The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Working from Home

“Be a ghost. Haunt the bastards, but not enough for them to exorcise you”. 👹

Adam Grundy
8 min readFeb 26, 2020

We all remember our first job so well that we could be airdropped into the building and pick up where we left off.
For me, it was cleaning a butchers at 14. My mum would drop me off after school and I’d sweep and mop floors. I’d wash all the metal trays that had been used to display meat on. I’d wipe all the surfaces ready for tomorrow’s business.

On Saturdays I’d get to come in really early and wash everything. Floor grids, delivery vans. Fridges with hanging pig and cow and chicken carcasses, with blood-stained metal walls that needed oiling (for some reason!?), before beginning my usual evening duties once the shop shut. My hands were red raw. I was exhausted. I dreaded school ending and work beginning.

All for £2 an hour.

Scrubbing blood from under your nails every day is an experience I will hopefully never go through again. I take solace knowing the building is being bulldozed. They did great steak pies, but revenge tastes just as…meaty.

I’m older now. After working in an office for a number of years, in a bid to keep me on-board and happy (There was no more progression and the pay was…lacking), my manager asked if I would like to work from home once a week. The system we used and the work we did was pretty unique in the office, and to my benefit the company at the time were focusing on bringing in more staff, so having capable, trust-worthy folk able to work from home was a win/win.

For a number of reasons, this eventually morphed into working from home full-time.

A lot of people haven’t worked from home before. Perhaps you’ve thought to yourself, I’d like to give that a go. Once a week? Twice? Thrice? Fourice!? Maybe you’ll love it, and relish the opportunity. Maybe you’ll hate it, and start to miss the office culture.

Before you approach your boss and take the plunge, there’s some things to consider.

Patron Saint of ‘Hi I sent my invoice 30 days ago please pay’ — Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

The Good

Bye bye commute

There is no better feeling (maybe a blowie) than knowing the work day starts at 9:30am, and that you can wake up at 9:25am and be at your desk before everyone else has arrived. I’m obsessed by punctuality, and a great believer that if an employer has paid for me to work for X amount of time, they’re getting it — and no more…unless more £’s show up.

Public transport is a killer, and while arriving late due to a dodgy train has never bothered me (I’m late on your time), getting home 3 hours later than expected because of congestion kills the little pilot light of happiness still burning away inside.

There’s none of that working from home. You get up, you work, you log off. And if you’re lucky to be on a guaranteed wage, you should be spending your free morning in bed, not on a train with a load of sick poshos.

Bye bye stress

The office is a stressful place. While generations gone will bang on that “in my day I couldn’t stay at home, I just got out there!”, times have changed and the modern office is a factory (apart from actual factories which are, by all accounts, horrendous. Fuck you Amazon. Fuck you Sports Direct).
We’re all trapped in a building 9–5, but certain companies seem to go out their way to making sure your time inside the holding cell are as unenjoyable as can be. But please be productive!

This depends on the office. Perhaps you work for a company that considers your mental health. Perhaps you work for a company that has no windows and a dead rat trapped in the men’s toilets.

In one company-wide meeting, top management referred to our work as the sausage factory. To our faces.

If there’s an option to work away from that atmosphere, from that toxic management? Go for it. Fuck ’em. You’re there for your output, not to endure the corporate circus. Not to have people constantly monitoring your every move. Did you talk to someone for too long? How long has he been in the toilet? “What time do you call this then!?”

We’ve all got enough on our plates. We work best without the added stress office culture is ingrained with.

No more idiots

There is nothing better than not having to deal with some of the absolute lunatics employed in an office. No more inane chat about what Mary is doing this weekend with her daughter and cat. No more football chat with THE LADS. No more turning down after-work drinks ’cause you can’t stand the thought of being within 5km of the office at any time. No more searching for anything resembling a shred of similar interests among your co-workers.

Trapped in the minuscule kitchen, waiting for water to boil, you and a fellow idiot, just staring at the kettle. Tapping the spoon on your lip. You left your phone at your desk.
“Yeah you?”
“Yeah good thanks”

Boil please. Please boil. Please click. Please be done. Oh thank God. Stir. Milk
“You need the milk?”

Stir stir stir. Done

I would rather pour the kettle over my bollocks than be in that situation again.

