The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Monday, December 14, 2015

Out of office

Over the weekend, I cleared out the office I’ve been renting for the last 6 months and handed back the keys. Although it was a lovely space, the experience made me realize how much working from home suits me.

I was prompted to rent office space back in June when noisy construction work started in our street. In the first few weeks, the noise made it almost impossible to work and with the work due to go on for over a year, I realized I needed an alternative workspace. 

The massive crane, just 100m from my front door!

I was lucky to find a lovely office to rent just a 10-minute walk away. It was a huge, light-filled room above a shop in a really nice area. I decided to see the move as a positive and enjoyed the novelty of fitting the place out and getting settled in.

It took a while to get into a routine. At first I seemed to waste loads of time getting ready to go out each morning. I wasn’t used to thinking about what I needed for the day; milk for tea, lunch etc. and also what I needed for work. I usually work on a desktop at home, so I had to think about transferring work across to my laptop to work on at the office, and then there were notes and paperwork to ferry to and fro. I soon got myself organized though.

What I found more difficult was working in such a restricted space. Although the office itself was huge, there wasn’t anything to do except sit at my desk. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, I have to manage how I work and especially how much time I spend at my desk. When I’m working from home, I do short stints at my desk punctuated by regular breaks. As well as the usual going to the loo and making cups of tea, in my breaks I do stuff around the house; I empty the dishwasher or put the washing on, or in the summer, I potter up the garden for 10 mins pulling up a few weeds. It gives me that all-important physical break.

In the office, I struggled to find alternatives. I’d try to stand up regularly, but with nothing much to do and nowhere to go, I’d invariably find myself sitting back down again. All of which soon started to take its toll physically.

Thankfully though, after the initial noisy patch, the construction work has settled down and although it’s still going on, it’s now remarkably quiet. I gradually found myself staying at home to work more and venturing to the office less and less. In fact, I’ve hardly used it at all over the past couple of months, so when the initial lease period was up, I decided to give it up. I’m kind of sad to see it go (and the loft is a bit more full with the excess furniture!), but it has made me appreciate the ability to work from home even more.

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