Working From Home and Keeping The Balance

If you ever took heed one of the many advice blogs about working from home then at some point you’ll have found yourself in your designated space, wearing a freshly pressed shirt, clocking in/out at reasonable times and with all your little gadgets neatly laid out in front of you. Realistically, though, (and if you’re anything like me) you struggled to maintain any or all of these little things because, basically, you’re at home.

The Bermuda Triangle effect

Translators that work from home will know that it requires discipline. Having your work tools at hand 24/7 can make taking a break even more tempting. For example, I’ll do it later. Similarly, all the things that serve as distractions (games consoles, television, mobile phones, friends, partners, children, pets etc.) are never too far away. Then, there’s time…

For me, If I haven’t started working by 9am, a kind of Bermuda Triangle effect kicks in and it’s 11am before I know it. The same happens if I haven’t finished by 6pm, where the chances are that I will continue working late into the evening or, even worse, late into the night. Unless it’s a rush job or I’m working to a strict deadline, I’m happy to let regular working hours slide and let the work blend in with my home life.

Home life varies from person to person also. Mine is divided between my wife, my son and my work. The place where I work at home changes often too, depending on where my kid is and what he’s doing. If he’s asleep then I can work at the dining table, if he’s asleep on my chest then I’m stuck on the sofa or the bed and if he’s awake then I need to be where I can see him. Not sounding ideal? You get used to it.

It wasn’t always like this though. I used to live with ‘The Boys’ and one might imagine that it was easier being footloose and fancy free. On the contrary, it was perhaps even more difficult to work in this kind of environment. Loud music, house parties, out every night and a generally buzzing social life. It doesn’t matter who you live with, they’ll always find a way to put the proverbial spanner in the works, whether they mean to or not. Again, it’s down to you to manage it.

Dress for success

Then there’s attire. The advice is to dress smart to work from home, whatever happens. The logic behind this really does stand up too (good routine, distinction between work and home time, surprise video calls etc.). Now, I’m no scruff but I don’t work in a bank either, so jeans and a jumper is about as good as it gets most days. On the rare occasions that a Skype call comes through, they’re usually just voice calls and if a video call does come in, then my camera is on the blink (wink wink).

Common sense, right?

If you are venturing out into the real world and you know you’ll be meeting clients, then of course you’re not going to show up wearing a hoodie and ripped jeans. That’s common sense, right? Right.

And common sense is the point of this blog. There’s no way to write this from any other perspective but my own. I can’t tell you what’s right or wrong, what works and what doesn’t work. If you do work from home then you need to find the right balance for yourself and this balance may change. Just be careful not to let it tip too far in either direction.

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Anna Gargula
Anna Gargula