Working From Home in London and the South East
June 17, 2011
The number of people choosing to work from home has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, with data from the Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey showing that the number of people working from home has increased by 21.4 per cent since 2001.
Nearly 13 per cent of workers work from home, and whether they are self-employed, freelance or have a flexible work pattern staying at home is an attractive prospect to many, not least for employers, who cite an increase in productivity and eduction in absenteeism. With the advent of cloud computing even those who need access to an endless list of internal files can work from home, and video conferencing makes meetings possible when attendees are in different locations. While working in your pyjamas in bed paints a great picture of working from home, the reality is that its essential to have a separate space between work and home. The act of going to work and coming home are still important – it’s just that the travel time involved is considerably less!
As Neil Young, CEO of Young London comments, “How many of us use the daily commute home to put work to bed and mentally switch from ‘corporate’ to ‘family’ mode? Having the physical separation between home and work lets us do this relatively easily. Working from home has many advantages but it’s often difficult to achieve this sense of separation, particularly for the increasing numbers of people in rented accommodation.”
Another reason why people sometimes struggle working at home is that the distractions can be rife. Even if you can manage your procrastination levels and avoid turning a 30 minute lunch break into a marathon television session, if there are others sharing your homewhile you’re trying to work, it can be hard to concentrate. This issue can be solved when a separate home office is brought into the equation – and it means you can maintain your own personal work space and take important phone calls in peace with no noise or distractions around.
When thinking about where to work at home you need to consider the amount of space you will need. It’s essential that you have room for a chair and a desk, and you don’t want to feel cramped or claustrophobic – natural light is important too for the same reason and to keep your mind healthy and alert.
However finding a place to rent in London or the South East which also comes with a perfect home office space is quite the challenge. One property I have seen recently though has the perfect set up for a home office. The key feature? It’s in its own private annex. You have to ‘leave’ your flat each morning to take three steps across your private courtyard, into your self-contained office – probably one of the shortest commutes going! It has a lovely vaulted ceiling, complete with exposed beams and has the same sparkling modern finish as the main property, and has its own bathroom too.
Simon Wickes, who works for IT giant Cisco, often from home, says “It’s important to try and keep work and home separate, even if they’re both the same address! Having a routine to avoid distractions is important, as is making sure that there’s a specific space that’s designated as ‘workspace’. Decide on your approach to home working, build the rules yourself – and then stick to them.”
Realistically, no matter how great working from home may seem, the reality is that there will be days (just like in a head office) where you need to leave your desk for a change of scene. This flat is close to three parks – perfect for taking short breaks and afternoon strolls in order to clear your head. And of course we can’t forget mention the number of local bars and restaurants nearby – perfect for a drink with friends when you finish work (whenever you decide that should be!)