The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - CONTENTS - WORDS: MICHAEL JA­COB­SON

Heaven knows how many years In­former slaved away in of­fices. Rest as­sured there aren’t many in­car­na­tions of of­fice lay­out, phi­los­o­phy and op­er­a­tion that your cor­re­spon­dent hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced.

I’m talk­ing open plan, closed plan, booths and bays, desks ar­ranged into squares, cir­cles, tri­an­gles and do­dec­a­he­drons, room di­viders that peo­ple kept fall­ing over and chill-out zones that no one ever used for fear of be­ing con­sid­ered much too chilled for their own good, let alone the com­pany. Each new of­fice plan lasted about as long as ev­ery of­fice plan pre­ced­ing it, with a zeal­ous hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer al­ways on hand to over­see the process be­fore scut­tling away into shame­ful obliv­ion when ev­ery­thing went nuts up a few months later.

It’s hardly a se­cret as to why of­fice plans don’t last. It’s be­cause of­fices con­tain peo­ple, and peo­ple are hor­ri­ble. We have com­pet­ing per­son­al­i­ties, ques­tion­able mo­tives and dif­fer­ent ways of work­ing, none of which changes by sim­ply re­ar­rang­ing the fur­ni­ture.

Any won­der then that In­former is lov­ing work­ing from home, even if the boss (me) and my em­ployee (also me) don’t al­ways get along. Last week one of me let the other me’s tyres down and we were both late for Cronut Fri­day.

Tricky re­la­tion­ships aside, the main scourges of work­ing from home are dis­trac­tion and pro­cras­ti­na­tion. I hope the fol­low­ing ob­ser­va­tions help with your own work­place/ work sta­tus tran­si­tion.

One plea­sure of the home of­fice is play­ing your favourite mu­sic loudly, con­stantly and with im­punity. Call me a con­trary old coot, but in my of­fice days I was never a fan of the tripe piped through the PA, al­though my big­gest peeve was work­mates lis­ten­ing to mu­sic through head­phones. You know th­ese gorm­less bas­tards, don’t you? You have to yell to get their at­ten­tion, they never an­swer the phone and they’re for­ever in­ter­rupt­ing you, say­ing “lis­ten to this” while bran­dish­ing some dis­gust­ing, wax­coated, apos­tro­phe-shaped bit of plas­tic fresh from their own lug­holes that they be­lieve you’ll hap­pily, and sans hy­giene, bung in your own.

Re­gard­ing work­wear, In­former was ex­cited about the prospect of spend­ing the day in my PJs, run­ning gear, the oc­ca­sional toga or any­thing other than con­ven­tional of­fice at­tire. Iron­i­cally, I soon dis­cov­ered that I work more ef­fi­ciently when at least some ef­fort has gone into my clob­ber. Last Thurs­day, for ex­am­ple, I wore a mank­ini. It looked great, but it took Mrs In­former hours to tweeze the bum­fluff strands from my of­fice chair.

One pit­fall of the home of­fice is the prox­im­ity of the re­frig­er­a­tor and pantry. If In­former ate as of­ten as In­former thought about it, In­former couldn’t fit in In­former’s home of­fice, let alone work in there. Be­ing a highly tuned ath­lete, how­ever, I al­le­vi­ate oc­ca­sional binges with a re­ju­ve­nat­ing run around the block pretty much when­ever I please. You can’t do that in a nor­mal of­fice. And nei­ther can you have ev­ery Tues­day off. Apart from the Mel­bourne Cup, I reckon noth­ing good ever hap­pens on Tues­days, so no prizes for guess­ing which day is In­former’s pre­ferred RDO. Ah, bliss.

Fi­nally, as for an ac­tual timetable, In­former ad­vises ad­her­ence to that doyen of work­place ef­fi­ciency, Larry the Ca­ble Guy, whose motto is straight­for­ward and wise, if not English: “Git ’r done.” Sure, work­ing from home has its is­sues, but with a lit­tle com­mon sense you can set your own agenda, “get ’r done” and, like your old pal In­former, be as happy as Larry.


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