The Art of Working from Home, Part Two

The Art of Working from Home, Part Two

 

With those who are able to now working from home, we asked our contributing writers to offer the WFH wisdom they've accrued over years of fruitful freelancing.

Illustration by Marie Assénat.

 

The transition from working in a bustling office to a quiet kitchen can be a strange one, so we reached out to our stable of contributing writers (all of whom have well-established home-working routines), asking for their advice on how to make the most of working from home. Here is Part Two. 

 

 

Leanne Cloudsdale

My daily threads have changed a lot since I started writing from home 7 years ago. The novelty of wearing a scruffy old linen bathrobe and being part of the great unwashed wore off after about 18 months. These days I like to feel as though I could safely answer an impromptu video call (or the front door) without frightening anyone, so I shower early and pull on white jeans, chunky wool socks, a white t-shirt and a pair of truly knackered Birkenstock sandals (my official indoor slippers). Depending on the weather, I'll add a cashmere cardigan or an unbuttoned shirt (never ironed for home-working, always just blasted with the hairdryer). It's a formula that works for me. 

I'm useless without a stash of fig rolls. I've not drunk anything caffeinated for around 18 years, so sugar is my main stimulant (I used to mainline a full packet of dark chocolate digestives every day). Without the biscuits, I struggle to power through the late nights and quick turnaround deadlines, so other than a strong wifi connection, they are my absolute non-negotiables. 

 

Tony Sylvester

There was a time when I was doing a lot more freelance writing, and if there was an impending deadline of some magnitude I would book myself into The Rookery - the hotel in Smithfield. I would sit at the writing desk in my room, zero distractions, imagining I was some sort of low rent Graham Greene. 

These days, my writing uniform is basically identical to my home uniform. I don't like to wear outside clothes at home, so there's a lot of pyjamas, robes and house shoes. I sit at the dining room table in the bay window, fantasising I'm Ian Fleming at Goldeneye, minus the cigarette holder. 

In terms of habit, I have to write early, as close to sun up as possible. Reading, research and editing is reserved for the afternoon. And like most people, coffee is the key. A slightly uncomfortable chair goes a long way, too. 

 

Lena Dystant

It’s a huge privilege to do what you do from the comfort of your home, I feel this acutely on the odd occasion I find myself on the tube at 8.15am.

I don’t have a fixed work from home routine as such. I understand that many freelancers need strict rules and boundaries, which makes complete sense, but the reason I engineered a work life away from an office was a lifelong aversion to timetables and unpredictable bursts of productivity with no respect for the clock.

There are certainly some things that have become regular parts of my working from home life.  Whatever I wear has to be super comfortable but respectable enough for a wander to the shops and the possibility of bumping into someone you know. Drawstring waist linen trousers, a well cut pair of sweatpants, a soft breton, faded vintage tees, those amazing old Hanes or Healthknit waffleknit long sleeves. Definitely no denim or knitwear indoors; I like the heating on high. Socks are a personal obsession, indoors socks tend to be loud, cheerful and for some reason, knee-length, while outdoors are 25 pairs of the same perfect mercerised cotton rib socks (navy,) discovered a couple of years ago.

Working from home is an excuse to buy decent stationery (Postalco) and surround yourself with books and magazines, vital research material and definitely not the result of hoarding tendencies. Other than that, I have a cupboard full of heavyweight banko ware cups that make coffee feel fancy, a supply of Tate’s Whole Wheat dark chocolate cookies and I always, always stop for a proper lunch. 

 

Simon Crompton

As a man now working at home, cast adrift from the routine of travel, meetings and stimulation, I would like to offer a brief prayer to the man that invented the shawl-collar cardigan. Whoever he might be. 

 It is simply a piece of design genius to have created a piece of clothing that is simultaneously a bathrobe and a blazer. That's as comfortable as an old sweatshirt, yet considered an item of elegant menswear. I am, by some species of magic, seen as dressing up when I wear one on with jeans and a T-shirt, rather than down. As long as I don't reveal the dirty tissues in the pockets. 

 I have a few of these cardigans now, the first of which was a rather unexpected present from one Michael Drake. That one is much loved, and a little holey. I am wearing it today, and I both feel and look dressed up, ready for business. I am sinfully comfortable, yet also enjoy a little of the sartorial pleasure that comes from good clothing - that often came from being in town every day, browsing. So thank you.