lizetta loves

Work from anywhere

Four years ago I rarely worked from home and I would never have considered working for a company that was fully remote. It’s amazing how times change. WFH life five days a week is not my ideal working situation. I don’t miss a lot of things about office life but some days I can go without seeing another human being other than Adam, and it’s not good for me and my mental health being couped up at home so much.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Southbank Centre

For a while I was working from a coworking space just 15 minutes walk away, which is what I’ve decided is the perfect length commute. Sadly that dream came to an end in November when I turned up one Monday morning to find the place had closed, permanently… with my laptop held hostage inside! I’ve not been able to find such a convenient alternative option, so back to home working it was.

Today I ventured out to work around other people and live the digital nomad dream. It was partly driven by the fact my internal connection has been playing up all week – thanks Three! – but also because a colleague was in London for a meeting so we had arranged to meet up. I often think about mixing up my work location, but keep finding excuses for why it’s easier to just stay home.

One of the downsides of course is travelling at rush hour, something I certainly don’t miss. I didn’t hit full on rush hour, opting to do a few bits at home before heading out, but the bus was pretty packed by the time we reached Elephant and Castle. The man in front of me had been to Greggs for breakfast, and I didn’t appreciate the smell of his morning butty. Fortunately I didn’t have far to go and traffic was on my side.

Royal Festival Hall was my chosen workplace for the day, until I discovered it was closed for refurbishment. Fortunately, Queen Elizabeth Hall was open instead and the sun was shining through the big windows as I setup my makeshift desk looking out towards the Thames. The Southbank is one of my favourite places in London, and I don’t get to go inside Queen Elizabeth Hall often as it normally only opens before events, so being able to work from there felt like a treat. One thing I didn’t bank on was there being a band doing a soundcheck and warm up. Fortunately I like a bit of background noise while working. When I discovered that there was a performance in the afternoon, I decided that after lunch with my colleague, I’d have to find somewhere else to work.

Looking up at the BFI Bar

And so to the BFI bar I headed. When I arrived there were a number of other people sitting in front of laptops, some alone some with others, so I didn’t feel like I wasn’t going to be welcome. The next couple of hours flew by, and before I knew it the music levels went up a few notches – it was 5pm and clearly that meant it was time for the weekend! I carried on working for a while as people came and went. Drinks before a film; catching up with friends; sitting with a pint and a book; I love seeing the different ways people use these spaces, even on a Friday evening when we’re led to believe we should all be down the pub, cheering the successes of the week or drowning our sorrows about the failures, trying to tell ourselves that next week will be better, and regretting that last pint on Saturday morning. Another thing I don’t miss about office life – the post work, forced fun with colleagues that you’ve spent all day with already.

There are times when I need the full desk setup at home with my second monitor, but today reminded me that there are benefits of having the freedom and flexibility that my employer both offers and encourages. I’m definitely going to try and introduce more days like today into my schedule – I may even be able to check out an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery at lunchtime – and live the remote worker dream.

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