With the full effects of COVID-19 hitting the Australian workforce, let's have look at the reality of working from home.
For office workers, it can sometimes appear that those of us who work from home are living the dream.
There are of course the obligatory all-day pyjamas and the freedom from irritating coworkers and other nefarious office riff-raff that you will only have to deal with at the end of an extremely long pole called Gmail.
There are the never-ending cups of tea of which you will only ever be obliged to make ONE of at a time and of course the sofa is undoubtedly a kinder, gentler place to receive bad news.
But it isn’t all hot chocolate and Disney slippers, and in fact many home workers are jealous of your set up, with your banter, birthday cakes and after-work beers!
So here are seven of the absolute worst things about working from home.
So you have to write a thousand words on spaghetti farming in Italy by this afternoon? Well, you certainly could do that…
Or you could water the cactus, clean out the fridge, mow the lawn, walk the dog, wash the dog, walk the cleaner, fancier dog or rearrange the cutlery drawer for easier access to the corn on the cob prongs.
But don’t worry about it. Homeworkers are taking care of their procrastination problems. Just you wait and see.
This is a big one. Friends, family and general well-wishers will not believe that you are working and that you are in fact free to babysit, go for coffee, collect them from the airport, start drinking in the morning or any other excursion or pastime they see fit to inflict upon you.
Perfectly normal people who would never dream of bothering you at work will knock upon your door or just barge right in and pile cruel and unusual demands upon your weary shoulders… but at least you’ll be in your pyjamas.
Just because your coworkers can’t get you does not mean the world will leave you in peace. Neighbours lurk about posing with hoses and shovels like extras in Miss Marple. They don’t believe you’re working you see… nobody does!
There is also a constant carousel of random people who want to question those who choose to reside in the domicile on a weekday about their beliefs on the hereafter, their annual donations to the capuchin monkeys of Borneo and what the devil they intend to do about both.
Admittedly, this one doesn’t sound too bad, but the downside is that your boss will also forget what you look like. No promotions or pay rises for the malingering home worker.
And on the terrifying occasions, you have to scuttle out of your cosy cave into head office, you might find it hard to get past the front desk let alone into Mr McPherson’s magnificent presence (and he won’t believe you’ve been working… no one but your dog will ever believe you’ve been working).
Nobody likes the weird kid. And if you spend enough time in self-imposed solitary confinement… you’ll get weird. Social cues will become a mystery and all your stories will begin with: ‘You’ll never guess what my cat did today.’
You’ll swear like a ‘ye olde timey prospector’ in front of friends and colleagues and with the beard you’ll probably grow, you will look like one too. Unfortunately, most modern workspaces do not provide spittoons.
Can you sit up? Are your fingers broken? Well, then you’re fit and ready for work.
Try explaining to someone who has just battled through rush hour traffic on public transport in the rain, that you are physically incapable of sitting up and tapping on your keyboard. It is a hard sell.
You can’t even pronounce in your most altruistic voice that you don’t want to infect the office before flopping back on the pillows like a dying martyr. Open the laptop, you lazy home worker!
Everyone else in your household comes home from work or school, quite happy to never speak to a fellow human being again until the morrow, but you haven’t spoken to a human being in ten hours and you’re still stuck in work! And there you must stay, like Moaning Myrtle, unable to leave, just lingering about hoping for someone to talk to.
We know you’re out there with your work wives or whatever it is, having after-work drinks and work-related shenanigans… and we’re judging you for it from our temple of solitude.
You may discover that after a long period of working from home that you become a pale, shadow of your former self. Who exactly are we brushing our teeth for? Surely brushing them at 3pm is the same thing? Why even bother getting dressed at all when you can work just as well in a robe?
Your major problem could become scrubbing up nicely for your weekly Skype meeting with Dawn from Accounts and finding a suitable backdrop that isn’t full of cats, drawn curtains and angst. But lo and behold, there are options! Coworking spaces offer hot-desking options for the lone worker or even the self-employed. But you will have to wear pants.