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Interview with Elisa Castagna: A Survivor’s Guide to Working from Home

Interview with Elisa Castagna: A Survivor’s Guide to Working from Home

It isn’t always easy working from home. Despite hating homework in our childhoods, homeworking is now considered the modern day employee’s dream. But is it as cushy as it seems? There are so many traps to fall into, from staying in bed too long to telling yourself you’ll start work after the morning TV shows finish, getting side-tracked washing the dishes so your partner doesn’t get home and shout at you or your cat spilling coffee all over your papers. Here, Elisa Castagna, Italian Language Assistant at Iglu.com, tells us how she gets the best out of herself armed with only a laptop.

1. What advice would you give to someone who has just started working from home?

You have to get into a routine. You should get up and get ready as if you were going to work so that you have already achieved something in the morning. This is a good way to mentally separate work and home life even if you can’t physically.

2. Is this the first time you’ve been a homeworker? How does it compare to your previous jobs and work environments?

Yes, this is my first job as a homeworker. Before working for Iglu as a translator from home, I worked in retail and office environments so had contact with clients and colleagues all the time. As a result, my current day-to-day life is very different from being up on my feet and interacting with people all day. Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone all day unless on the phone, until my husband comes home. Yesterday I didn’t even leave the house! Sometimes I go to the shop in the evening to get some fresh air. I have a park in front of my house so really I should go for a walk there on my lunch breaks.

3. Why did you choose to become a homeworker?

I love my job but I was living a bit far from the head office and I asked if I could have the choice to stay at home. Luckily, my company is very helpful and always looking at new ways to improve our work experience so they helped me arrange how to work from home. I think it’s better for me as I don’t waste time and money on travelling and they have a worker who is even more productive.

4. What does your typical day look like?

I get up at 7:00am, have breakfast, get ready and do a few chores in the house to start the day. Then, I log in into work around 8:30am so I can read emails and blogs. After that, I do some translations in the morning and social media in the afternoon or lighter tasks. I try to do different things and mix up the different kinds of tasks I have to do each day unless there is a deadline involved.

5. What would you do to improve your work environment or schedule?

The company checks my working environment a few times a year to make sure my conditions are good. Ok, they can’t really enforce when I take breaks but I must have a good desk and fully supportive chair and so on.

6. How long have you done it? How has it changed since you first started?

A year. My manager now works from home too so I need to go to the office even less but I still like going to have interactions with my colleagues.

7. Do you have any special space or furniture for working from home?

I have a work laptop from the company and full-time homeworkers are given a desktop setup from Iglu. I’ve never really had any technical issues like internet going down but in an emergency I can go into a café or just go in to work. Iglu gave me everything I need to work from home so I’m very comfortable. Of course, as I’m not a full-time homeworker, I don’t have to stay chained to my desk. I do have a dedicated workspace that meets all the requirements, but as I have a laptop, I’m free to move around the house. For example, my living room has better light in the afternoon so I prefer to go there for a change sometimes.

8. How do you stay self-disciplined and motivated?

We have monthly tasks set up by our manager and I set up my daily goals. It’s quite relaxed and I can plan ahead nicely throughout the weeks. It doesn’t annoy me that I work in the living room- it means I can keep checking social media campaigns or if I have a flash of inspiration, I can quickly do a little bit before I forget in the evenings or during the weekends. It’s still a full-time job so I need to be contactable 9-6. Sometimes I can plan my day around home tasks like hanging up the washing during a break.

9. Did you find working from home affected your mental/physical health, spending or other side effects you hadn’t considered?

I like the idea that I can go to the office and I’m not sure I would like to work from home full-time now. With Iglu letting me mix working from home and at the office, it has given me the best of both worlds. They were really supportive in making this happen by understanding my situation in that I lived so far from work and they made sure I have everything I need to do my job the best I can.

10. If you could give three basic rules for a homeworker, what would they be?

Try to maintain a schedule, including a lunch break.

Set up achievable daily tasks for yourself.

Maintain a good relationship with colleagues.

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