When faced with working at home for a month or more, I knew I would benefit in some small ways: no tube fare, no work restaurant bills, no make-up in the week, no jewellery and no heels. I have packed away all unnecessary things including jewellery, Oyster and work access cards, my limited make-up supply and my work bag. Who knows when I will need to dust them all off.
With most of the world on pause (except the virus), last week I looked at the black bear trotting around the home or running after Italy, our cat. Ivy is oblivious to the major shift in world order and is only vaguely aware that she has gone from Mini Schnauzer dog to medium black bear with dreadlocks. A consequence of the pandemic is that there are no dog groomers. Either we have to order sheep shears, lightly steam Ivy with the new clothes steamer or we leave her to go with the flow like us humans who need grey hair dyed or who need a barber. My colleagues and I have spoken about human grooming on work calls and have agreed that before going back to work at the office, we will need a week to get nails, hair, eyebrows and whatever else needs a tidy-up, done. Timing is key here for our Prime Minister as he may need grooming services as well: allow the barbers, hair salons, pamper parlours to open ahead of other businesses. I do hope many of these small businesses survive and open their doors for business once pandemic panic is over.
The joys of having work calls at home with no video, means I can sit in mismatched clothes, have my new heels on (called “slippers”), have skew eyebrows, see through my thatched roof fringe and have lettuce in my teeth and nobody knows. I have just brought-out my Easter bunny ears and I am going to wear them over my work headphones. Only I will know I have 4 pairs of ears. Often I have washing drying in the background and I have no need to worry about airing my laundry. This could be the new way to work.
Many City of London firms are wondering why they need such large corporate offices if people can work effectively at home. I suspect most of us will have hot desks in the near future and working from home will be the choice of many. I can happily work at home 3 days a week but I have realised I miss the office banter at the coffee machine including the coffee machine and the spontaneous quick chats as people pass my desk. How I miss the rows of huge printers and the printing or reprographics team. I also miss the tube trip and the competitive streak it brings out in me of diving into a free (non-priority) seat. My daily walks to and from the station are also missed although replaced now with a daily early morning walk with H&H (Husband and Hound).
Dare I say, but I think people will be softer after this. Perhaps more caring. On our daily walk, I see more people waving, saying thank-you as you step aside and cars stopping, allowing us to cross the road with the dreadlocked black bear. We will be agile and resourceful. One thing I will do, is make sure we always have a supply of cat treats. My dear boy, Italy, cannot help himself but squeeze me for treats by sitting on the very clause I am reading or standing on my keyboard. Thank goodness for mega tubs of salmon flavoured cat Dreamies.