Confessions of a Remote Worker
It’s Monday morning. You’re trapped and rooted to your kitchen chair – the one with that peculiar wobble - a new worry line adorning your brow. Where did the day go so horribly wrong?
It began with a missed alarm call. The dog has dragged away your mobile phone after mistaking the protective cover for a ginger biscuit – it’s easily done - but hey, thank goodness for remote working! You wander downstairs in a daze, and after wearily turning on your laptop at twenty-five past eight, you find a notification waiting for you. Nooo! Over the weekend, your new line manager has quietly slipped in an eight-thirty team strategy meeting.
Your immediate reaction is to panic. You could flee upstairs with your laptop to that safe little workspace that you’ve meticulously created in the spare room. That secret place that holds your swish office chair, emergency power leads, dusty pens, and your life-size sketch of a puffin. But the mist clears a little, and that thought is quickly replaced with a little chuckle. 'At least I’m going to be on time for the meeting. I’ll leave my camera turned off so who will ever know where I’m sitting or what I’m wearing?' That’s the beauty of working from home.
The meeting starts well. Other team members are late. Fools! Perhaps they made the silly mistake of getting dressed. And, by a stroke of luck, you know the fourth agenda item very well. After all, you are the one who has written that comprehensive eighteen-page document and are keen to present your dynamic solutions to the team. Phew! But then, as breakfast rattles out of the toaster and the kettle whines like a cat with a trapped tail, doubt begins to seep in. Is it ethical to make strategic decisions whilst wearing kangaroo-patterned pyjamas?
Things soon take a bigger plunge. As one of your colleagues stumbles over the second item on the agenda, the new line manager suddenly announces. “It would be nice to put a face to all the voices. Please show yourselves, team!”
Your finger freezes over the video icon as strange and familiar faces begin to emerge. So much for those Covid haircuts! Everyone looks immaculate. Perfect make-up, smart dresses, someone is even wearing a floral tie. It’s like looking at a wedding congregation.
Panic returns. It’s a conspiracy. Everyone else has been tipped-off about this meeting.
“I’m waiting,” the line manager says in a jokey but slightly prickly manner.
In a frenzy, you grab the first thing to hand, the dog’s favourite tatty blanket. Although the kangaroo-patterned pyjamas are safely hidden away, with the blanket draped over your shoulders you now look like an extra in a Spaghetti Western. 'Should I just go the whole hog and draw a huge moustache on my face?'
Fortunately, your brain begins to work properly again, and you have the foresight to blur your background before you activate the camera. The waffles and tins of baked beans thankfully disappear, but the camera picks up the chunk of dog biscuit that’s welded to the mucky-brown blanket.
Following a stunned silence, your excuses echo around the tiled kitchen walls. The heating has broken. You have a cold coming. Wearing a half-eaten dog biscuit is the new trend. But first impressions last forever, and your new line manager’s facial expressions definitely do not convey admiration . . .
If you enjoyed this little office-based ditty, you might like Saving Worms
A version of this blog also appears on the Predictive Advantage website