The Truth About Remote Working

The Truth About Remote Working
  • It’s so much easier to concentrate at home rather than in an office. Who knew your beloved co-workers were a huge distraction this whole time!
  • Few of your friends and family seem to believe you actually do any “real work”, and think you must be having a jolly good time chilling all day, rather than frantically trying to achieve your monthly targets.
  • Working from your bed is great at first, but unsustainable. Two main problems here: the strong urge to go back to sleep, and serious bum ache.
  • Your online shopping habits have dramatically increased – being around for every delivery slot is a liberating (and financially dangerous) experience!
  • People expect that you are free to chat and do chores in the daytime, which is not the case if you actually want to keep your job. Saying that, I won’t say no to a cheeky laundry load every now and then, am I right folks.
  • You never, ever wear pyjamas to work, because you fear that’s the road to sadness and despair.
  • Some days you do get desperate to hear a human voice and end up trying to keep your colleague on the phone for as long as possible.
  • Lunch is an extravagant affair with great attention to detail.
  • Tea and coffee is brought to you all the time without question because: “you’re working, I’ll do it”. Best five words in the English language.
  • Socialising on weekday evenings more than than once a week is now emotionally and physically possible.
  • Being one of those cool young professionals who work in coffee shops from their MacBook is not a thing. Commuting, spending money and being in a noisy environment cuts out most of the benefits of working from home!
  • 3 ‘o’ clock, 5 minute nap? Don’t mind if I do.
  • Co-worker messaging groups are the enemy of productivity. Every time your phone bings you have to check Whatsapp, then before you know it you’re halfway down your Facebook homepage. Please social media, have mercy.
  • You find yourself working overtime most days even though no-one is around to witness it. This is mainly to account for the nap and the Facebook stalk of an old school friend you did earlier that day though.
  • You basically become the cat’s servant, who begs you for food and attention all day.
  • Occasionally people catch you having in-depth conversations with the cat, and question if remote working is actually as healthy as you claim.

I hope you enjoyed this list blog about remote working, which I’ve been doing for nearly a year now as Marketing and Communication Manager of Pop My Mind.

Naturally everyone has different preferences towards working remotely or in an office setting depending on their preferred working style. I really enjoyed the benefits of working from home, but it has its disadvantages too, particularly missing out on the social side of work.

What do you think? Do you think it’s a dream come true, or super dull? Let me know in the comments!

For more work-related list blogs, check out You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When… and You Know You’re Used to the 9-5 When…

Thanks for reading!

You Know You’re Used to the 9-to-5 When…

You Know You’re Used to the 9-to-5 When…
  • Swearing has infiltrated into daily office conversation on all sides.
  • You have become a little too comfortable sharing personal info with your co-workers.
  • You have come to terms with the fact you are a bit of a hermit (and by “a bit” I mean “a lot”).
  • You have attended an appraisal, and discovered talking about yourself for an hour is an exhausting endurance test which should never be suffered by any living soul.
  • You have stopped entertaining the thought that attending more than one social activity on a weekday within a week is a possibility.
  • You voluntarily give yourself, and stick to, a strict bedtime.
  • You have allocated a generous portion of your monthly earnings to a “new work clothes” budget.
  • You have calculated just how much you earn (i.e. are objectively worth) a day.
  • You now own, of your own free will, a Boots Advantage Card.
  • You’ve realised that actually a lot of what your mum says is very sensible and wise.
  • You’ve read the first two chapters of every shelf-help book aiming to improve happiness, motivation and/or productivity that Google has recommended to you. And aside for not wearing make-up to work, you’ve not really followed any of the advice given.
  • Every time you meet your friends you say, “aww we should do this more often!” – but in reality, if you were to fit any more into your already packed schedule you would internally combust.
  • You have enjoyed the smug feeling of being able to buy your sisters drinks and not ask for it back in taxi money at the end of the night.
  • You feel like the ratio of how many coffees you make for people in the office, versus how many you accept, is the direct indication of your value as a human.
  • Spending the 24 days of your annual leave in the wisest way possible is a year-long headache.
  • The delay-start function on the washing machine has revolutionized your life.
  • You have realised that even if your friends and boyfriend eventually find out you’re really boring and leave you, you will always have food. And this brings you great comfort.
  • Despite being perfectly content in the job you have, you have decided to change your role drastically in order to be nearer to vegan cafes, loved ones and cats.

