Working From Home.... If Only I could!
The New Normal
I cannot look at the newspaper right now without reading something about office workers refusing to return to the office. No one seems to want to commute into town to share an office anymore. People spent months working from home during the pandemic and many preferred it. So much so that they are reluctant to return full-time to the office.
But it’s not for me…. It didn’t work for me during the pandemic and will not work for me now.
The Ups and Downs
If I’m not sharing an office with colleagues, I’m at home, on Teams. Now, don’t get me wrong there is an upside. I don’t have to worry so much about rushing around to leave on time or consider whether there is any milk at the office for tea. My mornings do not begin with the daily rush to the station, hoping that my train will arrive on time or that I have everything I need with me. I rock up to my living room et violà, I’m at work! I just flip open my laptop, and I am ready to seize the day.
Or am I? I only have a 3% charge on my laptop battery, and that’s not going to get me through an hour’s meeting. I run around the house throwing things in the air trying to recall where I last had it. I find it just in time for the meeting to start, sit down and hot and bothered but sigh with relief.
I get in position and log in to Teams, but something strange is happening, I can’t hear anyone. I can see their lips moving but there is no sound. I play with the controls, but nothing! I attempt to read the lips of my boss who is mouthing ‘Can you hear me?’. I look around the room because I think I do. I hear a faint whisper, from the corner of the room. My headphones! He’s in my bloody headphones! Bluetooth has connected to my laptop, I grab them, I switch them off and now I am truly ready for the meeting albeit slightly bedraggled.
Now, I do have a top tip. Never do video meetings in a place where you can see out of your front windows, especially not if you live on an interesting road. I try to concentrate but find myself glancing over the top of the screen every now and again. What are my neighbours doing? Do they have a new car? Is that Mrs. Fischer walking past, I thought she’d moved out?
And I do not know how, and I do not know why, but I do know that once I have logged in to a very important meeting and I am in full flow, the Amazon delivery guy/girl will turn up. Not to be beaten by distraction, I have taken to putting a little note on the door telling delivery drivers not to knock. And you would think that this is the perfect solution. Well…
I have dogs, two of them, and trust me, it’s not easy sharing your workspace with animals. They have their own system for alerting me when someone is at my door. Regardless of how quiet the delivery man is, my dogs (bless them|)are not.
And then there is the rest of the household, my partner, my children, and a lodger. They don’t all keep a 9-5 schedule and are in and out of the house at different times. They are respectful, but the dogs are naturally excited to see them all (when they arrive one at a time).
By the end of the day I am frazzled, it is stressful working from home when the environment is not conducive to home working.
Sharing an Office
The company I work for does not require us to go back into the office full time but once the pandemic was over, I couldn’t wait to get out of the house.
I like sharing an office with other adults. I won’t lie though; I really do not miss the daily commute.
Our company has agreed that employees can work 3 days in the office and 2 days from home. I cannot and will not put myself through WFH again, so I decided to work locally. I researched and discovered that I can share an office with local people who work in different industries, and it has been amazing. I get to go out to work and I get to do this locally. My walk is now less than 5 minutes to the office. I am not disturbed by Amazon, dogs, or family and it has been great. Hot desking in a coworking space means I get to meet new local people. I feel like I get to have my cake and eat it too. I no longer go into the office but I no longer work from home. It’s a win-win for me.
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