A recent article from the BBC gave voice to some individuals doing office-based and office support jobs whilst working from home. They detailed the darker side of home working, echoing what some candidates have shared with our PA recruitment agency. For many, it’s no bed of roses. Whether you’re doing a temporary job from home or working from home on a more long-term basis, perhaps their experiences resonate with you?
Tara Hudson is a local council worker struggling to work from home without the right equipment or adequate space in her London home. Her back is in “absolute agony” due to not having a proper desk—and no room for one. “There’ll be a generation of people working on their bed who’ll develop spinal problems because of it,” she says. “It’s depressing. Work, sleep, and play all in one room.”
House share nightmares
Lily O’Hagan is an office worker who lives in a shared house. To begin with, connectivity was a headache. “We had to get the landlord to get business broadband set up to make the WiFi faster as it was so poor,” she explains. Lily has also become the de facto person for answering the door to deliveries and can’t work in the communal area for confidentiality reasons. She goes on to say how much she misses the office, “If I need help, we can talk more easily in the office. IT issues make communicating and asking questions much harder.”
No clear divide
Gemma Shaw highlights a problem many home workers are familiar with: the struggle to create a clear boundary between home-life and work-life. “I feel like a failing parent and a failing professional,” she says. From her kitchen table, Gemma has been working whilst simultaneously attempting to home school her children. However, as she points out, “A child nudging you when you’re trying to do something important, like write a press release, means you’re not getting any work done, but you’re not educating them either.”
The result is that Gemma works after the children have gone to bed, sharing childcare with her husband in shifts. Her exclamation of “it’s so stressful” is a sentiment shared by thousands of parents across the country.
Paul, who didn’t want us to use his real name, is an IT worker. He explains how working from home has negatively impacted his mental health. “The biggest thing for me is the lack of social interaction,” he explains. “I have some good friends at work and we go for a run in our lunch break. Not having that exercise and interaction is difficult. At the moment, work is way down on my priority list. If I was in the office, the support network around me would help make it not so bad.” Paul also explains how people’s homes are being taken over by the encroachment of the office. “Why should my dining room become their office space?” he asks.
Making the change
Although home working for office workers has been inevitable—and will continue to be—many businesses are making their offices Covid-secure and getting staff back on site. If home working doesn’t suit you, and your employer is making a permanent shift to working from home, then don’t despair. It may be time to look for another employer that suits you more.
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