Thoughts from a veteran home worker

Apparently today is National Work from Home Day. I look forward to seeing the PR that comes off the back of that one! 

Since this new norm of remote working began,  I’ve heard people assume that those of us who work from home normally, haven’t had much of a change. And I guess yes, though I’m working less, managing childcare and have people in the house ALL THE TIME, I’m still getting work done.  

Things are very different though. Let’s just look at one aspect: Zoom. Before March 23rd, I used the video conferencing platform once a month.  That’s increased to around two to three times a week! On top of that, just before lockdown we moved house and my new office space is in the loft room, which desperately needs bringing into the 21st century. The lilac walls, which seamlessly blend into the lilac carpet, along with black painted wooden beams (you’d never guess this is a period feature, seriously who spoilt that?) and curtain rails above the doors leading to the eaves (we’ve removed 11 sets of curtains since moving in – four of them weren’t covering windows) are giving me real Zoom background insecurity.

Whenever I’m on a call, I spend my time eyeing up everyone else’s background while subtly trying and failing to adjust my screen for the best shot but it’s impossible! And as for the time I was caught out by a Zoom meeting I’d forgotten about, ah I could have cried with embarrassment! 

Rationale of previous owners? Answers on a postcard please.

We may keep this rail up for posterity!

Like most office-based workers, I used to go out for most of my meetings and only had to worry about whether I could get a parking space beforehand. Now I’m worrying if people will forever associate me with all the things they can see around me and the way the sun from the roof light reflects on my shiny forehead. 

I don’t have anxiety around video calls but adapting to this new way of meeting, which for good or bad is here to stay in some way, is at times unsettling. 

For another example of how this isn’t normal, let’s rewind to yesterday. Broadband in my town and surrounding areas completely dropped out across all networks. A timely reminder of how reliant we all are on it. Ordinarily, I may have driven to a coffee shop with WiFi or just scrapped work and gone out somewhere, perhaps have spontaneously drink with a friend, but obviously I couldn’t.

So no, things are not the same. Even for us who normally work from home, this is less ‘remote working’ and more survival mode, just like everyone else.

And who knows what it’ll look like for us regular home workers when we come out of the other side? We’ll have to wait and see but it certainly won’t be as it was. 

In the meanwhile I think we ought to remain 2020 ‘National Work from Home Year’