Real Talk: Working from home

Our resident columnist weighs up the reality vs expectation of WFH

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Working from home sounds great – no commute, no managers, no strategic planning of toilet breaks. But is it? Is it really? Is working from home actually any better than going into the office? Is this new normal worse than the old normal?

Let’s find out:

Expectation: you get a nice lie-in

Working from home means you don’t have to get up as early. This is obviously great because sleep is a gift from the angels and the only time that everything is OK.*

*Apart from that recurring ‘turning up to your GCSE maths exam but you haven’t revised AND you’re only wearing pants’ nightmare you keep having

Reality: you don’t go to bed until 4 in the morning

Not having to get up early means you can go to bed later! Mum and Dad can’t tell you what to do, and now your manager can’t dictate your bedtime either! Down with homework! You’re going to sleep whenever you want! You’re going to sit in front of YouTube for 3 hours, starting at 1am! You’re going to be absolutely knackered all day! You’re going to miss that important briefing because you’re asleep on the sofa at 3pm! Stick it to the man!

Expectation: Living Room Chic is so hot right now

Even if you work in a casual, cool office with beards and slides and stuff, you probably still have to think about what you’re going to wear (the orange or the black beanie?). Working from home means you can literally wear what you want. You can wear your trousers on your arms and your jumper on your legs if you want (funny, that’s funny, you’re funny). Just wear the comfiest thing you want. Spill as much sauce as you want down your top as well. Nobody cares.

Reality: Fashion is fleeting

Oh wait, you’ve got that Zoom meeting you forgot about. Better log on and completely forget about the entire three course meal that is down your front. Scientists are baffled as to how you managed to drop a whole actual sausage into the pocket on your t-shirt.

Basically, if you’re going to spill something, spill it on your bottom half. Top half is for business, the bottom half is the drip tray.

Expectation: Think of all the fancy lunches you can make, Nigella 

Gone are Sainsbury’s meal deals, stodgy boring sandwiches and wet rolls from that creepy deli by the office; in are Michelin-standard 7 course tasting menus cooked by chef-of-the-moment: you.


Mama mia.

Expectation: Daily exercise routine at lunch

Runs, bike rides, weight-lifting – it’s time to become the health-powerhouse you always knew you were. What a perfect opportunity to get in the best shape of your life. Might train for a marathon. Might win an Ironman. Might get in the Guinness Book of Records for World’s Most Muscled Thighs.

Reality: Daily avoidance routine at lunch

Exercise doesn’t exist. All that exists is food. Then thumb-in-mouth nap-nap time. And a Guinness Book of Records entry for the bike with the most cobwebs on it.

Expectation: You have the world’s most professional workstation

You may not be in an office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a big shot power player. You’ll set up a desk, buy an extra screen (because real top dogs have two screens), maybe a tablet, a fountain pen, one of those momentum ball pendulum things that 80s CEOs had, maybe, umm, three mice? Mouses? What a professional.

Reality: The Early Learning Centre is your office

Your desk is your bed. You have flagrantly disobeyed all the tick boxes that you filled out on that ‘correct workstation posture’ survey you did when you started your job and you are working horizontally.

But hey, at least you had a shower at lunch, just so you could work from exactly the same position on the sofa. What an adult.

Expectations: You’ve got your evenings back

In normal times, if you finish at 5pm, you’re not back home until 8pm, are you? Then it’s bedtime. Evenings aren’t a thing. But when you’re working from home you can slam that laptop closed at 5pm with the force of a thousand tonnes and then you’ve got the whole evening left to do all the cross stitch and painting and break-making and skateboarding that you could possibly desire.

Reality: You are squandering your evenings with a reckless abandon not seen since records began

All that new free time. What a shame it is that you’re wasting it watching every single dating show you can get your hands on.

Expectation: You will hold it together

Working from home is sooooo easy!

Reality: You will hold it together

What a surprise, you have managed to follow through with your expectations in every possible way. Well done to you. You’ll sleep so well tonight, in the massive cocoon you’ve spent a month making out of tissue paper and hand sanitiser. Your transformation into an insect is almost complete. This working from home thing is sooooo easy!

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