Working from home: This writer happens to love it. Here’s why.

[NOTE: I do not purport to speak for all professional writers and editors. The following is an opinion piece based upon personal experience and the experiences of several colleagues. It’s okay if you like the office! Hang out and read with an open mind. -A]

Now that I’ve gotten that 2021-style headline out of the way…

We’re now about 18 months into the “new economy.” Thousands of pages have been written, breathlessly and with pearls clutched, about how this will affect office workers and the corporations that employ them. Several hundred more pages (far too few, in my opinion) have been written about the massive medical and service and labor strikes that have been happening, and with good reason.

(For purposes of this op-ed, I’m focusing on office work. My colleagues will handle the guest writing about the service industry, as it’s not my purview.)

I hope the “office culture” apologists are being paid well, because – as a writer with a not-uncommon work style – I am THRILLED to have more opportunities to work in complete isolation.

Before we get off on the wrong foot: collaboration is great, and necessary, but the kind of collaboration that gets the best work out of most writers is scheduled and focused.

We operate via print, so emails are great. I cannot stress enough that emails are fantastic for communicating with writers. You will get the most clear and concise responses from writers.

What does not get the best work out of us is office chit-chat, mandatory cake time, and the other things inherent to “office culture,” especially when it breaks up the creative groove we’re in.

[Please note: There’s nothing wrong with office socializing. In fact, it brightens the day of many workers… who are in other arenas of work. For the writers, not always so much. We’re not “better” than you. We work differently. If we were all the same, the company would be garbage.]

The things that are a respite from the typical work of 90% of people in an office are actually causing a tremendous amount of stress for those whose job requires creativity. Creativity isn’t like a spreadsheet or a marketing calendar (note: THIS IS NOT A DRAG). A really good idea can’t just be dropped and picked back up like a line of code. It’s a little, fleeting thing that needs a quiet and uninterrupted space to flow out, to be grabbed from the ether, and then to be polished to a nice shine.

This seems really woo-woo, but, bear with me here:

Whether your work requires it or not, think about when you’re feeling creative (I hope you do, at least sometimes). Maybe, in your hours that you have outside work, you’re creative in the kitchen or doing projects and/or hobbies you like to do. You know how you feel when you get derailed? That’s how we feel. In the office. Always.

Working from home – at a comfortable, solitary workstation surrounded by all the technical necessities and no pretensions – is an absolute dream for a writer. If you are a writer, and in a physical space where you have freedom, how many times have you repeated something out loud to see if it really “sounds right”? Or carried on an animated conversation aloud with yourself to get the correct centers of your brain activated and on the job? Maybe stood up and paced the room? Or performed any other odd ritual that jogs exactly the brilliant idea you need from the depths of your mind?

Sure, but Babs in Accounting isn’t gonna do that. Babs’ job doesn’t work like that – these are very different jobs. (Yet equally important. Very few industries survive without quality communication people OR accounting people. I’m concluding the asides, they’re only adding to my point, though.)

Now, Babs is going to send a concerned email to HR if you do that in an office. So, due to spending a good chunk of your energy stifling your creative instincts, you’re going to provide your employer with your Pretty Good work, and not proudly grace them with your Wow, This Is Really Great work, which you could be doing in your comfortable space. At home.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been the “odd man out” in my office for putting on headphones and/or wanting to eat lunch at my desk. It had NOTHING to do with disliking my coworkers, but was probably perceived as such. I just wanted to save the social time for happy hours or planned events with them, after a day of doing work I truly felt was my best. It was always better to enjoy the company of colleagues outside of “work mode.”

That was what baffled some of my in-house supervisors: with every review, they’d come up with some vague or untenable issue. Yet, every single one of them would make it a point to say:

“There is NO fault with your work.”
“Your work is beyond reproach.”
“You’re an excellent writer, the best on the team.”

In those cases, it felt exactly like being the least popular kid in school again. “Great work, gifted kid, you just don’t play with the kids. Why are you reading at recess instead of playing kickball?” Purposely hiding out from office politics shouldn’t preclude you from being accepted as a valuable contributor. That’s not even good business.

I didn’t spend enough time on water-cooler gossip. Whatever, hit me in the head with the kickball again so I can go draw and write. I have more important work to do.

So, being an Office-Hours Introvert was really what it was. It wasn’t just the discomfort of only getting four hours of real work (about three of which were quality) done in a nine-hour day due to all the other fraught office stuff, because I’d do the rest after hours.