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like my other list-blogs You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When… and 20 Awkward Moments at Your First Grad Job! Thank you for reading.

First Impressions of Japan

First Impressions of Japan

Below are some observations of what I found unusual or interesting about Japan from my visit there. I hope they entertain you and give you a glimpse of my experience in this wacky and wonderful country! If you’ve been to Japan and want to add anything to this list or share your own stories, please do in the comments section, I’d love to hear about it.

 
• People are really polite and go out of their way to be helpful, to the point where it can even become inconvenient, such as showing you how to get on a train you don’t want or directing you how to take the best photograph.
• If you ask for directions, you will probably be led in person right to your destination.
• Most people are very petite and it is rare to see someone slightly overweight, making it impossible to fit in as large westerners!
• There are vending machines absolutely everywhere, selling every kind of soft drink imaginable as well as beer, cigarettes, chocolate and even cooked food.
• The main train stations are massive, and we got lost more than once whilst trying to find the right exit.
• Each train station has its own little jingle which plays when a train arrives. Lots of these are from well known songs, and some can be quite majestic.
• In rural areas especially, there are lots of cyclists who never use the bike paths and choose to disturb pedestrian walkways. Instead of ringing the bell to ask you to move, they artfully weave in and out of the people who are walking.
• There is matcha tea flavoured everything!
• The toilets range from being very high tech (with self-opening, self-flushing, music playing and rinsing capabilities) to basic squat toilets. Sometimes in one bathroom there is a choice of both to suit what people are most comfortable with.
• Every street is lined with loads of cables and power lines, which make quite impressive silhouettes in the evening.
• Most things, such as shrines, shops and museums, close early around 4 or 5pm outside the city centre, making lazy lay-ins impossible.
• Except for in certain night-life areas, in the evenings the streets are completely silent and barely anyone is around.
• Women dress very fashionably – mostly in loose, plain clothing – and have immaculately clear skin.
• People can smoke in bars and drink on the street, which takes a while getting used to.
• People rarely talk on the train, but often have a nap instead. I also didn’t see anyone eat or drink at the station or on the trains.
• Of all the Japanese manners I learnt before arriving, very few were followed by modern Japanese people, such as not displaying public affection or ordering the same drink in the first round.
• If in doubt, nodding and smiling gets positive feedback in all social interactions even if you can’t say anything other than “sorry”, “please” and “thank you”.
• Despite there being no rubbish bins to be found, the streets are very clean and tidy. Our hosts were strict on waste disposal and it seems to be taken very seriously here.
• The rural landscape consists mainly of forested areas instead of the meadows, farmland and shrubbery of the UK countryside. It is very beautiful.
• People are obsessed with cute animals here since pet ownership isn’t as commonplace – meaning cat, hedgehog and owl cafes are common! However animal welfare for both pets and livestock is questionable…
• Every single temple and castle we visited had been burnt down due to lightning or war and rebuilt.
• Food is either soft, sticky or slimy. Finding hard food in a meal is a rare treasure!
• The Japanese diet relies heavily on rice, which constitutes for the bulk of both savoury and sweet food.
• Zebra crossings alert you that you may walk by playing various bird noises.
• Ponds often have thriving communities of terrapin and koi fish who beg for food by gathering under bridges and opening their mouths.
• You can buy a decent meal out for £7.
• As a hobby or treat, Japanese people hire traditional kimonos and accompanying outfits, and walk around pretty parks and temples in them taking selfies.
• Animals are huge, especially butterflies, wasps, fish, crows and ants. Strangely the cats are still skinny though.
• People seem to be quite pious and often visit shrines and temples to pray. There are all sorts of good luck charms you can buy from shrines to help with love, study, wealth, family and health.
• Nothing is done by halves in Japan, and everything from adverts to shop signs to themed cafes are taken to the extreme by being loud, bold and obvious at all times!

