I am writing this from my childhood bedroom; the same place where I wrote my dissertation, graduated, and started my first marketing job. This very room, where I wrote all my A-Level coursework, is now carrying me through my placement with Idenna.
Living with your parents is not new but is becoming more common; so what does it mean to share an office with your mum and dad?
Across the UK, 20-somethings aren’t turning up to their graduation ceremonies but are logging on instead. The digital world now encompasses every aspect of our lives from work, to socialising, to education. My generation (Gen Z) is known for its existentialism, and it’s no wonder. It is difficult to maintain the mask of a ‘professional’ when your cat walks across your keyboard halfway through a meeting.
Sharing an office with your cat, partner or toddler can be frustrating, as the line between work and personal life blurs. Children and felines interrupting news reports have become a rather hilarious common occurrence (see here) but the thing with this line becoming thinner is that it humanises people; you realise that your boss isn’t just your boss, he’s also a father, family man and dog-dad. Working in your childhood bedroom, editing excel spreadsheets amongst Harry Potter posters and teenage photos, makes you realise that you are not just one thing.
Working environments should be embracing this multidimensionality. Not only does it make us better thinkers, but it also humanises our ideas. We are not robots after all, and there are other aspects to our lives that can bring a freshness to the ideas that we have at work. Working from home can be seen as an opportunity, if accepted that way.
My cat brought in a dead rat during my first interview post-graduation. I did not get the job, the interview feedback being ‘you seemed distracted during the interview, we advise that you would sit in an area that minimises such distractions and keep pets outside your working area’ aka a cat-free zone. This was very much contrasted by my first day in the real life Idenna office where I met Buster, the friendly office dog, and had a 30-minute conversation with a fellow Copywriter about her old Jack Russell. I now recognise that my cat has great intuition about jobs and was perhaps doing me a favour. Working environments do not have to be one singular thing, whether that be a fancy office or a childhood bedroom.
The working world, or at least the one that looked like season one of Mad Men, is changing. A city is no longer required for a city job; as long as I have a WiFi connection, I can have a meeting with a client in Liverpool whilst sat on the beach at Glasney. My commute is three steps from my bed, not the 1hr30 minute nightmare slog on the tube that my dad had to make in his 20s. This isn’t to say that working from home is replacing the office, but instead is creating opportunities as to what a working environment really could be – altogether less restricting. Already up to 79.9% of workers have expressed that working from home has improved employee wellbeing. The internet has cracked the world open again.
Working at Idenna, my first proper gig since university, has taught me that starting a job from home can be an opportunity if your working environment is open-minded (and will accept interruption from cats, children and dads). We are not robots after all, and thank goodness for it. I am very happy to say that I will be moving back to Cornwall in the next couple of weeks, however had it not been for the flexibility to work at home, I might not have ever gotten the placement at Idenna.
Living with your parents has a stereotype of stagnation – of Peter Pan-esque immaturity – but as the working world changes so does the stereotype. I think what this period of life has taught me so far is that opportunities can come from anywhere, even your childhood bedroom. And take it from me, I just turned 21.