Are any of us really ‘home working’ ?
I am not sure we are.
We are not homeworking but rather we are at home trying to work. There is a big difference between this and ‘home working’ in my mind.
If we think about it logically, our homes are not designed or meant to be places of work. The best we can reasonably hope for is to try and work in our homes the best we can. Yes, businesses have put in place measures to support effective home-working, provided equipment and the means for people to work remotely, but they should never expect it to be the same as a workplace.
The goal posts have changed for all of us. They continue to change, and we continue to adapt. Trying to work at home in an environment where there may be partners also trying to work, children completing online learning classes, pets meowing or barking, general background noise is never going to be easy. For people trying their best to get through each day working from home, there are many competing needs and pressures competing for time and attention. The amount of space and the number of occupants habiting each households are big factors also. Everybody is under varying degrees of pressure as the anxiety about the pandemic and the latest period of lockdown requires us all to adjust our lives due to the restrictions Governments around the world are placing on their citizens. You can experience the levels of anxiety creeping up when each new set of data with infection case numbers is released.
Good organisations get that the goal posts have changed, they trust their people to adapt in the best way they can, and they cut them plenty of slack. Good organisations know the importance of building and sustaining an environment of trust. They know that their people will in turn repay this trust and do their level best to work effectively in these extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
I admit, I am fed up being at home trying to work. I have been for some time in all honesty. I have good days and not so good days. It still feels weird. I am tired of the four walls of my house that form the limits of my present workspace most days. I am fatigued by relentless zoom calls and excessive amounts of screen time. I crave the social connection and the impromptu fluid conversations that happen in busy workplaces. I miss the buzz that comes from energised workplaces full of diverse, creative people collaborating in person with one another. I know this time will come around again, and it cannot happen soon enough for most people.
As an eternal optimist, I always look for the positives that can be drawn out of even the most challenging situation. On days where it feels particularly difficult juggling the demands of a busy multi person household that has now also become a workplace, I remind myself that all our challenges need to be kept in perspective. This horrible virus is cruel and deadly. My concerns about trying to work from home pale into insignificance when compared to the devastating human toll inflicted on so many families and businesses during this pandemic.
In many ways, I think this period of history has allowed us to understand one another a little bit better. We have been afforded a precious insight into the lives of the people we work alongside. I am sure we can all remember the brilliant natural human moments we have experienced on zoom calls which have come through spontaneous interruptions from small children and pets. Whatever the nature of the work or meeting these moments make us all smile and remember we are really in this together, bound by our shared humanity. We should not fear this, we should embrace it. Being in our homes trying to work reminds us that we are all human, trying to do the best we can in difficult circumstances. If something good is to come from this difficult period, it may well be this.