Working from Home: When Things Go Wrong

Me in my lovely office before my house sprung a substantial leak.

Things happen. Things go wrong. When you’re working from home, if something happens that makes your home a little ‘unliveable’ then you’re likely to see an impact on your work. So, here’s a life update from me. I came home a couple of weeks ago (after a lovely meal out with my oldest friend Jess) to a flooded house. Water pouring from my light fittings and slowly filling up my downstairs floor. Thankfully, I’d only been out a few hours so the damage caused could have been a lot worse. The thing is that for a week or so, we had no water. We still have no electric, and now we’re talking pretty intensive drying out of the house and building work to get it back to how it was before. Don’t worry though, it’s all covered by our home insurance (which is a pain to navigate in itself). However, seeing as I work from my home office, I have a dilemma.

I’m very lucky in that my parents have taken us in. Two adults and a dog. If you didn’t have anywhere to go, it would be a case of stopping in a hotel while the repairs take place, which I can imagine sounds fun. The practicalities of it make it difficult, especially when you have a four-legged family member. Touch wood, our electric will be back on next week. However, from then on we’re looking at the building and repair work. Which will be loud and prolonged, making work and taking care of a highly-strung dog difficult. I’m not writing this blog post for sympathy, far from it. I know how lucky I am to have a house I love. A supportive family and partner. A job. The reason I am writing it for people out there who are considering going self-employed.  You see, things crop up that can make working from home difficult, if not impossible. And this is something to bear in mind. Again, I can’t say it enough, going self-employed was the best thing I ever did. But you often only hear the rosey lovely side of things, not the reality.

Working from home isn’t always straight forward. That’s the take-away from this. I’ll be working out of my parent’s living room for the foreseeable and I’m so fortunate that I am able to do that. If you’re self-employed and you can’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that, and planning ahead for incidents when you might not be able to work (like sickness, etc) is so important. I cannot stress that enough. If I couldn’t work due to my house deciding to flood itself, would I be able to manage? This is the way you have to think. Yes, being your own boss is awesome! Yes, it’s also difficult when things like this happen.

My advice?

  1. Plan ahead. Have money put aside if you are not able to work. Just in case.
  2. Consider what other alternative workspaces are out there. For example, my local pub is offering £5 workspaces with unlimited tea and coffee.
  3. Go into self-employment with your eyes open – always consider worst-case scenarios too.
  4. If the worst does happen, be honest with clients. Explain to them that you are doing your best to get back to normal, and offer refunds, etc if work is needed sooner than you can offer under your current circumstances. In all likelihood, clients will wait for you if you’re honest.

Going back to normal…

While I can’t wait to go back to normal, I appreciate the time I get to spend with my parents and that I am able to carry on working thanks to their taking in three strays (me, Danny, and the dog) while our home is currently drying out. Thanks for reading my self-indulgent update! Wish me luck navigating the world of insurance claims!

As always, wishing you love and books that make your heart skip a beat,

Sarah Jules x

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