undertaking it from home

24-May-10, 11:52
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for NeoMagic33
posted about 10 years ago
hi guys and gals....

i was wondering if somebody could chime in here and pass on some words of advice if they can.

I am nearing the end of my second year phd and to a certain extent i am quite happy with what i am doing and have a fair idea what i want and need to do. However, I have a few small problems which really bug me.

1: In the morning I only live about 15-20 miles away from the uni, but at the mo traffic works are a real nightmare and its take me well over and hour, sometimes a lot longer. Then when i come in for my days work at uni, im in a foul mood because of the traffic and it takes me an hour, maybe more to calm down with a coffee and try and get some work done.

2: Our research facility area is complete BS (sorry for the language) but it is. I cannot keep concentration one bit, I am in main thorough fare of people comiing and going. I can hear everybodys conversation and it just reall realy distracts me. Ive tried music etc but doesnt help.

I have spoken to my advisor regarding a desk move to a corner out of the way so that i can get slightly more done, but currently that move hasnt happend.

So question is, would i be better to invest a few pounds and get a good set-up at the house with all the utilies i need and require. I'd roughly safe about 15-20 hours per week on travelling and wasting time.

Also has anybody sucessfully undertaken one from home?

Any words of encouragement or advice would be greatly appreciated

24-May-10, 12:16
by teek
Avatar for teek
posted about 10 years ago
Hi Neomagic

A lot of people do work from home, and it really depends on how well suited you are to that. The pros are: saved time and money, greater flexibility, no colleagues distracting you. The downsides can be that you go stir-crazy through lack of human contact, struggle with the lack of mental distance from work come evenings/weekends, or lose motivation and distract yourself (on the plus side, this often results in a very clean kitchen). I find I vary week to week, sometimes it's better to be in the office and have company, other times being alone at home gives me the head space to focus and write, I'm allowed to be flexible and come in when I feel like it so that's fine.

If you're disciplined and like peace and quiet it could work well, just be prepared to review it if it starts to hinder you. Could you maybe trial a couple of weeks at home before investing in equipment and so on?
24-May-10, 12:28
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
I work mostly from home. I live quite a way from my uni, so it takes me about 1hr 30 to get in and costs me £20 - that's off peak with a student railcard. Its also a shared office, so not much use and I have all my books etc at home.

So I have a desktop PC set up in my own little room, all my books, fast internet connection. I love it, I actually hate working around other people because at home, I can make MANY cups of tea, walk my dog, have my own schedule - I tend to work from 7am til about 5 (around hubby's work times).

You do have to be strict - i.e. no tv during the day - try to work in a different room. Try to plan our your days and work as you would in an office, make sure that you plan your household work around your core hours i.e. don't go wandering off to do the washing up at 11am - you're at work!

24-May-10, 12:47
Avatar for NeoMagic33
posted about 10 years ago
Hey peeps

I really appreciate the feedback and comments there.

I understand and will take on board the pros and cons of the situation and come up with a viable option. IF i decide to go all out and work from home for a while I will discuss and get approval from my advisors first.

thanks again
24-May-10, 12:57
edited about 6 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
Its worth having a good system if you are going to and from uni - so you don't end up working on documents that were changed at uni, and you haven't got the updated version etc. My friend works purely off her USB, although if you delete off it, then you can't get it back because there's no recycling bin on it, so pros and cons!

