by Gary Stamper, CPC, MSIP, DSPS
If you google "Work at Home" today, you'll get about 3.7 billion results. Since COVID hit and changed the way we work, there's been a huge uptick in interest in the subject for obvious reasons.
Here's a very good article called "How to Work From Home Without Losing Your Mind" from Wired magazine that covers pretty much all of the pros and cons as well as the "what-to-do" and "what-not-to-do's" of working at home.
Long before COVID-19 struck the planet in full in early 2020, a lot of us had already been working at home. I've officially been working at home since I moved to North Carolina in early 2008.
First, there was designing and building a new home on a ridge overlooking the part of the beautiful Smoky Mountains. I designed two offices inside the home knowing we'd need the space and privacy for each of us as well as being able to "leave" work to keep our boundaries (mostly) and our sanity.
Then there were the multiple workshops my wife Anyaa and I were doing, individually and collectively, the planning, the graphics, marketing and advertising, each holding space for the other, getting people to and from the Asheville airport an hour away, and logistics for individuals, couples, and larger group gatherings, sometimes with groups of about 20 people in attendance. We had a 500 sq. ft. built-in workshop space (the temple) perfectly designed for that. Sometimes we'd travel internationally to the workshops we'd created and facilitated.
For me, there was also my education process of getting my Masters and Doctorate degrees, the writing of my book, the book tour, adding solar for the house and well, a water tower, creating a large organic garden, adding fruit trees and a 2-room root cellar built into the ridge slope.
After we amicably separated and I moved to Asheville, I was still working at home and have most always had a separate home office.
Working at home in Paradise
Now that I'm safely ensconced in Bocas Del Toro, Panama, I'm living in a one-bedroom apartment a block away from the beach and the remainder of my personal belongings are finally on their way.
Those include about 25 of my remaining original framed paintings and drawings which will eventually decorate the stark white walls of my apartment, my art supplies, tools and art papers, books, the remainder of my clothing, kitchen appliances (I need my Ninja blender, my air-fryer, and my crockpot) and personal items.
Also coming are my work tools consisting of a high-end gaming and graphics desktop computer with side-by-side dual monitors, a drawing tablet, battery backup, various range expanders, a stand-up adjustable desk, a circular lamp for ZOOM lighting and video conferencing... and more.
What I am paying here for a furnished 1-bedroom apartment one block from the beach is half of what I would pay in Napa for a single room with a shared bath. I bring this up because it nicely segues to a brief conversation about what to wear when you work at home in a Caribbean resort beach town.
(Brief conversation about "working at home" dress codes and more in a Caribbean beach town):
1. Shorts (of course), and a Tommy Bahama silk shirt work fine for me. A quick change to a swimsuit and a 3-minute walk to the beach and VOILA! Problem solved.
2. Relax. Everything takes longer here. Very little gets done right now, and learning patience is required. "Manana" does not mean tomorrow. It only means "not today."
3. Breaks. Take lots of them. Get up and move around at least every hour. Walk or take a bike to the beach. Go out to lunch once in a while. Meditate. Breathe...
4. Count your blessings. Working. from. home. is. a. blessing. stop. Too many people don't have that option, which is especially worrying in a time of precarious health care and disease.
I'm totally blessed to be fortunate to be working from home, especially because I haven't been ordered to by a boss who probably resents their "work-at-home" staff. But the genie has been released from its bottle and there's no going back for a great many of us.
Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Gary - The Right Reverend Dr. G