From December last year, I have been able to work from home far more than was ever possible when I worked in London. For 30 years, I was required to attend one London office or another, even if I could have done far more work staying at home. I know many people suspect – and I have been one of them so I can’t really complain – that for many people, ‘working from home’ is a euphemism for ‘watching the telly’/'playing golf’/'going down the pub’ – or one of any number of other skiving activities; feel free to insert your own version.
For family reasons, it became necessary to move to Canada – and if that makes it sound like a hardship – it so isn’t!
But, as part of the move and the need to manage a number of different concerns, it became clear that I would have to work from home to make the move work. That’s what I now do and this is the first piece I will write about the challenges I encounter working from home.
Most surprisingly – for someone who, as noted above, previously suspected the motives of those working from home – the biggest challenge isn’t getting myself to my desk; it is tearing myself away from it. I never feel like I have done enough work; even as I type this, I am thinking of all the other things I should be doing.
Another surprise is to find that, if you have even the most minute capacity for disorganisation, which I am told might be just a little true for me, it catches you out far more when you work alone than when you work in an office. I suspect that the day to day argy bargy of an office, with its constant chatter and reminders of ‘what’s going on’ mean that an office environment provides a natural reminder system you just don’t get working alone. More on this in due course – I am trying various strategies and devices to counter this and will let you know which, if any, work.
Another thing I notice – for the better, I think – is the complete lack of the ‘autopilot’ mentality. When you have done something for 30 years – and it varies relatively little over that time – it becomes second nature. I have never worked from home like this before and everything, work-wise, I used to do on autopilot was left 5,000 miles behind me. I can’t help thinking this is a really good thing but it is also more than a little uncomfortable, though not necessarily in a bad way.
More on this in due course too.