Sofa (2)

In my first blog, I described how I found it when working from home in the beautiful summer sunshine, surrounded by fresh air and greenery. Fast forward a few months and the weather is turning colder and I've got a pretty nasty cold.

We work from home quite regularly, so if someone is feeling under the weather, they've got the capabilities to work from home, rather than risk infecting the rest of the team. And let's face it, no one wants an office full of headaches, coughs and sneezes.

Being ill immediately presents more challenges. Firstly there's to motivation (or lack thereof) to get out of bed! On this occasion, I was feeling particularly bad so took the duvet down to the sofa and set up camp for the day.

Whenever I work from home, I put something like BBC Breakfast or Good Morning Britain on the TV in the morning - some background noise really helps me and you never know what useful things will come up. But once those programmes are over, the distractions start their seduction routines. A quick scan of the TV guide will usually suggest a seemingly endless supply of great shows. The biggest challenge I find working from home, particularly when unwell, is not giving into those seductions. Background noise is great, but who doesn't become completely engrossed in an episode of Friends if it's on the TV? Although working from the sofa is perfect for someone feeling a bit sorry for themselves, it's can be very difficult to place yourself in a work frame of mind sat somewhere usually reserved for relaxation and entertainment.

So at that point I usually have to turn the TV off and opt for some music. That helps concentration and reduces the likelihood of becoming distracted. But the problem with having a cold is that you're coughing and sneezing all the time. It doesn't sound like much, but each of those sneezes or coughs momentarily separates you from your work. It takes a lot of will power to not let that separation last more than a few seconds at a time.

Working from home during an illness is certainly not the most enjoyable time to work from home. But when you know that you're not ill enough to call in sick altogether, it is the next best solution. Okay, sneezing and coughing may be somewhat distracting and harm productivity. But it's much better to be a little less productive than lose it altogether!

By Jonathan Davies, editor, Fresh Business Thinking