The office works. I don’t get the appeal of working from home

I love going to the office. I know you’ll think I’m weird. It’s accepted wisdom that working from home works. If your company allows you to work from home and your boss refuses to accept it, you should change jobs and find a boss who is willing.

It’s easy to see the benefits. No commute. There is no debate over who will stack the communal dishwashers. No co-worker will leave their phone on their desk while going to get coffee and the ringer will be turned up to the volume of a fire alarm.

Man, on the other hand, is a social being. We were not built for isolation.

Home or office? Well, we're all in the same place.

Home or office? Well, we’re all in the same place.Credit: iStock

In the past, working from home was the pursuit of a select sitcoms of the 80s and 90s Roseanne, the main character has a job selling magazine subscriptions, and she’s in the kitchen using the phone while the kids roll around her. There is no issue of feeling alone.

Granted, farmers have always lived solitary working lives: that’s why they’re often on the intercom radio in the cab of their harvester. We love their calls. I know some professionals – mainly accountants – who have been working from home for decades. Again, they had a bunch of customers coming in and handing shoeboxes full of receipts.

The main characters who have been working alone, at least in their purest form, are writers. No radio at work; no customers knocking on the door. Some might make the odd trip to a publisher’s office, but for the most part, their schedule is simple. They get up, go to a nearby room, and start typing—alone, all day, every day, for years on end.

Whether it’s a PhD, a novel, a heavy historical tome, or a screenplay, it takes special people to do it. They require a great deal of self-discipline and self-confidence. Many gave up their careers, some went crazy.

Of course, they can jump up and do some chores, and given the mental stress of writing, I’m sure many will.Flaubert wrote for seven years emotional educationbut by the end his bathroom was spotless.

This solitary labor is the only way in which literature can be produced. So, writers have no choice. They settled in what Dylan Thomas called “the craft or art of dullness exercised in the dead of night.” The same goes for other creative workers—painters, woodworkers, website designers, etc.

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