To answer your bold-printed question: I made the transition from full-time office job to 90% remote job last summer. I love it.
I have to admit, though, that my daily life wouldn't please everyone, and I even have colleagues complaining they feel lonely. Just give it a try, else you'll never know.
There are lots of online advices to remote working, but I'll try to sum them up.
- I take breaks whenever I want - as long as colleagues can reach me (on the phone or via chat), everyone's fine. I tend to have headaches and simply need more breaks than I was allowed to have in the office. My sick days have gone from 25 - 30 per year to 0.
- My housekeeping work integrates seamlessly into my work day. I'm a lot less stressed because I can hang out the laundry in one of my breaks, instead of washing everything in a rush in the evening. I even enjoy zoning out now. If I wanted to zone out in the office, e.g. by getting a cup of tea, there was always someone talking about business. I was really stressed by that. Even the enforced lunch break at 12 o'clock was no break to me.
- Finally I spend more time with my husband than with my colleagues. At first we were really afraid of unnerving each other if we're both at home. But well, the house is big enough, we only spend our breaks together.
- Getting things done - I tend to schedule my work to the evening, when people won't disturb me anymore. I get a lot more done than I did in the office, because I can concentrate better
- No commute: I really really hated having to rush out of the house early enough so I could get one of those limited parking spaces near the office
- Work from wherever I want. I prolonged my last holiday a week and worked from my hammock in the sun.... And because all of my colleagues are free to do so, there was not even a single word of envy! This could have never been where I worked before!!
- Last, but for me as a female for sure not least: I regulate the office climate myself. Damn it, if it's too cold, I heat my office up! I open the window without someone complaining about his hayfever. If I like the sun in my face no-one is stopping me by letting down the shutters because they can't see anything on their screen. And if I get cold feet anyway (remember: female ^^), I get a cover or a hot-water bottle!
- People will try to reach you around the clock. Stop them right away. Where I'm working now, we are reachable from 8 to 5 - except we mark it in the calendar that we're not available. I block the calendar for some hours a day, so I can do the hard work with concentration. In the office I could not block colleagues out. Outside hours I don't answer the phone, e-mails and chat are answered only if I like to and on an irregular basis so people don't get used to it
- Overworking. When you don't clock in and out and get less feedback (there's no boss behind your back! You're at home! The micromanaging you're fearing is impossible!) you tend to feel you've not done enough. I stop myself from thinking like that by keeping track of my hours. I do some extra hours, yes, but I try to keep them low.
- Loneliness. Exactly your point, isn't it?
For me this isn't a great issue. I have my dogs, I have my husband, the rest of the world unnerves me. And though - I'm not really lonely. We're an awful lot on the phone. We also talk about private things (from weather to what did you do last weekend) - the same as when meeting at the coffe machine at the office. Team excursions really improve that. You get to know each other. There are colleagues you like more, others less - same as in a full-time office. For those you like you feel you're calling an old friend on the phone. There's really a lot of conversation. You're still working with humans. We meet up at least once a week with the whole team. But there's almost no day I'm not calling someone. We collaborate, we're a team!
One of my colleagues feels really lonely though. He has begun to turn on his camera now. Well, we others don't follow his example, but he may do that if he feels better like that. Maybe he will leave. In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves. This is no reason not to try for yourself!
Some other DO's:
- have a dedicated workspace. Don't mix your private life and your work life. Though I love working from my hammock, I also enjoy having that one clear space in my house to keep my notes, my laptop, my big screens and so on. I see now I don't like to hang out in my home office when I'm not working. The workspace is the workspace. Don't spend your leisure time there.
- Some people say go out once a week. Meaning, look for a place with free internet and sit there to work. People tending to feel lonely obviously like that. If it's too loud where you're going, block you're calendar, so people don't try to get you into meetings.
In the beginning I regretted my decision to leave my old workplace. Like you, I've been there over ten years - and it was the only place I've worked before. I really liked my colleagues. But like for you, daily work had gotten boring/unnerving. I think I would've stayed anyway, but finally they took this decision for me by giving me new micromanaging boss. I simply couldn't cope with him. Regrets faded some weeks after leaving. Wouldn't ever think about getting back there!