Anxiety can factor in heavily, particularly when you have enormous panic attacks driving to work in Houston, which didn’t make in-office life any easier. (Technically, I could’ve been “that guy” and brought in the Americans with Disabilities Act in a couple of cases, but that was a can of worms I didn’t want to have to open.) And as a gender-nonconforming person, I just feel plain uncomfortable having to dress like a corporate AFAB “woman” is expected to. I’ve never known how to do that, even for the decades I was closeted and REALLY TRYING. In fact, one boss decided to make “Dress Code Violations” a thing, and subtly try to tell me to be more girly.

Why would the panic and discomfort of commuting to and sitting in an office, and interrupting my work and wrecking a really good idea, make me a “model employee,” when those things are not necessary for me to bring great work and value to an organization?

Especially when I can walk up one flight of stairs to my dedicated office, sign in, and be ready to bring my best mind to the job at hand, while calm and focused?

Good managers know that if an employee is delivering what is expected and then some – not just adequate writing, but good writing, the kind that can capture a desired voice and switch to another at a moment’s notice – it does not matter whether that employee is a butt in a seat in front of their eyes. They can just as easily be a butt on Slack or Teams or any other collaborative tool, functioning even better than they would in the office.

In fact, from personal experience, that employee may be more invested in their work if they have physical autonomy in terms of workspace, clothing, etc. Looking over my resume, nearly every major accomplishment listed for every position I’ve held happened outside of the office. The oil and gas trade show theme? That came to me in a hot bath at midnight while surfing competitor slogans with a relaxed brain, and I emailed my bosses immediately (you don’t wake them up with texts, man). The photo and art direction that won the award? We all snuck out after work to bring that to fruition, and had some cocktails together afterward. That “most virally spread article” in that publication’s history? Written excitedly while eating lasagna on my partner’s sofa after a really long night of campaigning.

My favorite work – for the humor site – was seriously non-stop, because I loved it. It was the first time I’d ever worked from home, in 2001. I still have envelopes covered in 20-year-old handwritten notes, scrawled during the frequent moments when the fountain of ideas started, watching TV in bed. Our parent company was glad I was salaried, I’m sure, because I would put in 80 hours a week sometimes. (Not that I advocate that for everyone, but when you’re passionate about your creative work, and have room to breathe, you just DO that on some occasions. Spontaneously, and with no regrets or resentment. You do it for the love of, and commitment to, the work.)

Look, working from home is not for everyone, and even for those who do prefer it, “results above may not be typical.”

I get it – and I’m not bragging here: it was an impossible confluence of things that made my current home happen nearly eight years ago, and I lovingly protect it. People may not have an ideal small upstairs studio like I do, with all their technological needs and inspirational comforts available, and which they can then shut off and leave behind at the end of a day of mutually satisfying work to walk downstairs. Or, at least leave them behind until an idea strikes out of seemingly nowhere, late at night… but, at least it’s easier for file organization purposes to just run upstairs if and when that idea hits.

But, people may have kids and other distractions that make working from home really difficult. They may not have a lot of social opportunities outside of seeing their colleagues. Heck, they may just feel really good dressing up for work as an empowering ritual. For them, going back to the office is the right and (mentally) healthy thing.

But, if you have an employee who can and will give 100% to their work day if they can choose their surroundings – especially when it’s not really necessary for them to feel anxious and like an outsider working onsite – why would you not choose that arrangement instead?

I’m no economic expert, but it feels like the key to productivity and company survival is going to be letting those who feel better working from home do so, and bringing back the folks who do want to (or truly need to).

When office workers feel comfortable, they do good work. When office workers are given a highly reasonable choice when it comes to that comfort level, they do GREAT work. That’s Business 101.

It doesn’t take much Googling to see which companies are thriving in 2021. The forward-thinking ones are realizing they don’t need giant, expensive offices anymore, and their productivity has increased, based upon greater worker satisfaction. Not everyone will choose to work from home, either; most may not, or they might choose the hybrid model. It’s nothing for companies to fear, especially if we’re all going to be living in a “metaverse” in ten years (which I’m not a fan of, but, okay, that’s where we are).

As for your copywriters, editors, and proofreaders… please give us that choice. The worst that can happen is that somebody screws up, and you have to fire them. But, that is not the most likely scenario.

The most likely scenario is that you’ll be really, really impressed.

-Amanda K. Wolfe

[Postscript: if you’re looking for a highly dedicated freelance writer who’s currently putting out their/her/his (I use ’em all, don’t worry) best professional work in about a decade, feel free to send me an email, request a Zoom meeting, or even find me on LinkedIn. I already have some truly fantastic clients, but if you have good work to be done, I’d love to talk, because – as you read above – I love to work. A lot.

I’ll even send a photo of my really cool office loft if you’d like. 😉 And/or, client testimonials. Email me at]