Monday, July 9, 2012

Thoughts on working from home

The amazing Post-It desk, titled appropriately (though perhaps a little predictably and groan-worthily) "Post-Itable". Created by Lisbon-based designer Miguel Mestre of SoupStudio (can I forgive the pun name a little more because he's in Spain?) this table is for those creative types who forget their note paper, or scrounge for it therefore using up precious time, or have giant handwriting.

I of course toyed with the idea of owning something like that or perhaps simply plopping down a giant pad of penny paper on my desk. And it made me think about the modern concept of the covetable freedom of working from home.

Several people over the years who were considering working from home have asked me if I have any advice about it. The thing is, I sort of don't. Because for whatever reason my personality is perfectly suited for working on my own. I'm very efficient, I don't get distracted, I put in 9 hour days without thinking about it to the point where I forget to get up and stretch and walk around and often eat lunch in front of my computer, and I thrive on solitude. Like some tree that needs to have no forest about it in order to bear fruit. That lone tree in a field.

But I don't think this is for everyone. Even if you find a shared studio space or group writer's offices or have weekly coffee klatches with other freelancers. Some people, if not most people, are most suited to the structure and companionship of working with and for others. My brother is like that, my father, my husband, perhaps half of my friends (the other half are the ones who like working on their own because of course I know many designers and artists etc). There is the constant quest for steady income, and the struggle of finding affordable health insurance. And perhaps most scarily is knowing we must always be on the cutting edge and not knowing what that means when we are 60 and less mentally flexible. Becoming less flexible simply happens.

So here is what I say. You probably know if you have the right personality for working from home, and if you feel you do then gather your courage and hold in your jitters and find a way to do it. And for those who suspect they are not those kind of people, you are the linchpin of our world. Not a cog or a link in the chain. You yourself are necessary. You are the ones who make health insurance more affordable for all by being a part of group rates. You are beautiful and I love you. After 9 years of quitting my last half-time office job I still miss the companionship of those wonderful people. I miss the ability to go home and shuck off the day and sink into a book with no thoughts of the future. It was so much more present-tense. But it still isn't for me.

I love you, office workers. I am proud of those who have steady jobs and are fantastic at your jobs because let's face it. You are what enables me to work at home. I am a mollusc on your pier. Uphold our dock and be firm in the ocean.

Oh yes, and I desperately miss the free air-conditioning.

Found on DesignTaxi via LinkedIn (random, right?)
Images courtesy SoupStudio

1 comment:

  1. Interesting note: I work from home exceedingly well and much like you (though I never eat at the computer, and god knows getting out of the house to go to the gym or take a walk saves me). But I do it as an extrovert. Twitter and email helps, sure. But because I'm extroverted, I like to talk when people are around, which means working in a house by myself is PERFECT. I also really like to get things done, and it turns out to be the very best way for me to accomplish loads. And I really like structure, but I'm brillant at building my own structure. Interesting stuff, that.