Some of the benefits are immediately obvious and I don’t want to overplay them but they do include how efficient it is that everything can be delivered and people can come and go and do the things that need doing around here which allow me to keep working. I can exchange pleasantries with those performing simple everyday tasks which keep the business world in flow. Those bringing vital supplies mean I don’t have to leave my desk unless I choose to. This is a boon.
Next is that there is no need to commute. I only ever did that for a very brief window at the start of my business career. My experience of this city’s underground transport system was so grim I packed that in pronto. In fact, I would say commuting and how much I loathed it formed a very big part of my decision to become self-employed, precisely so I didn’t have to. The money and time I save, the stress and wear and tear I avoid, I am grateful for those savings every day. I have crafted a working life I love, due in no small part to the very absence of commuting. My heart goes out to those who have no choice.
Optimum comfort comes next. I don’t have to share my office with anyone, I don’t have to waste energy playing politics with people I don’t respect, I don’t have to endure music playing or the less than thrilling personal habits of my co-workers since all my colleagues are virtual and very lovely they are too, hand-picked. We can – and do – work in our pyjamas and although this is not an everyday occurrence, it is one of my options. To do that every day might be a sign of my becoming “feral” but it is wonderful to know that I can do that when I want. No need to dress up for the postman and no interruptions. Bliss.
The very first new thing I noticed when I started to work for myself was daylight. I cannot over-estimate this one. You see daylight when you are self-employed at home or getting out and about. It floods in every one or my windows. If you have a window in someone else’s office where you are imprisoned 9-5 you are very lucky indeed and without daylight you become impervious to the weather. [Nice day! Was it?] And the daylight where I work now has a very particular quality such that visitors remark upon it. All this daylight is having a surprising effect on me too, apart from just cheering me up after each long S.A.D. British winter.
My office window, whether indoors in winter or from my garden office in spring and summer, overlooks my London garden. And although I am urban to my core, I am being nudged into becoming quite the accidental naturalist. [That’s not someone who takes their clothes off, is it?] I am becoming quite the happy observer of the fauna and flora I work amongst. I’ve always had foxes from the day I moved in and at first I didn’t like them. I’m not really a huge fan still but I am coming to appreciate them a tiny bit more; we choose peaceful co-existence. I introduced a cat, Mitsy, to the mix and now we have a full range of neighbourhood furry friends in Blackie, Splodgy, Bad Cat and two newbies we are just getting to know, both long-haired and both beautiful.
But my pride and joy are the birds. First off I noticed a pair of blue tits and then a cheeky robin. And now, thanks to the BBC’s programme about the Lost Gardens of Heligan, I can identify my latest pal – a song thrush. How cool is that? I work surrounded by birds and many of my Skype pals offer delighted comment that they can hear and enjoy my birdsong too. Working in my garden, sometimes even al fresco, and amongst my birds beats commuting hands down, any day.
What do you enjoy most about working at home?