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Work happens elsewhere. Home is where I shout at the kids

I have, for reasons too protracted to go into here, been working at home for most of the past week.

It's a tricky brief to master because no matter how conscientious you are there is inevitably a teacher's-left-the-room feeling to the experience (1). Checking my emails first thing in the morning I can't help but let my eye wander to follow what's happening in the Frasier repeats on Channel 4. And in the afternoon I possibly spend more time than I should trying to work out what should be the next song on The Chain on Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe's 6 Music show. And I've found myself loading the dishwasher more often than I do on my days off. (Although this may be linked to the number of times I raid the larder.)

The thrill of all of this fades quickly, though. It turns out you can hear Suede's new single once or twice too often (2). And I miss the Algonqinesque repartee that passes for idle chat on the Herald features desk. (Because Dorothy Parker and the New Yorker set were always discussing Dr Who and the digestive system of seagulls.)

But I suppose it may also owe something to the fact that, a short period as a freelance aside, my entire working life has meant me getting up in the morning (or evening) and going somewhere else to clock in. I've worked on building sites, on the bins, in bookstores and in offices. Work happens elsewhere. Home is where I shout at the kids and stockpile glossy magazines that I mean to get round to reading one day (3).

That said, it doesn't seem so long ago that we were reading stories about how in the webbed-up 21st century we'd all be working from home. That hasn't happened yet. The latest figures I can find suggest around 1.3 million people in the UK work from home – a decent number but some way short of the majority. And, truth is, the only people I know in that position are working at filling in application forms because they've lost their job.

I presume there is some economic study which has examined the advantages and disadvantages of "home hubs" (as management types probably call it), full of equations such as "reduction in heating, power and rent set against time lost as staff end up watching repeats of Location, Location, Location".

No? Really? Hmm, I can foresee a nice little sofa-based consultancy study in that. I really must get on to it. But after Cash In The Attic has finished, obviously.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Obviously I'd prefer it if you didn't tell my editor about this.

[2] You'll want my opinion, naturally. It's OK but it wouldn't have found a place on Dog Man Star.

[3] So if you're looking for back issues of Monocle or Intelligent Life I've probably got them somewhere. Near mint too.

Twitter: @TeddyJamieson

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Families

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