Home working isn’t really like this.
As the world went in to lockdown and workplaces closed their doors, there was a sudden rush for employees to set up as homeworkers if they could. Spare rooms were commandeered, kitchen tables cleared, a corner of the bedroom tidied up. Tech was needed to be set up, laptops, mobile phones, printers, logging in to the organisation’s system, what about webcams, GDPR, IT support, office stationery? As all this was going on around me amongst my colleagues, friends, family and the wider world the one thought in my head was ‘welcome to my world’.
I have been a home-based worker for over 20 years with several different organisations. I’ve worked in the spare room, a corner of the bedroom and at the kitchen table. I find it an ideal working environment, I’m at my most productive and creative when working like this and leading remote teams has been a pleasure and has proven to be a highly effective route to innovation and productivity.
However, during the lockdown period home-based working has had to go to the extreme. Zoom meetings, webinars, online training, conference calls, virtual networking, WhatsApp groups, screen sharing, phone catch ups, Facebook live, Slack chats, Yammer messaging – the list goes on and on….
I compare my current home- based work to my previous home- based work and I miss all the face to face interaction, the team meetings, the networking events, the staff one to ones, the conferences, the training sessions, meetings with sector peers, funders, supporters, volunteers and charity beneficiaries.
To everyone who has been forced in to a home working situation and is struggling with the isolation and the necessary tech based communication I just want to say it’s not really like this, it’s really not! Home- based working, although based at home also needs to include all that human interaction that feeds the soul and sparks creativity.
I look forward to the day when we can get back to some form of that essential human contact as it has become crystal clear to me that a key part of being a home-based worker is that you don’t spend all your time at home and the times away from home are essential.
If you plan to continue being a home-based worker after lockdown and are concerned about maintaining this current working model, don’t worry, it isn’t really like this.