Recently I’ve shifted focus onto finally getting something out of my penchant for writing, and so I now, for the most part, work from home. I’ve heard the legends, but I was finally in a position to confirm which of them were actually true. And now that I’m here and have been here for quite a while, here’s what I’ve learnt:
1. Not having to wake up early in the morning is the best thing ever.
Look, I’m a horrible morning person. And that doesn’t get any better if I have to wake up two hours before work starts just to even get there on time. I no longer have to wake up at 6.30am, making sure I leave by 7ish, getting to work at around 8:30, and then being as groggy as possible before work even starts. And if I have one of those days where inspiration hits late at night, the wakeup call can be moved even further up.
2. Your fridge and bed are now constantly only metres away.
Let’s face it; most of us in Malta don’t live in huge mansions. So as soon as you’re up and ready to go, no matter how much you try to walk away from the kitchen or your bedroom, those two temptations will never be far away enough. This leads to the constant opening and closing of fridges (desperately hoping that the contents will change every time) and the seductive sound of naptime beckoning from your bedroom. Man, you need to be strong for this shizzle.
3. You’re bound to be in a better psychological state at home.
If you’re anything like me, where you’re working has a direct (and extremely strong) effect on how you work. Even simply getting used to a different place, its layout, the people there, and so many seemingly stupid factors can end up with me not being absolutely “in the zone” (oh God did I literally just say that?). At home, the great thing is that all that work has already been done for you. You’re already at your point of “Maximum Zen” (someone please stop me) before you’ve even started.
4. Less breaktime banter and gossip updates.
Yes, of course – lack of human contact is the big tradeoff here. If you live with your parents, the house will magically turn into a hotel. If you live with your significant other, they’ll soon start to doubt whether there is such a thing as seeing too much of each other. And it might feel like you’re being left out of all the cool things when you come across half a dozen lunchtime group selfies or your friends start dropping some inside jokes.
5. But everything’s on Facebook anyway, and you’re constantly there!
No more monitoring of internet activity baby! Sure, having the ability to go on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Vine (RIP) is an insane temptation, but it’s also weirdly liberating. It means you get to decide when you feel like you deserve to take a break, and it leads to this strange paradox where you’re all alone but are finally managing to update yourself on everyone, follow everything, and easily speak to all your friends…who you just know would be doing it extremely secretively at their work. And that just makes it all better.
6. Going out of the house suddenly becomes special.
Now that you don’t have to trudge out of your door in the early hours of the morning and return all exhausted in the evening, even the actual house door suddenly becomes your friend. It’s no longer the gateway to and from work, but rather that awesome plank of wood that lets you into the beautiful world of socialising, and that warm embrace back into the familiar. I think I’ve been inside for too long haven’t I?
7. But not a lot of people are there to share it with you.
Chances are, if most of your friends work a normal 9-5 (which in Malta very quickly escalates into overtime), they’re either not going to be around when you decide you want to go out in the afternoon, or they’re going to be exhausted and not up for going out in the evening. And so, the harsh irony of being outside, surrounded by people, but still somewhat alone.
8. You are quite literally your own boss.
Much like the issue of food and social media, but taken to the highest possible degree. Your schedule is no longer limited to strict working hours, and as long as you meet the necessary deadlines, there’s no one there to tell you how to make them. This can lead to some weird personalised schedules (like waking up at 11 but staying up till 4), but it can also help with adding things you’ve been meaning to do, like exercise routines or practising of hobbies, fitting them in the slots you’d rather have them. As long as it gets the job done, you decide when and how everything goes down.
9. A lot of people in Malta still don’t think it’s an actual job
Maybe it’s because we’re still too used to the idea of leaving the house in the morning and only coming back from work when it’s dark and you’re exhausted. Maybe it’s because there are too many pop-ups with stupid scams showing photos of random supermodels in front of a castle that apparently all live in Birkirkara and all make $4 million dollars an hour working from home. Whatever it is, good luck explaining to your family and friends that this is actually your job.
10. You’ll never know whether you’re mature enough to do it until you try it.
If there’s just one thing that’s going against you when you’re working from home, it’s all the temptations. It’s going to seem like you can eat, sleep and procrastinate whenever you like, and that’s enough to turn even the most mature of adults feral. You’ll never know whether you’ll be able to take it and still be productive until you try it though, and the results may surprise you. If you do succeed, it’s definitely going to feel satisfying. So satisfying, that you’d then need to go through a second test to see whether you’re humble enough to not rub it in everyone’s face.
11. Seriously though – no morning traffic jams beats everything. Simple.
I could go on forever about the pros of working from home, but strangely enough, they always go back to one big advantage – not having to get stuck in traffic for about two hours in the morning, and another two in the evening. All of the above pales in comparison to the beauty of only using your car when the streets are calmer, and to being able to start and end your workdays off without wanting to strangle someone on the road. Happier you, guaranteed.