one of the harshest things about working freelance is working from home. forget about romantic notions of carrie bradshaw sitting cross-legged on her bed in cute underwear just tapping away – that will lead to a ”mouse arm” in no time. trust me, i know. my left shoulder has actually moved permanently (?) about an inch higher than my right one because of poor choices in working at decubitus. shame on me.
the division of time is also an issue. when at home chores are forever present and pressing. some may find the fact that you can do laundry while working great, but the downsides are apparent, as well. it is all too easy to procrastinate in your own home when you can appeal to housework needing you attention.
fortunately, coming from a large family i am used to all sorts of disturbance. i can concentrate in the middle of a heated debate or a buzzing cafe. in the past years i have worked on my laptop in restaurants and bars probably more than i ever did in my office when i had one. whenever i find it troublesome to focus on a task at hand, i go out to a restaurant. a steady level of noise helps me insulate myself from fleeting thoughts.
after starting at a new job a few months ago my positioning unfortunately did not change although i'm not freelance anymore. the company does not have an office in helsinki and the few of us working in the capital do everything from home. until this changes next fall, i’m stuck on my sofa and the restaurants in the neighborhood.
the problem is that i haven’t found a spot of choice, yet, because a reliably functioning wifi is surprisingly hard to find. i also feel pressed to leave my nook after sitting in a small busy place for a few hours: i’m taking up the space of other customers. despite being a paying one myself, i am aware of the fact that a patronage that moves is the one that brings in the profit.
therefore, i have concetrated in finding a good place at home. a home office would solve several issues, but our apartment is an attic studio above the rooftops of helsinki. there are nooks created by tilted ceilings, but no separate rooms where a desk could be fitted. the layout (not the size) of the apartment prevents a dining table, let alone a desk significant enough for spreading out work sheets. as much as i love the serenity of our home, it isn’t exactly work friendly.
lately i have spent my days sitting on a bar stool next to our kitchen window. i moved from the sofa because my arm hurt constantly. and i am thrilled with the result. the stool doesn’t appear comfy, but my shoulder pain is gone. there is plenty of light and for my more photosensitive days i can close the blinds. i have a view of the roof, chimneys and the bell towers of a church over our small terrace. it is actually quite comforting and definitely not bad as an "office" view.
what kind of an environment do you like for work?