on what industry you are working in. For tech companies it is an easier decision to make, but for retail companies shutting down a city centre store will make a lot of people redundant and there is no guarantee that by setting up an online store that customers will migrate to the online destination. So I think it is fair to say that this is the tipping point and businesses will start to invest more in online and having a website rather than maintaining a city centre shop presence. The reasons for this are that is simply very expensive to set up shop. You need to provide electricity, heating, water and staff for an office, whereas if you have a website you only have to consider minimal costs to start with and you can control the amount of investment that you put into the shop.
Certain companies such as ASOS, Boohoo and other fashion led companies have invested a lot into become an online only destinations with relative success.
Why do companies still need offices now?
It seems likely that most office based companies would now start to question the reasoning behind maintaining their larger offices in expensive city centre locations. Why maintain expensive offices when that money could be reinvested back into the business and encourage employees to work from home?
Change and evolution to “Office everywhere”
This has resulted in some big changes in office culture since the start of the year. Previously if your work place was similar to mine there was an office belief that working from home was equivalent to not doing any work. If someone had to work from home pre-covid, it was generally accepted that they wouldn’t be working as hard as if they were in the office. This belief has now largely been shattered as some companies (such as mine) have been forced to work from home for the past 9 or so months of 2020. Yes the office remains “open” but is anyone actually going to the office? No.
Develop your own Passive Income Streams
If you are one of the people who enjoys working from home and you are now wondering how you can do this yourself on a more permanent basis and not just while Covid 19 impacts us, then you have come to the right place. In this blog I will be covering the different passive income methods that have worked for me and how you can do the same thing by following the step by step guides.
How to escape the 9-5 day job
- Ask your current employer for more flexible working option that allows to strike a more manageable balance between work life and home life.
- Get a new remote job that allows you to work from home.
- Start your own business that allows you to work home on your terms, not someone else’s.
The rise of the video call and what this means for the future of the office
Over the last few years we have seen a large shift in what the office desk actually looks like. The office desk was a place of work that in modern times had a phone and a computer. These two tools enabled you to work at the office and you came into the office to have access to these tools. Could you work from home in this period, no.
The death of the desk phone
Desk phones which used to sit proudly on all office desks are now slowly being replaced by a set of headphones that you use with your computer to make calls on Microsoft Teams or Skype.
The death of the desktop computer
It used to be common to walk into an office and see both desk phones and desktop computers. As technology has now advanced companies in certain disciplines are starting to issue their employees with laptops. By their nature laptops are highly portable and the blur has started to happen between work life and home life. This has meant that some employees now have emails on their phones as well as on their laptops. They are always in “work mode” and ready to jump on that next email, whatever the time.
If we are now connected all the time to work new boundaries need to be set between work and home life otherwise employees are going to end up constantly in a state of fatigue. Our “always on” culture means that we are expected to be able to react to a social post, email, phone call at any possible time, in any possible location and this can be damaging to our mental health in the long term.
As we need devices to work in the office we will spend a minimum of 7 hours per day looking at screens to work on. For a typical working week that means that you will spend around 40 hours a week looking at a screen, just for work!
What is left on your desk once you have no desktop PC and no desk phone… Nothing.
Answer: Not a lot! …Enter hot desking! When companies realised that their employees now had a desk with not a lot on it, the concept of “Hot desking” was born. For those of you who are not aware of hot desking, it is the concept of being able to work anywhere in the office. (Or more sceptically viewed as not being guaranteed desk space in a certain location at your place of work every day).
So why are we going into the office now?
Assuming your company is able to issue you with a laptop and headphones for your Zoom calls, the reason for coming into the office has minimised from the hardware perspective.
Previously we would come into the office because that is where the computer was, that is where all work documents were stored and we needed those things in order to work. Fast forward to now and the situation for some companies is that they always carry their laptops with them at all times and can take a call from any location. So the need to physically be in the office now has now been eliminated from the hardware and tools perspective.
Social aspects of work culture
Last year “WebEx” and “Zoom” were phrases that were largely confined to the office, and now fastforward to 2020 and “Zoom” has now pretty much become a verb like Google became previously. What this means for working from home is that these methods of communication are now becoming more accepted as being normal. Yes, they are not as good as the real thing just yet and yes, there are occasional drops in sound and video quality, but on the whole video call technology is only going to get better and not worse, so it is very likely that this will become the “new normal” for simple office procedures such as interviews, client meetings and employee reviews if they are not able to be performed in the office.
Steps to take to start working from home
- Decide that you want to work from home - Why do you want to work from home?