 

Read more about my travel experiences such as what you come to appreciate living in Cambodia, or Misa’s story of starting a business as a young Cambodian woman in rural Battambang.

 

Thanks for reading!

You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When…

You Know You’re Becoming a Responsible Adult When…

• You don’t feel the urge to excuse yourself to the room at large every time you go to the toilet.

• You start thinking that owning a house may actually be a good investment (as opposed to cutting into your travel budget).

• You now own a decorative candle which you never intend to light.

• You no longer feel self-conscious when wearing completely black outfits. In fact, you embrace the style wholeheartedly.

• You can no longer stomach large quantities of sweet or fruity drinks on a night out, and have developed a strong aversion to amaretto.

• You have managed to pay your own way at meals out with parents (although it still felt a little strange).

• Nine times out of ten, the idea of an evening in is far more exciting to you than a night out.

• You finally understand what “that Friday feeling” is.

• Your desires now include having a good credit rating and a house plant.

• You have planned the date of your decision whether to have children or not (and mildly dread it).

• More than once, you have referred to teenage boys as “youths”.

• You are beginning to appreciate the rewards of having a clean house, despite losing out on such thrills as discovering forgotten fajitas underneath the laundry basket.

• You have resorted to talking about the weather when conversation topics were painfully low.

• You now refer to your female friends as “women” instead of “girls” or “bros”.

• When selecting wine, your immediate choice is not necessarily the cheapest one.

• You have established a deep love and duty towards Aldi and have been spreading its teachings ever since.

• You have become acutely aware of your dwindling metabolism and have done what you always swore you would never do – take up jogging.

 

If you like this list blog then check out my other one on 20 awkward moments at your first grad job. I’ve also written a quick practical guide on how to be lead a more fulfilling life if you want to have a gander.

Thanks for reading!

A Guide to Modern British Manners

A Guide to Modern British Manners

British etiquette is often difficult to understand and put into practise for people who have not spent long in Britain (and for a good portion of the British population too). However, being polite is important in any culture to communicate properly and to be able to get what you want without hassle. Although these manners are flexible and do not apply in more informal situations, they are still worth knowing for this reason.

I have written what I consider to be the important rules of politeness below. Hope you enjoy and feel free to give me your take on what British manners are in the comments below!

The Three Golden Rules

• Say the magic words. If you ask for anything, say “please”. If anyone gives you anything at all, whether it is your change, a cup of tea or a car, you must always say “thank you”. In British culture, you cannot say thank you too many times. Ideally you should be saying it before, during and after someone gives you something in order for the message to fully get across.
• Apologise. British people will apologise for the smallest thing, including for apologising too much. Sometimes, you say sorry not to acknowledge your own mistakes, but to acknowledge that someone else’s mistake is okay. For example if someone treads on your foot, you should say “sorry” to communicate “I acknowledge that you didn’t mean to hurt my toe, and I’m fine with that”.
• Don’t make a scene. Staying respectful and calm is an important part of fitting into British culture. People often comment that British people are more reserved than other cultures, and that’s mainly because talking loudly, squealing with laughter or arguing in public is seen as inconsiderate in the UK since it can bother other people around you.

Out and About

• Do not stare at people…unless you are having a conversation with them, in which case you should make eye contact when they are speaking.
• It is considered extremely rude to spit on the street, cough up phlegm, cough or sneeze on someone, and otherwise do something which could create mess or spread germs in public. Overall, personal hygiene is considered very important in Britain and being clean and presentable in public is essential to fit in.
• When on public transport with few seats left, it is polite to offer your seat to elderly people, or people with wheelchairs or babies, who would benefit from the seat more.
• It is polite to make room for other people. Being aware of your surroundings, and allowing for people to get passed you, is key to being the perfectly mannered person. For example, it is considered kind to hold the door for someone, to let other cars waiting at a junction onto the road, and to allow people to queue in front of you if their needs are greater than yours. Even the most subtle of movements to give other people more room will be noticed and appreciated by most British people!

