Working from home

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Working from home for my new job at Quartz, I’m reminded of things I’d forgotten in the last two-and-three-quarter years. The pleasures, mainly, and also some of the problems. This is a quick post after day one. Things will, I’m sure, change.

  • Master of the space, you can open the windows, without someone worrying you will fling yourself out of them, and taking the precaution of sealing them shut.
  • You can step outside for five minutes, and not smoke a cigarette.
  • Everyone who asks how you are really wants to know the answer. These questions are therefore more exposing, to both them and you, of how you actually feel.
  • You don’t have to commute to work, which means several free hours every week, presented to you like a gift.
  • Time goes much, much faster. Before you know it you have to stop and eat lunch. It’s soon the evening, and perhaps you are still working. Boundaries are blurred, which can be a problem.
  • You have to reinvent space, leaving it, coming back, changing moods with music or exercise. Otherwise you might run mad.
  • The urge to clean and tidy is intense, and must be resisted.
  • Taking a coffee break can mean freshly-ground coffee beans that a friend’s friends grew in Chilchos, in Peru.
  • You can forget to turn your phone on. This would never happen if you had a journey to work on which to play with it.
  • Trying not to disturb your partner by calling to them, you might find yourself emailing, and hear the email arrive in the next room.
  • No one cares if you lie flat on the floor for five minutes; nor if you talk to yourself.

Discipline. Everyone talks about how much discipline you need to work at home. But how much discipline does it take to go to the same strange city office every day, for all the hours of daylight? To sit still for all the hours of the day, to accustom your body to temperatures you haven’t chosen, and gaze across wide dim expenses at faraway windows?  To listen to no music unless it’s on headphones, look at no pictures unless on a screen, smell nothing but the smell of office. That takes discipline too; just of a different kind.

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