April 1, 2020
It’s funny how all the stuff we read online over the last few years about how to be and behave at work suddenly contradicts all the guff about how to be effective while working from home over the last few weeks. Well, here’s the guide for those who’ve been taking their internet reading to heart over the last few years.
Start your working day whenever you want. Some days, don’t even bother to start it at all. You read all those articles about how routine is the enemy of the inspired mind, and how we work when, where and how we want. You’re in charge now. No more presenteeism. Philosophy is for schmucks.
Make sure you’re in chaos. You read all those articles about a messy desk being creative, remember? Cock a snook to the clear desk policy stasi by immersing yourself in newspaper cuttings and gonks. No more ASBOs for leaving a chewed biro out. Cover everything in sticky-note reminders that you missed or forgot you even had. Smile as you acknowledge how far you’ve come. Realise you don’t have any milk in the fridge.
Just stay in bed. Don’t bother with a desk. Variety is key, And you read all that stuff about napping at work – well, you’re ready now. You’re still in your PJs.
Get the biscuits in. Barrow-loads of them.Health is a state of mind. Everyone wanted one whenever you opened a packet in the office, well now you can have the lot while working from home. You’re creating your own ‘personal space’ lined with chocolate covered digestives. You read all those articles about carving out something for yourself, an inviolable arena in which to focus and centre. Well, this is it. And its bloody delicious.
Have a fax machine to hand and make sure to insist on all your output being sent this way to preserve bandwidth for others
Hide your kit and accessories around the house. Choose a different place for every item every day. Spice it up. You read all those pieces about taking time to switch off, be analogue, well if you can’t find your stuff then you can’t be ‘always on’. So, you’re doing your wellbeing a massive favour while working from home. Big boost for you. Have another biscuit.
Get your communication channels lined up. Have a fax machine to hand and make sure to insist on all your output being sent this way to preserve bandwidth for others. You’re being a considerate neighbour. You read all those posts about sharing and being selfless. And upcycling. Tell everyone expecting something you faxed it. Blame the Wif-Fi. Everyone else does.
Involve pets. If you do accidentally arrive on a zoom call, ensure pet treats are located just the other side of your keyboard so your dog sticks its bum into the camera while frantically rooting them out. You read all that stuff about pets being de-stressors and people bringing them to work, right? No excuses here then, you’re on message and on trend. Your colleagues will see you in a new light. Not so much of a pillock now, eh?
You’re a free spirit, a maven, a black swan, a thought-leader and a game-changer
Have as many distractions around you as possible. Whack up the 80s club night mix and lose yourself in memories of that week in Lloret de Mar. Have all your social media channels open at once. Staying social in the age of distancing is key, you read it online. In a promoted tweet.
Take a regular break. From around the start of the day till about the end. You’re a free spirit, a maven, a black swan, a thought-leader and a game-changer, and that takes focus and application. You have to be at your best and ready for when called on to act, because it’s all about action and not words. Your people need you. So, don’t write any words, that’s so last decade and no-one can read anymore. Or not your blog, anyway. Do some Tik-Tok instead. You’re in the moment, the groove of now.
Planning is for process mullahs and you’re so not process. You proudly got fired from the only process job you had because it just so wasn’t you. And you were useless. Rather, you listen to what the wind is whispering. There’s no structure in your life because you read about freeing yourself, throwing off the shackles of neo-Taylorist mediocrity and living your dream, doing what you love and loving what you do. Which is, after much soul-searching, bugger all. But you do need someone to lend you a fiver till the end of the week.
Really – you’re an adult, You’ll work it out.
Neil Usher is Chief Workplace and Change Strategist at GoSpace AI, an internationally renowned workplace strategist and former Workplace Director at Sky. His books Unf*cking Work, The Elemental Workplace and Elemental Change and blog are a must read for anybody with an interest in work and workplaces.