Monday, 20 April 2020

Working from home

About 25 years ago, with paternal leave looming, I set myself up to work from home, remotely logging in using a modem that shared the line with the phone. If the phone was used while I was connected, I got logged out.

That was pre-Web. Now many more facilities are available without having to use command lines and Terminal windows. A browser's all you need. Video links have added a new dimension - I've used whatsapp, MS Teams and Zoom in the last week alone. Now that files and whiteboards can be shared, online seminars are easier.

But really, I've only dabbled with home-working up to now. I'm beginning to experience the problems that people who work full-time from home complain about - finding a place to work, separating work from family life, isolation, etc. I still can't bring myself to use Facebook and Twitter for small talk, though I wouldn't rule it out.

The writing groups I'm involved with can't meet physically. We tried to organise a Zoom session but there weren't enough takers so we're exchanging files by e-mail. As coordinator I'm trying to collate the comments to the anonymised texts, which is interesting. Ten poets are bound to disagree on a piece. However, several of them might decide that the same lines require comment.


  1. I’ve never had a job where I was allowed to work from home. And by “allowed” I mean get paid. Oh I could put in all the extra hours I wanted but as soon as I suggested doing my “real” work any place where they couldn’t monitor me that was suddenly a no-no. And that really hurt. I never gave anyone a cause to think I might slack off but there you go. I do agree that for some people, especially those who aren’t as lucky as me and has a home office kitted out better than any place I’ve ever been gainfully employed, getting into the work mindset when surrounded by non-work things might be a challenge. Never for me because I’ve always enjoyed work. Even now I still call all the stuff I do here “work” because it’s certainly not play and if it is fun then so be it. Work, setting out to achieve stuff and actually achieving it, has always been immensely satisfying to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s producing training notes, creating a database, writing a poem or dashing off a comment to a blog. I feel good sitting behind a desk. And it doesn’t hurt having Tangerine Dream on at the same time even if I have to wear headphones because it’s two in the morning. That was the one thing about work work I would’ve liked to have changed because mostly I’ve had the kind of jobs where you couldn’t have music on let alone blaring.

  2. Your work/home attitude may become the way of the future once lockdown ends. It suits at least some companies and workers. A number of people in writing groups I'm involved with have expressed a preference for the current way of running monthly events. Things won't return to the way they were.