Two years ago, when I was still happily hammering away on my keyboard trying to patch together my Masters thesis, I always enjoyed a little morning ritual. Proofreading my previous day’s work, planning what to do on that particular day and starting to read some background material. Just me, books, a laptop, a mug of steaming coffee and a comfy pair of pyjamas. Other morning rituals such as taking a shower were happily postponed until a well-deserved lunch break. Now, nearly two years into a high-paced job a as consultant in renewable energy, I still find myself this Friday morning happily hammering away on my keyboard, this time on the very blog post you are reading. Laptop? Check. Mug full of steaming coffee? Check. Pyjamas? Naturally.
Writer turned socialite turned right wing pundit turned left wing pundit turned liberal blogger turned wealthy media mogul turned “money is not important, meditation is” happy hippy Arianna Huffington blogged this week about the increased burden of work-related stress and urged us all to relax and look for moments of “complete down time” like yoga, naps and the like.
I agree that with work life seeping more and more into our private lives via e-mail, smart phones, fluid work hours and international contacts, we need to make sure that the balance between working hours and non-working hours remains intact. But, where Mrs. Huffington advocates a full stop between work and off-time, I would propagate the opposite. If work encroaches upon your time off, make some arrangements with your boss to allow your private life to claw some of its time back
To each his own, but working from home at least one morning a week is my preferred solution. This allows me to do some desk research and modelling in my pjs, while my laundry is fizzing away in the background, and to mull over some hard, strategic decisions while going out for groceries.
But for this to work you need two things. Enough personal discipline to actually get some stuff done while working from home and an understanding boss that will accept and accommodate your wishes. My experience is that when you deliver good work on your home days and stress how much more energised you feel at the office, you can win over even the most ardent if I don’t see it, it’s not happening-types. In the end it’s all about the quality of your work and not the quantity of hours you are glued to your desk!