Exceptions to the rule

Before we begin, I just realized this month is the three-year-anniversary of one of the greatest moments in working from home history, when a professor doing a live BBC interview was interrupted by his two young, hilarious children on air.

The professor, Robert Kelly, and his wife, Jung-a Kim, came back to the BBC as a family to talk about working from home under lockdown. The kids are still funny and cute, but I feel for them all.


Late last month, when I started thinking about doing this limited run newsletter on working from home, I ran the numbers.

Was there really a big enough audience? Were there truly that many people working from home?

Now, the stats have flipped. At least within certain jobs and industries, the vast majority of us are now working from home.

Even if it’s only been a few days or weeks, you’re fast becoming an expert. And you’ve probably started to figure out how to make it all work for you.

For example, almost every working from home “best practices guide” out there warns things like:

  • Don’t work from bed!

  • Get up in the morning and take a shower.

  • Find a dedicated place to work and a door you can close behind you.

But some people are the exception to the rule. For example, I sometimes do work from bed.

My subconscious mind often works on problems while I sleep, and I want to jump right on them when I wake up. But our house is 100+ years old, and some of the floors are creaky (it’s on the “someday home improvement list,” I guess).

So, rather than risk waking up everybody else, I’ll just get started without even getting out of bed.

On the theory that this newsletter works best when we hear from readers, I’d like to ask you to share three things along these lines with us in the comments:

  1. Where do you find that you’re the exception to the conventional wisdom on working from home? Frankly, I think we’ve reached peak monolith in terms of standard WFH advice. It’d be great to hear from people who break the mold.

  2. What problems in your work from home setup have you already identified and solved—especially if they’re unusual solutions? (Or else: Are there specific challenges you’re facing now, that you’re hoping somebody else has figured out?)

  3. And finally, how are you holding up?

If you read the main Understandably newsletter, I’ve talked a bit about how the isolation was getting to me personally earlier this week.

And I know I’m not alone: it’s the major challenge most people talk about. We might be working alone and at home, but I really think we’re all in this together.