I tend to email myself everything after I've finished and go back to the latest version. Although I rarely work at uni - mostly admin if I do work there.
24-May-10, 13:07
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for Walminskipeasucker
posted about 10 years ago
I've always undertaken mine from home. It has advantages and disadvantages. On the upside, you can get a lot done, cups of tea whenever you want and peace and quiet without the hustle and bustle of travel. On the downside, it can be very isolating and lonely - ad you can go a bit stir crazy. As has been stated, you do need a system and ways of avoiding getting distracted.
24-May-10, 13:14
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 10 years ago
A key point that hasn't been mentioned is not being visible at uni. I tend to get left out of decisions and my sup often wonders what I am doing, because I'm not at my desk in the department, but as long as I deliver no one really minds, and I make sure I make it in for important meetings and at least twice a month to check my pigeon hole etc and show my face.
24-May-10, 14:28
Avatar for BilboBaggins
posted about 10 years ago
I did my part-time PhD totally based at home, and I recently successfully completed it. On the plus side I was able to work when I wanted, in an undisturbed way. On the downside I was incredibly isolated from other students and university life, which cut off a lot of the normal support mechanisms. Luckily this forum was a really good substitute when I needed support.
24-May-10, 16:30
by zipidee
Avatar for zipidee
posted about 10 years ago
As has been said, it depends on how you like to work. I tend to work at home for practical reasons (uni 2 hours away) and if I have a definite deadline then I really appreciate the quiet and having everything to hand. On the other hand though if I don't have a clear focus or deadline then I find it quite easy to become demotivated and lose momentum. Being out of the loop with other students, department and admin staff is the major disadvantage in my experience. I suppose you could go in a couple of days a week and work at home the rest of the time? Good luck ;-)
24-May-10, 17:11
edited about 20 seconds later
by DanB
Avatar for DanB
posted about 10 years ago
Some good replies already. I did majority of my PhD from home because our work space had about 40 PhD students in it and it was impossible to concentrate. Also, as desk space was at a premium, I ended up being given a laptop by the uni and giving up my desk in a trial (there were some hotdesks for when came in to see supervisors etc). It was brilliant. Plus it meant I could work the hours that suited me better.

I'd really recommend it if your supervisor is happy with it.
24-May-10, 17:49
by Goodboy
Avatar for Goodboy
posted about 10 years ago
I can work from home without correcting my posture. I can work in any position like lying down, sitting in awkward positions and even whilst having my food. There are certain protocols you have to follow at school. I think if you are regular at university then it would be a little easier for you to graduate successfully. I have seen people who were lecturer's assistants all the times, bringing em food, solving their student's problems etc... graduated with little trouble. If you are funded then working at university is the best option if your prior objective is graduation rather than learning. This traveling and working pattern will also become your habit and help you later in life. I work from home 4 days a week and my habit is developed and is such like that sometimes I feel 'I have become unemployable'
24-May-10, 18:41
edited a moment later
by Sarah85
Avatar for Sarah85
posted about 10 years ago
I work from home all the time. My uni is only 15 mins away so I could easily go in but the postgrad office is shared bwteen about 25 students and its far too distracting.

The only thing I've found is that because my 'office' at home is set up with all my books/journals etc, if I ever do have to go into uni to work, I end up having to take a lot of stuff with me and invariably forget something! I suppose this depends where you are with your research though. I'm at a stage of writing where I need a lot of literature, maybe if you didn't need so much stuff, this aspect would be easier...

However, on the up side, at home you can have food/drinks as much as you like and also listen to music without the need for headphones! :-)

S x
24-May-10, 20:06
edited about 12 seconds later
Avatar for star-shaped
posted about 10 years ago
Another one who works from home here. I only live half an hours walk away but by the time I take into account time faffing around getting ready I do save a lot of time. My boyfriend also mainly works from home, although not doing a PhD so he has to stick to 9-5 hours and I think him doing this helps me to do the same.

The only thing I have found a problem is switching off and having a distinction between home and work.
24-May-10, 23:24
by Sue2604
Avatar for Sue2604
posted about 10 years ago
======= Date Modified 24 May 2010 23:30:43 =======
Hi NeoMagic

I live 3 hours away from my uni, so have undertaken my whole PhD from home, mostly only going to uni to meet my supervisor every month or so. Of course it is possible to work from home - there are lots of advantages - it's quiet, there are no distractions, it saves money, I get to spend time with my dog etc. The biggest drawback though is the isolation. I have gone through really horrible periods of depression due to being isolated - it has done my head in at times. I have countered this by using this forum, as well as a chat room for PhD students, at http://phinished.org/. As others have mentioned, another downside is being overlooked - lots of my peers are being offered casual lecturing, but because I'm not around, don't do networking much etc, I don't get asked. It is also important to go to uni for seminars etc, to show yourself and remain involved.

But maybe you could go into uni one day a week - which is good to get photocopying done etc, and also to talk to people, and then work from home the rest of the week?
25-May-10, 13:04
Avatar for hacksgen
posted about 10 years ago
If you are comfortable with working at home than I would say go for it. But you also have to make sure that you visit the insitute atleast once or twice a week to keep track of any new information related to your institute and meetings with professors etc..

I would split it like 3 days at home and 2 days at institute so you dont end up wasting time travelling a lot but at same time also dont miss out on the networking , seminars etc.. with people/colleagues.


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