The worst of both worlds

a real world look at the working from home revolution

Many thought that working from home would be a great way to finally achieve some sense of work life balance.

Now for some people this is a dream come true, “I can start late, go surfing at lunch and as long as I get everything done I can finish early … Right?”

Well for some this utopian vision has come true, but for others the story isn’t quite that pretty.

I can remember vividly, sitting down with a client over coffee not that far into the COVID19 pandemic and being given an insight into this not so pretty or functional side of working from home.

Working from the dining table can have its challenges at the best of times,  but imagine having to be the face of a corporation on a day when you have a major public incident, you are having field questions from media, and all the time you’re working from home at your dining room table.

Whilst your dining table probably isn’t the corporate power stage that you would first think of to deliver critical corporate communications, this story doesn’t sound too bad…yet.

Let’s add another layer to this and see how we go… what I didn’t tell you was that your baby sitter had fallen through and your 18 month year old daughter is at home with you… Still sounds okay?

Well today is the day that your much loved daughter has decided to let loose on your working environment, furniture has been overturned and strewn across the room, toys have made their way out of the toy box and now litter the floor and cover every other visible surface in your working environment, and to add the final touch, a morning tea of biscuits and milk are now being spread and liberally trodden into the carpet… there is no help at hand, and the corporate demands just keep coming.

You might not be in total lockdown but there is no escape, all you can do is keep on going until your can pick up the pieces,  try to rebuild your sanity, the relationship with your child and finally your working environment, and all before the phone rings again.

What would have been a challenging day at the office has now become a superhuman feat working from home.

Does any part of this this story ring true for you?

It made me realise how much strain and pressure people can be subjected to in a space that is out of sight from the mechanisms and processes that are meant to look after the wellbeing of people in the workplace.

As more and more people return to work it is important that we are able to share our experiences, that organisations create avenues to enable this, and that they take the time to acknowledge what people have been through.

If you’ve been working at home for the last six months,  I’d love to know what your experience has been like.  Leave a comment, because the chances are that someone else is having the same experience, but feels alone in this.