Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Working from home in the new normal

Oh look! A clear desk policy in action!

I am a seasoned professional when it comes to working from home. When I was a sales rep at the beginning of this century, I was on the road virtually every day, but always finished the working day in my home office. As I moved from sales to training, specifically on-line training, I was based mostly from home with occasional trips to our training headquarters to deliver classroom training. I loved it. I had the best of both worlds, even when broadband was a pipe dream, and the old modem connection was the mainstay of computer-to-head-office-communications. Anyone remember that weird sound the modem made? I knew its ‘song’ so well I could tell if the connection was successful or not before the green light popped up on screen.

Since those wonderful days, I’ve been through two redundancies, one horrific bullying boss and two office-based jobs. My current employment is fairly flexible about where I work. A few years ago we were sent home to work, while interior building works in the office space were carried out. I never went back… well not daily. My new desk space was placed directly under an AC vent, which meant that I had freezing cold draft flowing over my left side. One day in the fridge was enough to convince me that home working was the way forward.

Sometimes I wish I could work from my bed!

I had a great routine. Commute from the bedroom to the office downstairs. Wave goodbye to the kids as they went to school, wave goodbye to Mr D as he set off for his office, then peace and quiet to crack on with my work. The radio kept me company, as did the dog, encouraging me to take a proper lunch break and walk her. I had some of my best ideas or solutions while out in the wilds watching her chase birds and rabbits. 

The end of the working day coincided with kids arriving home from school. We’d have time to catch up with their news before homework and dinner production commenced. As I said, I had a great routine that worked well for me and the family. 

After a year of lockdowns and tiered restrictions (more or less still lockdown under a different name!) my work from home routine is out of the window. Both kidults were furloughed or made redundant. Mr D no longer met with customers in person or went to the office. In short, my space had been invaded.

If only my kitchen was as neat as this!

The kitchen now doubles as workspace for Mr D when both of us have virtual meetings at the same time. This can be troublesome on several counts. Our broadband connection is under strain from simultaneous video calls, Cost Centre 2 (my son) online gaming, and Cost Centre 1 (my daughter) doing freelancing work for Mr D. Making a cup of tea has to be carefully choreographed in order to not make noise while calls are in progress. If you’ve been in one of Mr D’s calls, you may have been unfortunate enough to catch sight of CC2 wafting past the camera in various states of undress or fancy dress. I’m usually hiding in the office, trying to pretend all is quiet and calm!

It’s funny how everyone assumes I’m working to a business-as-usual routine … lockdown having no big impact on me, but they couldn’t be more wrong. My working space has shrunk along with the broadband bandwidth! As a family, we are together 24/7 in a way we’ve never been before. I love them to bits but miss the peace and quiet!

Fortunately CC1 has landed a new job, an amazing achievement in the current climate. For whatever reason, her company insist on people coming to the office so she’s now away from home throughout the day. CC2 may well have landed a job (he’ll hear later today) which will involve him being away from home too. Who knows, by the time this post goes live (I’m writing this on Monday 22nd in the morning) we might have some positive news from our Prime Minister on how England is to emerge from lockdown. Fingers crossed for freedom and a return to tranquillity in the home office.

Hoping you are all staying safe and well.

Cath xx

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