Once upon a time… I hated working from home

Until fairly recently (how long has it been since the lockdown started again?) I really hated working from home.

When I was working in companies that had a work from home policy, I rarely used it. Let’s be honest, we can count the times I worked from home in 10 years without involving toes.


So why did I dislike working from home?

The peace and quiet of not having an inside sales team yelling on the phone all around you? Or the ability not to have to commute in the Dublin lashing rain? Avoiding the germs-infested packed trams in the dead of winter or the construction work that makes the office’s floor shake?


No! When I worked from home, there was a solid reason: washing machine being delivered, injured limb, having to bring the car to a garage, waiting for the plumber to fix the boiler or the more traditional stomach bug.

When you’re not originally from Ireland, quite often your holiday allowance is spent going home and visiting your relatives, so using an annual leave day to wait for the plumber really sucks. Having the flexibility to work from home was actually really useful.


I would however argue that this was “flexibility” not a work from home policy. If you’re working from home for another reason than you want to, it’s not really a policy. It’s a nice gesture from your employer to accommodate the stuff from life that can’t be done outside of working hours.


Now, what we’ve seen since the beginning of the lock-down is that a lot of jobs can be done remotely. When I stop and think about it, what’s the difference between doing a hangout with a hiring manager in Texas from home or from the office? Provided you’ve got a good internet connection, the only difference is that you can make yourself available to talk to your hiring manager later in the day since you can manage your own hours. Finish at 5pm, have dinner, go to krav-maga training and at 8:30pm start your hangout with your hiring manager. No worrying about missing your bus or your train and having to wait for ages if your meeting runs over.


Are there too many distractions at home?

Well, aside from one of my cats who’s decided she wanted to micromanage me, not so much. But as a PC gamer, I have a nice desk set up. I invested in a strong pair of noise cancelling headphones so I could work away even if my neighbours were tap dancing around me, and off I went.


Why did it take me 2 months of lockdown to learn to love working from home?

The flexible hours you may think? Nah! That’s totally not me. At 8am, I’m at my desk and working away. I don’t drink tea or coffee and I don’t smoke, so my breaks usually consist of re-filling my bottle of water, bathroom breaks and the occasional parcel deliveries.


Until a few weeks back, I had the ingrained fear that if I left my desk for whatever reason, someone was going to call or ping me and would automatically assume that I was slacking off if I didn’t respond in the next 30 seconds.

Was that fear justified? Most probably not. As long as you get shit done, no-one is going to time your lunch break. When I started in recruitment and started hitting my revenue target consistently, no-one gave a rat’s furry backside about my KPIs.


Throughout the lockdown, though, my colleagues have had to deal with more disruptions while working at home: only getting your “deep work hours” when the baby is napping or it’s your significant other’s turn to mind the kids (not everyone has a hobbit hole at the back of the garden with a high speed internet connection), and that’s not even counting all the horrible stuff that people have had to deal with in their personal lives. Somehow, these things chipped away at my perpetual anxiety about missing a ping from someone at work.


A couple of weeks ago, I missed a slack call, and didn’t check the notification for about half an hour because I was immersed in something else. I survived.


After over 90 days of lockdown, I’m finally starting to love working from home. I’m conscious that the environment I have is conducive to focus and productivity, and that probably wouldn’t be the case if I was working from my sofa with my flatmates working beside me, but it works for me. Although, to be 100% honest, I do miss cycling to work when it’s sunny in the morning; pilates at home just doesn’t give you the kick that the Irish breeze gives you 1st thing in the morning.
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What works for you? Do you want to go back to the office full-time, part-time, whenever you’re needed in the office, or have you embraced your inner introverts that didn’t really see the difference when the lockdown started, aside from working from home?