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Working from home

Day 140 working from home (not that I’m counting 😩).

Like most others I’d imagine, I left the office on that Monday in March pretty unprepared for a long working stint at home, I walked out of the office re-assuring the team that I’d see them soon and was armed with my trusted laptop and notepad.

I was temporarily perched on the couch those first two weeks with laptop on lap, but with the TV news on a loop it became apparent how deep and bad the pandemic was.

Working from home (WFH) was a novelty at first but it soon became very intense, overwhelming and all encompassing. Work has been a bastard due to a whole passage of forces. I am unable to separate work and home because it is always there, and on top of that I was forced to take a significant salary cut*.

Boo-hoo me. Yes, I am lucky, my family are all healthy, mostly outside of my makeshift office (I moved from the couch) the sky is blue and the sun is in the sky, and if I get a chance to take a walk I am minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.

Yet, I cannot lie WFH has been a real struggle. The other half also has a demanding job, my daughter has been a superstar, but before school ‘broke-up’ me and the more-patient-and-cleverer-other-half I suspect were doing more ‘teaching’ than the teachers. In my 35 years of working life I have only ever WFH when I had to wait in for someone, a plumber or suchlike, or was super-hungover. Nah, that’s not true I have always abided by the rule of getting your arse in the office despite how awful you felt.

When I was in London WFH had not been a consideration. In Chicago I could walk to work, or taxi on those freezing mornings. In Bermuda commuting isn’t even a ‘thing’ on a 21-square mile isle.

Fast forward now to August, and I am still at home working. Our office has re-opened but with very limited capacity and the game-changing restriction of being mandated to wear a mask all day will see me working from home for the foreseeable future.

It seems like years ago, but we moved house at the end of February to be much nearer the office (I can walk to work now) and school but principally nearer to the national swimming pool where our daughter swims everyday, and often at 6 in the morning.

Moving house was frankly awful – it is still the only four days I have taken off work this year – but it was a godsend, in terms of being much closer to the island’s capital of Hamilton, whereas before we were quite remote. At least as remote as you can be on an island this small. Now the island has opened up, still with many restrictions, our location at least allows me to nip into town to see people and affords me some variety outside of the four walls of my makeshift office.

I just somehow need to find a way to take a break. I was always pretty contactable, I have to be to some degree 24/7 but logging off at work and leaving the office to go home, was well, separating work from home. Being overseas on holiday or visiting the family was away from work.

I was a long time advocate and purveyor of work-life integration, but I was also a long term proponent of an after work drink and a multiplicity of travel.

A drink is currently available, of sorts, but travelling seems a long way off. Work, family visits, Charlton, holiday or otherwise.

I’d be interested in others’ thoughts. Critical, corresponding or otherwise.

*Our salaries were reinstated, but not after much exasperation and soul searching.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Grant #

    I really dislike working from home permanently. I started in March, just after returning from a trip to Australia and New Zealand, and I’m not likely to be back in the office until some time next year. It’s difficult from a technical point of view, with everything taking longer. But at least I’m able to separate work from my real life. I will not allow work emails on my phone. My wife has really suffered, often working up to 90 hours a week. There’s her real job, plus endless meetings with people who have meetings for a living and have little actual work to do themselves. They insist, however, on having the undivided attention of those who have real jobs. I’m absolutely desperate to have a holiday – even a weekend – somewhere out of the UK, but that’s not looking likely with a government that assumes other countries have worse problems with COVID 19 simply because they’re foreigners. Now there’s talk about forcing the over-50s to stay at home until they die of something else so that they don’t become part of the COVID statistics. It’s called “shielding”, which presumably refers to shielding the government from any more embarrassing statistics. I’ll take my chances with COVID-19. I’d return to normal tomorrow if it was permitted.

    August 3, 2020
    • Thanks for the comment Grant. The two phone trick is one I have never done. I’m not helping myself there.

      I get your wife’s frustration as well. It has made me realize that some people (often in very senior positions) simply don’t have enough to do during a day if you take away unnecessary meetings, non-participational conference calls, knife and forking and travel.

      A holiday, a break, a change of scene….. anything.

      Boris is more flip-flop than a pair of Havaianas isn’t he.

      August 4, 2020

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