Thursday, August 6, 2009

Appearance and the pro

Working from home offers a lot of advantages: one, there’s being able to use the time you would have spent commuting to actually sitting down and working (in my case, writing); two, there’s the healthy stash of food at arm’s reach; and three, there is no time to get oneself soaked in the rain (or in sweat because of the sun).

You accomplish more because you have more time; and that’s really all there is to it. No problem? Here’s something to think about: doesn’t the casual setup of working at home make one seem a bit less professional? Donning house clothes and forgetting to fix one’s hair are some examples—can you imagine going to work looking like that? Not to mention there’s a constant temptation to procrastinate: What’s a few more pages of this novel when you’re saving three hours for skipping the daily commute, right?

The big problem with working right at home (maybe also: “feeling right at home in the office”?) is that there is the tendency to forget oneself: you may be professional but you don’t look it. How could you when you’re writing in your laptop on a bed? Or wearing your hair like Ronald McDonald? Or simultaneously glancing at a transcript and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

With the kind of mess you make working at home, it’s hard to see how you get anything done. Some people say appearance doesn’t matter—one can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t say a person in a bathrobe is any less productive than a person in a suit, and that may be true in every way, except it doesn’t change the fact that the bathrobe still looks less pro.

Working from home is good—it just has to be done with some finesse! A casual setup doesn’t necessarily have to be a pigsty; the way you prepare yourself for work (wherever you work) is also a part of being professional—it’s a duty! Not only because appearance affects attitude (I think it really does) but also because it’s a way of treating your work with respect it deserves. After all, what would you be without your occupation? Bored!


sunnyday said...

This reminds me of the time a former househelper assumed I was headed out of the house to go off somewhere one morning, as I was out of my pajamas and slippers (specifically, i was in blouse, jeans, flats). When she realized I was staying put at home (to work, of course), she was puzzled. "Bakit ka nakabihis? Para kang lalabas..." "Siyempre tatamarin akong magtrabaho kung naka-pambahay ako!" I replied with a smile :-)

Along with my decision to go freelance many years ago was the deliberate reminder to myself that self-discipline would become a struggle. So I heeded a good friend's advice: keep your hours of work the same. By 8:30 (I switched it to 8 at some point) you should be done with breakfast, dressed and ready to start working -- on your computer. And that's just what I did. I faltered from time to time because, as you mentioned, there are so many temptations at home (mine was the TV, hehe)! But it was such a confidence-booster to succeed each day in starting the work day punctually. Working at home doesn't mean being lazy. Far from it!

Like you, I do appreciate that food is more accessible when working from home, hehe.

Oh btw, here's a tip: work on a surface that's NOT the bed ;-) If you must, place your laptop on the floor, a coffee table, a couch... then work your magic on the keyboard. But sit (and lie) on the bed with your computer, and pretty soon the zzzzs will come (take it from me heehee!!). What I do when I have to is put the comp somewhere then take a "power nap", then go back to work rejuvenated :-D

Keep up the good work!!

sunnyday said...

Who painted the visual you used? Where do you get the paintings you post on your blog? They're beautiful.

petrufied said...

yeah sunnyday! i learned the hard way about working on the bed hahaha. XD

About the painting I sure hope it was mine. This one was painted by Gerard Terborch, Dutch painter in the 1600s. It's oil on wood and called "Woman Writing a Letter." I'm no art connoisseur; I found this image using Google search. :P

I think the thing in the background is a crib? Makes me think this woman is writing to her hubby (or a friend who is away), while the baby is snoozing--proving that even the busiest homemakers and moms find time to reflect on their day, and they do it without looking ragged. so why should i be? ;)