I’ve never worked from home before. At least, not on a long-term basis. I’ve had those days where I’ve solemnly informed my boss “I’ll be working from home today”, but he and I both knew that meant the nanny had called in sick and I’d be spending the day looking after three children and checking my Blackberry at half-hourly intervals.
But now I’m officially working from home. I have a desk and everything. I even went to WHSmith and stocked up on Post-it notes, pens and a new stapler, smugly filing away the receipt to satisfy my accountant. It’s like starting a new school term only without the uniform.
Actually that’s not entirely true – I do have a uniform of sorts. It consists of the scraggiest tracksuit bottoms imaginable, teamed with a random selection of t-shirts and a pair of slippers. This attractive ensemble is topped off with terrifyingly wild hair, as I tend to start work before taking a break to have a shower. When my mother-in-law popped in recently I could tell she was unconvinced by my claims to have been working hard, when appearances suggested I had in fact been lounging on the sofa watching Jeremy Kyle. I hadn’t, of course I hadn’t (it was Loose Women).
I’ve read a few articles offering advice for those starting to work from home. I know that discipline is the key, that and not answering the phone or accepting invitations to lunches which go on all day. But nothing warned me of the most immediate truth about my new status; working from home makes you fat.
Today, for example, I began work at seven o’clock (in the afore-mentioned attire. It is now one in the afternoon and I have yet to get dressed – my mother-in-law may have a point) after a light breakfast. I filed a feature I’d finished over the weekend, tackled some emails then found myself sauntering back to the kitchen. After all, everyone knows that those in sedentary jobs should take regular leg stretches. I had a nice piece of cheese and that gave me an appetite for a packet of pickled onion Monster Munch hiding on top of the fridge (yet another advantage of my new working routine – no office meetings means no concern about bad breath. I could eat raw garlic and there’s no-one to mind but the cat.) I dashed off a couple of quick articles, pitched some feature ideas, then realised I’d been sitting at the computer for longer than the recommended forty minutes. Health and safety edicts tell me to take regular screen breaks, so I sashayed back into the kitchen and found myself checking the fridge to see if anything new had appeared in it. It hadn’t, so I scoffed another piece of cheese and followed it up with a couple of hobnobs. It’s lunch time now, although I have to confess I’m not terribly hungry.
It’s month four of my freelance life and much as I like working from home, I fear for my waistline if I continue to punctuate my paragraphs with lumps of cheese and packets of crisps. My husband has also indicated I should fear for my marriage if I continue to dress like a tramp and forgo my shower in the pursuit of artistic glory.
So I’ll end this blog post here and head upstairs for a shower. I might just have a slice of toast first…