- Make changes in your life to achieve that - What is it you need to change in your life to get there?
- Sidehustle - How are you going to make money - Can you test your theories as a side hustle?
- Be prepared to learn! - Every project involves a lot of learning, and becoming compeletly self sufficient and working for yourself does involve a lot of reading and learning.
- Set a timeline for your project - 12 months, 48 months. Whatever your timeline is you need to set some kind of realistic expectations as to what you think you can achieve in a certain amount of time. Even if your plan is not that realistic then at least you can use it as a learning exercise the next time that you make your next plan.
- Write out an action plan for your idea.
1. Decide why you want to work from home
Why is it that you want to work from home? For some people they find that they get a much better work life balance if they are working from home as they save at least 2 hours in the day from not commuting. This extra two hours provides you with time that you can reinvest into your job, get extra sleep, catchup on the washing or whatever you want.
The phrase “time is money” is one that is well known. Until the pandemic the commute into work was seen as something that everyone had to do and the podcasting phenomenom grew out of people’s need to be active and engaged during their commute.
3. Get a Sidehustle!
Side hustle is now an overused term but the principle of having a side hustle is still important. In order to escape your current 9-5 hell then you need to have something that will provide an alternative. Supporting yourself and your family is not something that can be
Do not leave your job until you have an alternative! The internet is our saviour here and luckily there are now lots of different ways that average people can make a living online without being rich or being expert in what they are doing. The reality is that anyone can now start an online business and if they take the right steps they could be making a lot of money the following year.
4. Be prepared to Learn
In order to break away from the 9-5 world then you have to learn a lot. There are a lot of things at work that are provided for you on a plate and that you don’t necessarily get when you are working from home. You will need to devour YouTube, online articles and anything related to your plan if you are going to succeed in your aim of working from home.
My experience of working from home
This blog will document my experience with working from home as an office worker, and the challenges that I have come across and what I have learnt in my process of working from home.
I work in IT (broadly speaking) and my company was fairly prepared for COVID in terms of the fact that most of my work was online based and we were issued with Laptops ahead of the pandemic. This doesn’t change the fact though that they were still very reluctant to allow us to work from home.
We were one of those companies that were trialling “Hot desking” - The idea of not having a permanent desk at your place of work. I am still an ‘office’ worker at the moment and I am lucky enough to be allowed to still work from home. It used to be that it was a novelty to work from home, in 2020 for some it would feel like a novelty to work from the office.
Cultural shifts that started from working from home
Fashion - No longer do we don our best clothes for the office and even if we do it’s because we have a video call with our boss, or a job interview.
Is a 9 - 5 Job still the best option for 2020 and beyond?
It depends. For some people the typical 9-5 where they come in and do the work and then go home provides security for them. Certainly in a time of a global pandemic, people are thinking about security and wondering whether they will still have their jobs next year. Not many people have the luxury of choosing when it comes to this question, but if you are lucky enough to be able to choose, then I think most people would probably not want to have most of their week taken away from them, when they could be using that time to actually live life a little more and do the things that they wanted to do.
I think the best way to work this out is to think of if you were very wealthy what would you be doing right now. If you would still be clocking into your work every day then this blog is probably not for you!
A lot of people are starting to consider whether their 9 - 5 job offers the best work life balance for them following the pandemic. With a couple of months at home of trialling an alternative way of working it has become fairly obvious that we still have to work at home and unsurprisingly the myth that people wouldn’t do any work at home has been officially busted. The genie is out of the bottle.
Pain points of working at home
For people who live alone, have young children or live in shared accommodation, working from home hasn’t been the easiest.
If you don’t go into the office what does it mean
There are lots of other impacts from not going into the office that you might not necessarily think of straight away, but are ones that will affect the economy particularly in cities where offices are based.
Younger renters moving away from urban working areas
People in their 20s who are starting their career and have moved to the city to get a job are making decisions to stop their rental contracts and move back in with their parents or outside of the city to save money. With out the need to commute into work on the transport network, there is less need now more than ever to live in a city hub.
Who wins here?
That lunchtime meal that you had or drinks with colleagues
Previously in the 9-5 some more sociable offices would have organised drinks and maybe go out for a meal if it was someone’s birthday within the office. This will not happen any more and the best anyone can hope for would be Zoom drinks at home with colleagues, not quite the same!
What tools do i need to work from home?
Building the perfect working from home setup
I have put together a list of some of the products that I use when working from home. These have been really useful for me and have enabled me to stop working on the sofa or at the kitchen table for example.
