Zarywacz started on or near 1 September 1994 after Robert Zarywacz resigned from his corporate role on 31st August. He has been working from home ever since, joined several years later by brother, Simon. Now they work remotely from Ilfracombe and Wilton respectively, and have worked for clients across the UK and internationally. Robert describes the development of home working over 26 years.
Home businesses are serious businesses
In 1994 it was unusual to run a creative business from home. There was still very much a view that a professional business needed an office with all the associated infrastructure . . . and costly overheads.
I’d been working in, what I considered to be, a sick building on a business park for a company whose management I no longer respected. I’d already purchased an Apple Mac and inkjet printer, and had started doing some freelance work, and so I decided to make the leap.
Equipped for business
The first thing I did was to buy a laser printer so everything I produced looked crisp and professional. It amazed me that years later many businesses still used poor quality inkjet printers. Then most clients would still receive printed drafts and proofs, even if they were faxed, so presentation was paramount.
I also produced the DL leaflet above, printed by a photocopying specialist I had previously used as a supplier. Colour was still expensive in those days, but the high quality black and white copies demonstrated that we were professional.
One Saturday, my wife and I were just about to leave to visit an Apple exhibition in London when a tax refund from my PAYE salary landed on the doormat. We were going to the exhibition because I wanted my wife to understand why I needed to spend money purchasing various equipment. The rebate enabled me to buy a good scanner that day and lug it home on the train.
Comfort for productivity
I preferred working at home from the start. I found I was far more productive. The company where I had worked had cut staff and those of us who were office based spent lots of our time sorting out the problems of those who were on the road. When copywriting and creating publications, I needed peace so I could concentrate, and at home I found I could achieve so much more.
At first, I worked in our spare bedroom, but soon realised I needed to redecorate and buy a large desk, which I still work from. I have a messy desk and use all the space on it.
In those days I had separate business phone and fax lines, although the fax has long gone. As use of the internet developed, I had a dedicated line-of-sight wireless internet connection installed. Use of email increased and use of couriers to collect and deliver artwork stopped.
Flexible and healthy
The main downside of working from home was that I didn’t go outside much. I wasn’t much of an outdoors person then and in the winter I could stay inside our front door for two or three days at a time. The remedy was to expand the business by recruiting a dog. Our first cocker spaniel, Felix, transformed me into an outdoors person overnight. I lost half a stone in weeks and developed a teenager’s appetite. Felix is sadly now long gone, although still remembered fondly, and sprocket Barley now looks after my mental and physical health.
The joys of working from home mean that we can walk on the beach early in the morning or the afternoon then work throughout the day or evening. This ensures I get enough vitamin D in the winter when we walk in the day and work at night.
Create your own lifestyle
Over 25 years on, it’s weird to see people talking about the challenges of working from home. My view is that people either like or loathe it. For me, it is the ideal way of working and enables me to live how I want. I can see it will not suit everyone or every job role. However, I believe many people can take the opportunity to remodel their lives for their own benefit by working from home.