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Remotely or office-bound? A work dichotomy.

7th July 2016


I’ve been working as a freelancer since Day 1 of my career. After obtaining 2 degrees and following several work and study experiences abroad, I started working for myself giving myself 6 months to “succeed”. By succeed I never meant becoming rich overnight: the first month alone was so hard I had to rely on savings and my family for help. And you know what? That’s OK – you sometimes go down to the bottom of the pit to then go up to sky (which is my take of Thomas Fuller’s “It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth” A Pisgah Sight of Palestine (1650). Or listen to Florence and here take.

I’ve always liked solo sports: tennis or swimming when I was a teenager, now weightlifting and cross-fit as an adult (…adult! OMG). Nevertheless, I think of myself as a good team player, provided objectives are clear and tasks are clearly allocated – as a translator and interpreter, I may work in my office but I’m part of a chain of processes that require coordination and work ethics. The good thing though is being your own boss and making decisions – despite them being wrong at times – and the blame always falls on Y O U. Phew.

The natural evolution of my business has brought about changes and more fixed clients that rely on my services on a rather regular basis – and often times require me to be on their premises. This paradigm shift had me thinking a lot and I decided that it was worth exploring the differences between working remotely vs working in the office to share them with you.

This is my assessment.

Working remotely (from home or else):


  • Flexible time – true. I sometimes find myself having a break just because I can. Then, I clearly have to work until 1am
  • Savings – I mean, no travel, no temptations…
  • Easy food prepping – unless you’re a slave of chocolate and comfort food, you can really be healthy
  • Time to organise chores + daily activities – I’m thinking post office or bank, GP…
  • Ability to rely on a familiar environment with all you need – no stress, right light, right everything.
  • Easy commuting (!)
  • Comfy outfit – far from saying I translate in my pyjamas (all the time), but it is a component.
  • More rest / power naps where necessary – mainly lie-ins in the morning but they’re counterbalanced by all-nighters sometimes…

Photo 05-01-2016, 07 06 49Cons

  • Overworking – crazy times. See the all-nighter above.
  • Pyjama syndrome – you may end up not getting changed but to go to bring the rubbish out…
  • Procrastination – Facebooking, vaguebooking… it’s never affected me, really. But I do have moments when I’m really not focused and being at home does not help.
  • Food slacking / indulging – see above: the fridge is just a few steps away…
  • People popping in – my mum rings the bell all the time and then the postman, and then the gas reading people, and so on…
  • Internet shopping – this really has not location for me 😀

Working in an office (not your house):

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 10.33.26Pros

  • Interaction (yay!) – the  good thing of having colleagues around you? Chatting and interacting with others is stimulus.
  • Focus on tasks – entering the “work zone” is supposed to be a driver for success and focus. And a way to help you unplug when you leave the office.
  • Being in the know about company / colleagues moods – people are the heart of every company. Even if it’s a co-working space, knowing what others think is always beneficial, and even more when you’re a team player.
  • Routine / biorhythm clock adjusted – they say your body gets used to a routine. Get up, breakfast, train, work, lunch… may be tedious but it’s supposed to help you feel safe – and it’s great for your biological clock.
  • Office / home separation – as mentioned above, once you close the office door, you go home and enter “me time”.
  • Learning from others – always going away with something new to learn.


  • (Forced) Interaction – that day you’ve got PMS or the chatty colleague on the wrong day? Sound familiar?
  • Procrastination/distraction – I never could study at the library. The fascination of people watching, the curiosity of guessing what they’re studying… the office is the same.
  • Noise – some people are distracted by other people’s chewing. While I’m not that fussy, the extremely loud typing is a deal-breaker for me…
  • Tiredness – I travel a lot for work. And some days are naturally tough so I tend to find it hard to concentrate when I’m really tired. And in my line of business, a focused mind is key.
  • Weather – hot and cold, tube and trains, highs and lows. I tend to fall sick often because of the temperature changes. And then it translates in sick leave.
  • Costs: food, travel… – while I’m a big fan of restaurants, the bank is breaking easily.
  • Eating habits – eating out is OK but when it’s a daily habit it can really disrupt your body balance. I’m struggling with this..
  • Need to have daily fresh clothes (!) – sounds very much like a #firstworldproblem but it’s true. My local laundry place is getting richer as we speak…

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 11.32.27

What do you think? What’s your take?

Any tips or ideas to improve and find a balance? Ping me!

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