- A sturdy office chair that supports your back
- A decent computer keyboard
- A desk that fits your laptop computer
- A Monitor stand
- A Monitor (Two are screens are best, but depends on how much space you have).
- A High Performance Mouse
- A screen switcher (if you have multiple computers)
- A pair of high quality headphones with a mic
- Decent lighting - This is something that most people will forget to include within their working from home setup
Choosing the perfect office chair for working from home
Ensuring that you have a sturdy and supportive office chair is a lot more important than you think.
My recommendations for Office Chairs
Having suffered back problems previously, I was very keen to get a supportive chair that was as good as the one that I used at work. As my job is broadly based in IT, I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk and my desk along with my keyboard are two of my most used items in my daily life.
The first chair office chair I would recommend is the IKEA. This is a generally decent office chair, I managed to get one of these second hand and it has been fantastic in terms of the support for my back, whilst also not being particularly expensive to buy.
My Recommendation for Back Pain cushions
If like me, you suffer from occasional back pain then you may find that a supportive cushion makes a good investment. It has certainly helped make my life more comfortable (literally).
Recommendations for back pain cushions (Coming Soon)
My Recommendations for Office Desks
This entirely depends on how much space you have, but for my corner of my flat I have found that an L shaped desk works perfectly well and doesn’t impact too much on the room. (I didn’t want to feel like I was in the office all the time)!
Recommendations for office desks (Coming Soon)
My recommendations for Keyboards
Again, this is a personal decision and different people like different styles of keyboards.
I am a big fan of all things that are wireless, so my choice of keyboard was the Microsoft keyboard. This keyboard mimics the Apple like keyboard but makes it a bit more usable in my opinion. It also has a built in trackpad into it so you can use it as a mouse if you need to.
Recommendations for keyboards for working from home (Coming Soon)
Other choices of desk drawers
As my desk didn’t have a desk drawer for my keyboard I had to find a way to install one myself. Luckily this was a lot easier than i thought it would be and if you have got the keyboard above I can confirm that this model of pull out keyboard tray will work very well with the model of keyboard that i have suggested above.
My recommendations for finding a good Mouse
I’ve been using computers since the 1980s, so I have been through the whole mouse evolution from the early Amstrad style ball mice to the early 90s Intellimice and now through to optical tracker mice. I really again have to go for a wireless option here as who needs more wires on their desk?
Choosing the right mouse does make a difference. I was initially a little sceptical that a new mouse bought from Amazon could be better than my work mouse, (as it was pretty good). I decided to put this to the test though and pitted them against each other in perhaps the most boring contest ever. Interestingly, the new Logitech mouse that i had bought from amazon was much more responsive than my work mouse.
After I had upgraded my mouse I really started to reassess my whole setup and this is kind of how this blog came about, as I wanted to help people choose the right products to make working from home a little easier. One good factor of the office is that everything is set up for you everyday and all you have to do is walk into the office and sit down. I think that is something that those of us who are still working from home realise we took for granted before.
If you are gamer then you will most definitely have your own opinion on the best mouse and if you budget stretches to it you can get some really fantastic mice these days. If however like me though you are but a mere office worker, looking for a mouse that can help increase your productivity then I would recommend the following mice below.
Other highly recommended Mice
These are some of the most highly recommended mice on the internet.
My recommendations for finding a good screen
Again I have been through a few monitors in the past few months trying to find the perfect monitor.
The good news is that you don’t always have to spend a fortune to get a decent monitor these days. In days gone past brands like IYAMA used to be one of the most premium brands of screens that you could buy. The standard office monitors tend to be LG, Samsung or something similar. When we went into lockdown I decided to buy the cheapest monitor on Amazon at the time and it was the relatively unknown brand XENTA. I had never heard of them before and thought I would give them a go and see what it was like. 9 months later, this is still my screen of choice and I would happily get another one. The only issue with it is if you are switching inputs (I switch between my work computer and my desktop computer), the screen occasionally decides that it doesn’t have a signal. This can be slightly annoying sometimes.
Other screens that have good reviews around the web are:
How to make money working from home
There are lots of “Get Rich Quick” schemes that will promise that you can work from home for only a few hours a week and will make money than your present job. As you are probably aware, most of these schemes are likely just to be ways to scam your out of your hard earned money and don’t actually offer a real route out of your job.
This blog is about finding a real route out of your job and saying goodbye to your boss and your job forever.
We are now living in a unique time where it is possible to make a living passively through the internet. The internet has brought with it several changes that have meant that there are many ways to make money from the internet if you know what you are doing.