Step into our office!
By Caitlin Kelly
Welcome to my life!
As the world suddenly learns the words “social distancing” and every crowded place is closing, many people who have always worked away from home are now…working at home.
While The New York Times laments the lost joys of office life, I deeply disagree.
Steve Jobs, for one, was a famous opponent of remote work, believing that Apple employees’ best work came from accidentally bumping into other people, not sitting at home in front of an email inbox.
“Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions,” Mr. Jobs said. “You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
Sure…if your workplace is full of smart, motivated, helpful co-workers.
My last staff job, sorry to say, was a shitshow from start to finish. I was hired by someone who soon left, leaving me vulnerable to management that wanted nothing to do with me and frosty co-workers.
It was the worst experience of my life.
So I never spent much energy looking for another office job.
I’ve been working alone at home, with no pets or children, in a suburban one-bedroom apartment since 2006. I occasionally spend the day working at our local library, which is large, sunny and gorgeous.
Here are my ten ways to enjoy working from home if this is all new to you:
— Wake up (more) when it suits you.
Even if you have to be on the clock for your employer by 9:00 a.m. you’ve lost all the mad rush to get ready/showered/dressed/shaved and the cost and annoyance of a commute.
— Savor healthy meals
I eat so much better at home! I know exactly what’s in my food without added salt, sugar, fat and calories. Your late afternoon pick-me-up might be my daily pot of tea or fresh coffee or an apple and cheese or…anything not junky and gooey and full of sugar.
— No eating at your desk!
This is such a gross American habit because everyone’s expected to work all the time. Or, worse, in your car or on the train or bus.
— Take walks, maybe with your very happy dog
You must build in some breaks. Fresh air is a good perk.
If you can’t use your gym, take a walk or bike ride. If your home is big enough, you can do yoga or workout to exercise videos.
— Avoid the sofa!
I literally won’t sit on it until work is done. In a small space, I have to delineate areas of work and areas of pure leisure (that includes the bedroom.)
— Avoid the TV!
Until your work is done.
— Enjoy music!
Jose and I have a few favorite stations we listen to when working from home. One is TSFJazz from Paris.
As long as you are getting your work done and joining Zoom or Skype or phone meetings as expected, you can probably grab a half hour when needed.
— Comfortable clothing is a real pleasure
Pajamas are not a great idea and sweatpants can feel gross after a while. But there’s no need to keep wearing more formal clothing unless that’s your preference.