By Anon, Feb 11 2014 08:04PM
British commentators once proudly described the United Kingdom as a' National of Shopkeepers'. But have we now become State of Home Workers. A recent Labour Force Survey revealed nearly 4 million of us earn our daily crust from the spare room, shed (converted), or corner of the living room we’ve managed to squeeze in a table for the laptop. Since 2007 there has been an extra 470,000 people working from home, an increase of 13 per cent. The Office for National Statistics believes these numbers are due to rise.
Those of us who do know that working from home has the advantages of, familiarity, convenience, comfortable sofa to take a nap on when late afternoon slump sets in, access to whatever’s in the fridge as well as all the herbal teas in the cupboard. It has business benefits of low or no overhead costs, whilst still tax deductible; one can make the journey from home to office by simply going through one door and happily avoid the mind-numbing mental torture of the daily commute. Lastly, the dress code can include (should you be inclined) Superhero costumes and pajamas; what’s not to like.
However it is well known that working from home can also represent a minefield of distractions. It pains me to admit my first experience of working from home was not a success. My failing stemmed from my weakness in the face of distraction. In my case, work related tasks were pitted against opportunities for endless procrastination. With very little effort I managed spectacularly to lose time on pointless Google searches, spying on the neighbours, looking longingly out of the back room window, considering (then eventually rejecting) the idea of doing some housework and watching Daytime TV.
In fact it was Daytime TV that was my eventual undoing. Working from home became a hostage to Daytime TV. In short I developed an addiction to Sky Digital, specifically American talk shows.
Jerry Springer, Rickie Lake, Montel, Donahue, Judge Judy, I knew them all. Each presenters with a skilful ability to goad clinically troubled and unselfconscious US citizens to brazenly paraded their alleged misdemeanours to studio and home audiences with an insatiable appetite for human misery. I was amongst those who delighted in the humiliation of these hapless and misguided people. I had become locked into watching an endless stream of jaw-dropping confessions, comical confrontations, vengeful retribution, all urged on by TV host and the nefarious voyeurism of the TV audience.
I should have been analysing client’s data or devising Programme strategy, instead I was watching the inevitable outcomes from inter-family infidelity, reveling in odious insult ridden rows and the fallout from frauds and fights. I watched with indifference as the suffering of real people was served up for my entertainment.
It took gut-wrenching will power to tackle my obsession. Selling the TV to Cash Converters (another story) also played a part.
But most of all, I eventually, but belatedly realised by watching and contributing to popularising these programmes I was displaying behaviour perhaps worse than the traumatic scenarios played out in the public glare. Most of us would agree there is something inherently and pathologically wrong in deriving enjoyment from witnessing the humiliation and discomfort of others. Yet because TV cameras were involved I was happy to accept otherwise. Ultimately it was nether right or proper that I suspended compassion and tolerance and replaced it with ridicule just because it makes me feel good and I could have a cheap laugh.
Now when working from home and I feel distraction creeping up on me, I go for a walk or slap myself and just get on with it. I now abstain from most TV, during the day and otherwise. My appetite for the voyeuristic form of public baiting of the type so prevalent on TV is a thing of the past. My desire for daily drama is now sourced from my own efforts to keep on top of my work.
Working from home has regained its appeal and purpose. Less TV distraction also means more food from the fridge, herbal teas to drink and the very occasional afternoon nap.