How to treat strangers differs in different places in Britain – for example in the south strangers will rarely strike up a conversation with each other, whereas in the north chatting to people you don’t know on public transport is quite common. People in the countryside are also much friendlier than in cities. If you’re unsure, smile at someone and say hello, and allow them to make the next move.

Eating

Often these rules aren’t followed, especially when eating with peers. However if you’re in a fancy restaurant or with people you want to impress, sticking to these guidelines means you can’t go wrong:
• Use a knife in your right hand and a fork in your left for main meals, and a spoon in your right hand for pudding.
• Make as little noise as possible whilst eating, because is extremely annoying to British people when they can hear someone chew!
• Eat with your mouth closed. No-one wants to see your food after it has left your plate.
• Keep your elbows off the table (quite an old fashioned rule, but some people still follow it).
• When eating out, always try and pay for your meal. If someone offers to pay for your food, it is customary to have some back and forth conversation saying “I’ll pay”, “no don’t be silly”, “no I insist”, “well I am happy to contribute” etc. before someone submits. This is because often British people will offer to pay for someone else’s meal out of instinct when they don’t actually want to – this dialogue is essential for figuring out whether they are making a genuine offer or not.
• Get the waiters’ attention my making eye contact – not by waving your hand around. In Britain it is polite and expected to treat restaurant staff as equals, not as servants.
• Tipping. It is not essential to tip in the UK, although if you’re eating in a nice restaurant it is polite to give the waiter / waitress 10% of your meal price, which is usually a pound or two per person. If you are eating out around the Christmas period, it is nice to tip more, since these people are giving up their holidays to earn money.

Visiting Someone’s Home

Adults in Britain will often socialise by going to each others’ houses during an evening and having a meal there. I’m pretty sure that this kind of thing will apply to most cultures, but here’s a few tips for what to do in this situation in Britain:
• Bring something to the table. It is customary to bring a small gift for the host when visiting someone’s house. A good gift is food or drink that you can share around during the event, for example a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates. Note: the host will probably have cooked a dinner, so don’t bring something which would affect the main course.
• Take your shoes off when you’ve entered the house.
• Compliment their home – this is a natural kind thing to do when entering someone’s home, although the compliment obviously has to be genuine.
• Engage in conversation (don’t look at your phone for long periods of time).
• Help to clear the table, and if you’re feeling particularly polite offer to do the dishes.
• Don’t overstay your welcome. You have to realise that the host can’t go to bed before you leave! Don’t stay too late, and look out for clues that the host is tired or is hinting for you to leave.

General last pointers

• Never insult anyone. It is extremely rude and inconsiderate to point out someone’s flaws both to their face or behind their back in Britain. For example, you should never call someone fat, ugly, annoying or boring. British people are quite sensitive and will take these things very personally. Of course people still do insult others, but it is generally considered petty.
• Don’t ask personal questions. If you don’t know someone very well, don’t ask things such as what their age is, how much they weigh, how much they earn, or their opinions on politics. When you’re friends with someone, naturally the closer you are the more you share this kind of information.
• Listen during conversations. Don’t interrupt what someone’s saying, and ask the person you’re talking to questions, or as some people call it “passing the ball in conversation”. To talk about yourself for long periods of time if considered bad etiquette in British culture.

British manners, like in most cultures, comes from a combination of tradition, old superstitions and consideration for other people around you. They are not set in stone and are adapting all the time.

Please comment below if you think of any more manners to add to the list!

If you like learning about my take on manners, read the article I made on Cambodian Table Manners! If you want to read more about my thoughts on culture, I have written a few articles including one discussing selfie culture and its roots in Are Selfies Bad? and about cultural stereotyping in Susceptibility to Single Stories.

Thanks for reading.