The perils of working from home

March 20th, 2020 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Janet Granger-Wilcox

Yep, you’re now working from home. Yep, you’ve read the free e-books and the blogs and any other articles you can find about how to do it. And now, you’re knee deep in the reality. I’m not going to repeat all the stuff that’s out there already (well I hope I’m not, anyway). What I can maybe give you is a bit of a laugh, because goodness knows we all need one right now.

From someone who’s worked from home for several years, here’s my top 10 perils you need to think about:

Spider in the Home Office

Peril number 1:

For some reason, Huntsman spiders seem to love the home office more than the corporate office. Is it the vibe? Is it the lack of multiple humans? IS IT THAT THEY WANT ME TO BURN MY HOUSE DOWN??? (Who knows the mind of an arachnid?)

Peril number 2:

Your child/partner/pet or on sad occasions, yourself, making inappropriate noises during your phone or video hookup. This is guaranteed, so be prepared.

You may want to highlight the location of your mute button. With a sticker. Or several stickers. Brightly coloured ones at that.

Peril number 3:

Eating too much chocolate. Not much more I can say here. If you have any spare Turkish delight, feel free to pop it in my letterbox.

Peril number 4:

Pettus interruptus. The dog wants in the office, the dog wants out of the office. In, out, in, out. A doggy door is looking very attractive at this stage.

*Note that all bets are off during thunderstorms, according to my dog anyway.

Peril number 5:

Working in your underpants. Just don’t, because you’ll forget the damn camera is on at some damn stage and embarrass yourself. I’m not a big fan of the whole “wear what you would normally wear to work because it puts you in the right frame of mind” thing. I’m more a fan of wearing whatever the hell is comfortable for you. And non-offensive for everyone else. Hence the underpants comment.

Peril number 6:

Shutting off. This one’s semi-serious. The desk is right there, the computer is beckoning, I’ll just do one more hour.

STOP IT AND GO LIE ON THE COUCH. NOW!!!! (Well, unless it’s currently your proper work hours anyway. And it doesn’t have to be lying on the couch. But I strongly recommend you find some sort of activity that is a declaration your work day is over.)

Peril number 7:

My mother. I love her. And if she rings me one more time and says “Jan, are you at work?” during my work hours, I’m going to have to kill her. I’ve been working full time for the last 34 years Mum, WHERE ELSE WOULD I BE???

(Note, Mum rang me just after I wrote this and to her credit said “I thought you might be on a lunch break”)

Peril number 8:

Another version of Peril number 4: The cat sitting outside your home office window and staring at you. Like you’re a mouse. Oh wait, I’m using a mouse. Maybe this one is justified.

Peril number 9:

Semi-serious again: Forgetting to talk to people. Ask any of my friends, I’m an extrovert up there with the best of them. But sometimes it’s so peaceful at home I bury myself in stuff and suddenly realise I haven’t physically spoken with any of my team for hours. Possibly days. Hmmm, now I realise they’ve not complained about this….

Peril number 10:

Gardening power tools. In the words of the immortal rock band Stealers Wheel: leaf blowers to the left of me, lawn mowers to the right. OK, maybe those weren’t quite their words, but you get what I mean. No matter where you work from home, all around you are people who are used to making noise during the day. And you can’t object, because you really don’t want that leaf blower going at 10pm either, do you?

Noise-cancelling headphones are your friend. Or earplugs, at the very least. Or scrunched up toil…

Note: This is intended as a light-hearted look at working from home. There can be more serious consequences, but a metric sh*tload is already being written about those. One of Aussie Broadband’s strongly-held values is “be good to people”. The people to be good to includes yourself. Please take time out for laughter, and whatever else keeps you sane and well. As long as it doesn’t include working in your underpants*

*Oh, OK then, if you must**

**But don’t say I didn’t warn you.