It’s been three weeks since going solo and four since I stepped foot in an office.
I feel like this has now qualified me to advise others on what it’s actually like working from home in terms of the things I never expected to arise, but here we are. In light of recent news and record numbers of office workers now being delegated to their spare room during the hours of 9-5, this one’s for the new found home workers or those considering the switch.
Despite its pitfalls, I now never want to stop dressing like a yogi and singing Gwen Stefani whilst making a living so here’s my experience of remote working:
1. You will pick up weird habits.
Nobody is watching so it’s perfectly fine to start dancing round the house or take a spontaneous yoga break in the hallway when you’d usually be chatting by the coffee machine.
I also tried to fit in weird fitness goals when I couldn’t get to the gym like 20 burpees every time I made a tea which lasted all of one attempt at 12.
2. You need a set area to work.
Without a desktop it’s easy to start wandering round the house with a laptop. The sofa is not conducive to productivity. Neither is the hallway.
Being able to shut the door on the mess that is the rest of the house and keep that door shut when I’m not working is the only way not to let work become life and life become work.
3. Being devoid of social interaction is real, but preventable.
It got to the point where I drove to the RSPCA and agreed to adopt a dying cat for company. I do love that cat and hopefully she will be my co-worker very soon when the paperwork is filed but there are less drastic solutions.
Making an effort to leave the house daily, making lunchtime calls to friends and family, team video chats and camping out in a cafe for the day has kept cabin fever away. I’ve also signed up to networking events, talks and workshops to substitute a corporate training program.
Maintaining a weekend or evening schedule of social activity outside of the house is, however, essential to retain the knowledge of how real people behave and communicate in public.
Or you could get a cat too: https://www.rspca.org.uk
4. It’s easy to become a chubby chomper.
No more office snacks? How about A WHOLE HOUSE FULL!
Without my previous commute I’m walking 10k steps less than before and with a well stocked fridge of vegan snacks there’s no ‘oh sorry I can’t eat dairy’ excuse in existence, therefore, drastic action must be taken to flex my willpower.
I’ve thought about taking up running at lunchtime.
I then look out the window and think ‘nah’.
There are, however, some great lunchtime gym and yoga classes about when you can spare the time which is my way around justifying a full pot of hummus as an afternoon snack.
5. Rush hour becomes an absolute no-go, intolerable inconvenience.
When you don’t have to bear it, why would you, this is a great time to hide away at home and develop early morning routines.
Maybe take this time to go for that run right past all the traffic and laugh at it.
You can be smug in the fact your carbon footprint has taken an absolute dive from no longer participating in that malarky.
Hopefully I’ve not completely discouraged, but inspired you to consider working flexibly.
As an extrovert I really worried about driving myself a little nuts without having others to bounce off, but regular networking events are building up my network of mentors and support that a corporate team would provide.
It is only week three, there’s time yet.