I have always liked the idea of working from home, and the reality of it is what I hoped it would be, but like any working environment it comes with its own challenges! So I’ve come up with a few, shall we call them, codes of conduct on how I manage to overcome these challenges:
- Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Anyone who is self-employed and whose office is in their house knows that set working hours don’t really apply any more but I’ve found that if I want the quality of my work to remain at a high level breaks are really important, so I’ve made the rule that I never take my lunch at my desk. Lunch is an opportunity to take a brain break and get some more energy for the rest of the afternoon. This rule does not count for elevensies, elevensies taste better at one’s desk as far as I’m concerned.
- A change is as good as a rest! Spending so much time as my desk can mess with my mind a little bit, sometimes I dream about sitting at my desk, which is disconcerting. So I make the effort every now and then to go somewhere else. Sometimes that just means the dining room, sometimes it means a nearby cafe, it feels refreshing to be somewhere new and I appreciate my home office more when I get back.
- Cats keep you company but also annoy the hell out of you. One change that has been a bit more challenging is being the only person in my office. There’s none of the general chitchat, occasional banter or lunchtime debates with fellow colleagues when you work from home. My remedy to this has been my cats, they are very good company, endlessly hilarious and very snuggly but trying to keep them off my keyboard or generally trying to not let them distract me can be annoying to Nth degree. It’s a double-edged sword, but a really cute and quite furry double-edged sword.
- Make your work space attractive. No matter how much you love your job there will always be some days when going to work is hard, so the nicer your home office is the easier it will be to step in and get to work. Because a large part of my work requires a lot of creativity I decided to make my office a place that appeals to my creative nature, a place that inspires me and that encourages me to do my best work. This includes a sausage-dog-shaped sellotape dispenser – no apologies.
- Clean space, clean mind! Long gone are the times when the word “empties” represented foolish decisions made the night before, now this word just evokes images of the several tea and coffee cups and a couple of elevensies plates scattered around my desk, making lovely little islands between the sea of sheets and post-it notes. After a while I do find this tends to make for a stressful home office environment so I’m trying to keep this kind of clutter to a complete minimum. At the moment I have two empty cups on my desk – not bad…and a cat.
So there are my codes of conduct for working from home: keep your desk clean, make it a creative place to be, don’t take lunch at your desk, move around sometimes and get a cat. Simple!