Waiting for that email response for five days. Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

The Bad

It’s incredibly lonely.

You are no longer in the trenches. You’re in the army, sure. You’re enlisted, but they’re all still there, without you. If you’re naturally suspicious, you can find yourself wondering what exactly is being said about you, if anything.

I was never a fan of sending ‘tickets’ or emails about issues I knew I could resolve if I just got off my arse and asked the person. When you’re working from home, there’s none of that. You lose that direct line, mostly. And if you’re freelancing, this can cost money. I work mostly with assets now, and if there’s a delay in a reply sending me more of them, I’m not earning anything.

But if you’re not replying to emails, or making sure your Google Chat is always online, you’ll be accused of not making yourself available.

Chinese whispers, but I heard of one company in London who would log your typing, and if it stopped for a period of time, a light in the office would go off and they’d ring you up. Imagine you’re just turtle-heading, getting a bell from some jobsworth. No thanks.

Hello stress

At first, I found myself trying to over-compensate on the amount of files I could get through. Making sure your client/employer can see your output hasn’t dipped in quality or quantity is extremely important. You don’t want to give them a reason to call an end to the agreement.

The longer I spend working from home I’m reminded that if this was the office, I’d probably be getting up and having 14 coffees and 3 shites. There’s none of that now — I’m paying for the toilet paper and coffee!!! — but it’s equally important to have regular breaks.

Further on in to our agreement, I was allowed to relocate and that’s when the stress turned up to the max baby. The desperation to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The lack of meetings, while paltry in the office, meant decisions would be made on behalf of the team without me there. I had strong opinions about how things should be run, but was reduced to being a rule-taker. Obviously, this depends on the company and your team. So on the one hand you need to look after yourself and switch off, but you can’t let your participation drop just because you’re not there.

Be a ghost. Haunt the bastards, but not enough for them to exorcise you.

Social life

After-work drinks are a thing of the past. If you’re used to being social after a long week of slog and enjoy downing a few pints before heading home, say goodbye. This usually sets your weekend off in an odd way — you’re now having to head out when everyone is usually heading home.

You’re not dying to get home, you’re dying to leave the house.

Watching my bank account — Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

The Ugly

Your freedom eventually becomes your prison.

When I left the office permanently and began working from home full-time, the resentment I had for every inch of my working day I thought were part of me being exclusively office-based, followed me home. I despised the office walls, the lack of windows, the grotty kitchen. I hated the same god damn screen and the same awful chair.
But now it’s my screen. It’s my chair. It’s my walls (rented) and my grotty kitchen. I didn’t hate the office, I hated the office culture.

A lot of friends will glow about the benefits they receive. The consideration when it comes to their schedule. The understanding that, you’re there to deliver, but that your mental health comes first.
They talk about raises, of company-wide away days. Of optional training and the ability to move up the ladder. Working at home, alone, you lose that ability to connect and scope your opportunities.

I’ve been in the office and watched home-workers call in or pester by email, and I’ve seen the reaction of management. When you’re in the office, when you’re on the team, you’re all on the same side. When you flip over, it’s hard to forget the reactions it got. So perhaps you start making a few decisions without consulting others, which could have some consequences.

I realised, I didn’t hate working in an office, I hated working in that office.

I get very bored very easily, and being inside my flat all day has undoubtedly sent me loopy, and yet I can’t really work elsewhere. If your work is a lot more fluid, absolutely take advantage of coffee shops and libraries (big buildings where you rent a book. Act now before a Tory closes yours!). Change your location, even if it’s just from desk to kitchen table. Take a shite if you want while sending an email.
Do anything you can to get away from that computer screen, at the very least. It will fry your brain. It will bring you down to a low point. And worst of all, it’s your bedroom. It’s your kitchen. It’s where you live. No escape. No surrender. Please reply to my email re: invoice 3/12/2019 plz!


Working from home on a regular basis might not be for everyone. For me and my situation, it works. Or worked. Not every system in the workplace allows employees the function of working from home, but companies that can, should. But there also needs to be a shift in what companies consider as results. Which will never happen, as capitalism feeds on our souls and the victims are the people on the front lines.

At home or in the office, you’re fucked.



Adam Grundy

Creative writing from under a dark cloud. Filmageddon person of interest ( A pro TV watcher (real job). UK-based. Silly.