Recently, I saw some news about how satisfied the Spanish population were with working from home. According to survey carried out by the CIS (Centre for Socialogical Research) in December 2020, 80% of people surveyed rated their experience as highly satisfactory, whilst 20% said that they didn’t like working from home because it was hard to balance their work obligations with their personal life, and they felt socially isolated.
After I read that, I thought about how my view of working from home has changed over eight and a half years. Because, as with everything in life, you need time to adapt to working from home, something self-employed linguists are very familiar with.
Goodbye ‘normal’ life, hello ‘lonely’ life
I started working from home in 2021, when I left my job as an in-house translator and Spanish department head at a translation company. Between translators, project managers and management there were about 50 employees in total, and it was non-stop.
After that, I found it hard to start working from home and set off on an adventure at my own pace with my own goals (even though it was what I’d wanted and what I’d chosen). On the one hand, I felt socially isolated: I went from sharing my days with lots of workmates to sharing them with just my cat. I was also used to other people setting the pace of my work, so I found it really hard to set goals and decide what my priorities were. So I ended my days feeling bitter, like I’d wasted my time.
Taking the reins
After my first year of being self-employed I was tired of living groundhog day, so I decided the time had come to make a change.
First off, I joined Asetrad. I think that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my professional life, as it showed me there were other people out there with the same worries as me. And it was (and still is) a wonderful way of learning about my profession.
Although being in virtual contact with other people was a help, I still felt the need to be in contact with real-life people in other ways, not just professionally. I joined sewing classes and then theatre classes.
Another thing that’s helped me get used to working from home has been doing exercise everyday. It might seem silly, but as I didn’t have to leave home I barely moved, which meant my body suffered.
Having made those three changes, I started to see things differently. But I still felt like I’d be far more productive if I wasn’t working from home. I was trying to recreate the life I had when I worked in an office.
The coworking era
I worked from a coworking for a while, and it was a great experience. But it was also the push I needed to undrerstand all the advantages of working from the comfort of my own home. Going out to work helped me to understand that, as a freelancer, my way of organizing my work and my day didn’t have to look like other people’s. It wasn’t better or worse, just different.
It took me five years and a lot of trial and error to reach that conclusion, so I totally get why some people aren’t happy with their new work normal. But over these eight and a half years working from home, I’ve discovered that this way of life has so many upsides, such as:
Better work-life balance.
The chance to live away from big cities.
Fewer CO2 emissions 🡪 fewer journeys.
Cleaner, less congested cities.
How about you? How do you find working from home? What do you like the most? And the least?