I recently received a message from a Twitter/Instagram friend which said “Why do you no longer post any Outfit of the Day photos? I miss them!”. I was rather touched that she had even noticed their absence…unless she misses them for their comedic value because she thinks my sense of style is crap. But let’s just pretend it’s because she genuinely likes my choice of clothing.
The truth is, I don’t wear OOTD-worthy clothes that often any more. I work from home these days, which means that the majority of the time I’m either in my PJs, or some sort of hideous ensemble made up of things I could never wear in public (magenta harem pants*, for example). Of course, I do venture out occasionally. And when I do, I obviously wear something that won’t get me too many weird looks from the general public. But on those occasions, I’m so excited/baffled at the prospect of getting fresh air beyond the realm of my local area and seeing something other than my laptop/desk/fridge, that I forget to take a snap of my outfit.
For the most part, working from home is brilliant. I love what I do, and I know I’m very lucky to be able to say that. I love the flexibility, I love not having to take public transport during rush hour, and – now that it’s winter – I love that I don’t have to go out in the cold at 8am when it’s still dark.
But it’s also sucky, sometimes. For starters, it’s so easy to get distracted!
For some, it’s the TV. For me, it’s the kitchen. The problem is that I end up spending a while dithering about, looking through all the cupboards before finally settling on what to make. Then I have to make it, and then eat it. Then, I have to wash up. Spending an hour or so cooking lunch before eating it is not a good idea when you’re working.
My solution? I’m going to resort to doing what I always do when I need to ensure something gets done: WRITE. IT. DOWN. The idea is that I’ll plan out my lunches for the week at the weekend, and do any prep during this time if need be. This could be making and freezing soups, or just ensuring that all the ingredients I need are at hand so that I don’t need to run to Tesco in the middle of cooking (which has happened many a time before). On that note, if anyone has any vegetarian recipes that I’d be able to whip up in a short-ish amount of time, please point me to them!
Another difficulty with working from home is that it can be quite isolating. If all meetings are done by phone/email/Skype, it’s entirely possible to go days without seeing anyone – this happened during my first week of working home, and it was horrible. Plus, if you’re sitting at home in your PJs, you can’t just get up and run out for a quick coffee/lunch if someone calls you, can you? You have to get up, change, put on makeup, and possibly even shower (I can’t kick my day off without having a shower, personally)…it ends up feeling like a bit too much of an effort, and it becomes easier to just say no.
I realised within a couple of weeks that this was not going to do any favours for my mental well-being. I mean, from 10-4 I’m usually at home, working. Alone. I don’t get to chat with my colleague at the next desk, or have quick chats by the coffee machine in the office. Any social interaction is through the Internet or phone, and that is seriously unhealthy. Unless you’re one of those people who really, genuinely hates socialising, this lack of human contact begins to get to you. Now, I try to ensure that I have solid lunch/dinner/coffee plans in place for at least two days in the working week.
The biggest difficulty for me, however, has been switching off from work at the end of the day. If where you live is also where you work, it becomes hard to mentally separate your work life from your home life. On numerous occasions I’ve sat down to watch something on my laptop, only to end up flicking through my work email, checking out competitors’ websites, or even drafting articles. This is the key issue I’m yet to overcome, so if any of you have any tips on how to switch off from work, please do share!
Do any of you work from home? How do you find it compared to being in an office environment? What are the biggest difficulties you’ve encountered?
* yes, I do actually own magenta harem pants. I had to buy them to wear for a dance performance a couple of years ago. Here they are in all their un-ironed glory, along with some leopard-print socks:
PS – If any of you do freelance/work from home, Emma Cossey’s Freelance Lifestyle Blog is an absolute must-read!