11 good (and bad) habits I’ve picked up working from home

by Rachel Smith
29 August 2014

When you’ve worked for yourself for nearly 14 years without colleagues or a boss scrutinising your every move, you can develop some pretty weird behaviours. Not all bad, but… some of these habits certainly wouldn’t fly in a professional setting. (Please do confess yours in the comments.)

1. Talking to myself. I hadn’t realised actually how much I do it, until we had a builder round recently and he commented on it. Apparently I even keep up this weird, chatty commentary to no one in particular when OTHERS are around. Awkward.

2.  Negotiating with inanimate objects. I have been known to beg, cajole and hurl abuse at my printer, which has its own twisted agenda. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, I end up like those guys in Office Space who take the broken printer out to a field and smash it to pieces with a baseball bat.

3. Wearing more lycra than a yoga instructor. Stretchy pants that fold over, t-shirts with stupid sayings on them, and slippers are my wardrobe of choice. I am not one of those freelancers who believes in ‘dressing for work’ so you will rarely find me in a tight waistband. It’s creatively freeing (for me anyway) to be able to dress like a total hobo. I urge all of you to try it.

4. Letting my professional wardrobe die a slow death. If pressed, I can pull together a suity outfit to meet a client or talk on a panel but given I’m not doing this every day, it is a challenge when required. I covet cool office-wear all the time, but if push comes to shove I’m far more likely to spend money on yoga pants than pencil skirts or three-hundred dollar suits.

5. Looking after my health more. I like to cook and have found I’ve saved heaps of money eating leftovers or throwing together a quick lunchtime salad. Food courts nearly killed me (and my waistline) when I was working in-house and I could go for months without hitting the gym due to long hours and just being so damn tired by the commute. It’s much easier to slot in workouts when you work from home.

6. Not looking after my hair at ALL. When you’re not going into an office, some personal maintenance can and does slide. My hair is pretty forgiving but even I know darkening the hairdresser’s door twice a year isn’t a great thing. Ditto the days when my bird’s nest doesn’t see a brush until 4pm. It’s been known to scare couriers.

7. Working from bed. Not every day of course, but I have been known to do this when it’s raining. We work-from-homers need to take perks where we can.

8. Becoming a hermit. Days can go by where I won’t leave the house (usually when it’s raining because I have a thing about being holed up and cosy and working when it’s raining). Yes, I fully realise this is NOT healthy.

9. Becoming completely anal about noise. When I’m writing, I want quiet. The rare occasions I’ve worked in an office over the past 14 years have been a massive culture shock – people talking, people stopping by my desk, phones ringing etc. Offices are hugely distracting. I love that I can control the noise level in mine. My husband is even worse. He just told me to silence the ‘ding’ on my laptop because it was driving him insane.

10. Working all manner of weird hours. Also, not exceedingly healthy. As a freelancer you have to have boundaries and I’ve been known to finish stories on the couch at night, or get up super early to write. And with a baby soon to be in the house, I expect this will become even more the norm.

11. Tweaking my time management to suit me. I have structures in place (you can’t not when you run your own business) but I love having control over my schedule AND being able to set my own hours (in our recent survey, 67 percent of you agreed this was one of the best things about freelancing).

What are the work-from-home habits you’ve picked up that wouldn’t cut it in a professional office? Hit up the comments!

Rachel Smith

7 responses on "11 good (and bad) habits I’ve picked up working from home"

  1. Deborah Singeman says:

    I identify with many of Rachel’s habits though I do get out every day to a cafe at least (and I can work to background chatter) and I do dress in smart trousers as well as tracky-daks, but I spend a lot of time checking use-by dates for food, do boil up the kettle too often (it helps me think I say to myself) and enjoy placing little bits of antipasto on my lunch sandwiches.

  2. I can identify with many of these but the worst habit I fell into – and fall back into if my wife is away – is indulging my night owl tendencies. I’d stay up until midnight, 1am, 2am and sleep until 9 or 10 in the morning. Can make it difficult to arrange interviews at times.

  3. Rachel Smith says:

    Darren: So easy to become a night owl when you’re a freelancer! I’m having to rethink that tendency of mine with a new baby in the house though 😉

    Deborah: I too am a tea freak, not sure I would drink QUITE so much of it if I was in an office. The kettle’s going all day at my place!!

    1. In a certain percentage of people it’s biological so good luck when bub arrives 🙂

  4. A habit I have fallen into is rearranging my study when I am struggling to write. I have this notion that altering the feng shui will unlock incredible creativity and the next best seller.

    I also ask my pug Ava for her opinion on just about everything. Sadly she doesn’t respond until I mention “chicken”, which is not a topic I write about regularly.

  5. Aimee says:

    Oh wow, you just described all of my habits, especially 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11! So basically all of them!

  6. Rachel Smith says:

    I’m trying to become better with my hair haha 🙂

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