No rocket science here, just real reasons to return to the workplace

Many employers have been celebrating at the opportunity that was forced upon them to introduce the Home Working Plan during Covid-19.  For the past few months, everything has been ticking along smoothly, living on Zoom Calls and counting the massive cost-saving benefits around their once densely populated office accommodation.

 As we push on through into hopes of a wonderful Summer, dreams of a heatwave, very little thought is given to exactly what those Home Workers are actually doing in their working day, so let’s have a think about the reality…

A day in the life of a home-worker

Wake up to the Alarm going off at 6am, no office, no shower required, hit Snooze, snuggle back down until the dog insists its getting up time….. usually all good till 9am!

 Rudely awoken by the kids around 8:30am wanting to you to play Fortnite on the Xbox. Ok, no worries lets just make a coffee, make endless rounds of toast & jam for the Kids, might treat them to a bacon sandwich (no work to rush to), so a quick trip to Tesco is required. While there, may as well do a bigger shop and stock up on BBQ food for later in the afternoon, will only be a quick 10 minutes in the store, once I’ve spent 30 minutes social distance queueing round the car park.  

 Back home, and quick eye over the work emails & check for any missed calls, nothing much going on that can’t wait, so on with bacon sandwiches whilst the kids set up Fortnite on the Lounge Big Screen.  

Breakfast done, shopping done, and it is still only 11am! A quick game of Fortnite (2 hours pass very quickly when the kids are beating you!). 

 12.50pm came around real fast, and it’s time for the Weekly Team Zoom Call, so nip upstairs and change PJ top for clean work shirt, run fingers through hair (or a brush if you really want to make a great impression), quickly clear up the remnants of breakfast on the kitchen, replace with work laptop and we’re ready to go….  kids locked in front of the Xbox, so no distractions. 

 Suddenly, just as you load Zoom up, the dogs leap into action as the ‘barking security squad’, DPD are at the door with a social distance delivery, my latest Internet shopping purchase! Me and DPD Dave are on first name terms now! Well, these shoes were a great buy… and a must have purchase for wearing around the house!

 Back to Zoom, apologising for not muting my mike, and fumbling through the last 10 minutes of the call whilst trying not to move as I wiggle my feet into my latest shoe delivery, just time to paint my nails before we all wish each other a safe working week, end Zoom call.

 Then you remember the dog walk, where has the time gone today, it’s time to round up the Security Squad and off we go, a beautiful walk across sunlit fields, hoping this heatwave lasts all summer long, who knows, it could even be an Indian Summer!

 Back home and the kids are pushing for a BBQ, I settle them with 30 mins Home Schooling on the iPad, and manage to bribe them to ‘self-entertain’ until at least 4pm as I have *some* work to do. I then, grab a cold beer and get comfy on the sofa to resume the latest Netflix series started the night before… quickly check emails, again nothing urgent, so on with the TV and a little peace.  

 My peace is swiftly disturbed. The kids come running in, ‘we’re bored’ … OK, so lets bake some Bread for our BBQ Burgers, we’ve perfected our baking so well these last few months, easier now we can buy flour too!

 It’s soon 4pm so another final quick flick through the emails, 2 missed calls from the boss, and one potentially urgent message, its so hot outside these can wait until the morning!

 Phone left inside, as we light the BBQ, crack another beer, then notice the neighbours over the fence and invite them round to social distance burn some food with us!  Come and see our new DIY Home Pub! We drink copious amounts of beer & wine (how fast did that last Laithwaites order disappear!),  this is the new norm, who cares its only Monday, all the days are the same when you’re working from home. I’ll catch up tomorrow….

 Sustainability

I am sure for many of us this resonates in some way. The constant juggling of home life, pressure to keep the kids entertained and educated, these added constant distractions have been a new way of life for many of us.  Whilst some have found the time for increased productivity and lowered stress, the larger percentage of the Home Workforce certainly have not.

Perceived cost savings around ‘fancy’ office accommodation will be extremely short-lived.  Fact is that as time goes on, suntans will improve, internet shopping will continue to go through the roof, suppliers of PPE Will become Lords of the Manor, but productivity will drop, customer service standards will slip with complacency, and the morale, motivation and Team Spirit you gain from a structured workplace will become a ghost of the past.

Homeworking has been fun for some and challenging for many.  As Companies look to take on a new, cheaper and flexible working structure ‘post Covid-19’, it is important to consider the long term effects on their Business in terms of dysfunctional structure and inevitable falling profits.

 

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