*This* is not working from home
Posted by Paul Allen on 13th May 2020 / 0 comments
The last few months have seen millions of us working from home, as we try and prevent the spread of coronavirus / flatten the curve. There has never been so much written about the homeworking experience has there has been during this pandemic. Many are realising that working from home can be very effective, while others are yearning for the company and social interaction you get from the office.
What’s really important though, is to remember that *this* is not working from home.
My history of homeworking
I have come to realise that my background is not typical. Working in PR – and technology PR at that – I have been lucky enough to be able to work remotely for much of the last 20 years. The PR agencies I worked at were all pretty progressive in that regard and since I started working for myself as a freelance PR consultant, I split my time between my lovely office in the Portsmouth Guildhall and my slightly less lovely but very convenient spare room / home office. I work equally effectively in either.
So I am a seasoned homeworker. Mostly it’s great and I have written in the past about some of the many positive ways that working from home has benefitted me, my well-being and my family. But as the UK starts making tentative steps back into the workplace, I would urge no-one to base their home working experience on the past few months.
Homeworking during a pandemic
The last few months for me has been about keeping healthy and staying sane. It’s been about trying to ensure the kids are doing a little schoolwork but also doing everything that we can to make sure they aren’t scared or missing normality too much. It’s about dragging them out for a daily 20 minute walk in the sun and trying to keep their mood upbeat. It’s about fielding endless questions about my favourite attacking midfield players and it’s about helping to bake endless rounds of biscuits and cakes.
As a freelance PR consultant it’s been about juggling many more Zoom calls than is healthy, hanging on to clients and trying not to stress too much about any potential shortfall in revenue. All over the country, people are working on ironing boards, dressing tables, armchairs and anywhere they can find the space and time to do so. For some people, they are working from home completely by themselves which is a different experience entirely and one that must feel hard to deal with at times.
What will the future of work look like?
Whether there is long-term value in expensive, big city office costs is highly debatable. Twitter has announced today (13 May 2020) that its employees can now work from home for as long as they want, and it will be interesting to see how many do so.
Regular working from home allows you to see friends, work from a coffee shop, go shopping and plan your whole day however you choose. So whether you have thrived working from home these past few months, or are feeling that you can’t wait to get back to the office, don’t think that this period is in any way typical of the home working experience.