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Remote Worker

One of the first things I discovered when I started working from home, is that I can work just as well in a super-comfy lounge suit, as I can in my work clothes. Not that I have ever worn skirt suits and heels into the office. I’m more of a boots leggings and oversize jumper kind of employee. No more battling with my hair every morning to try and get the slightly deranged look out of it. My hair can frizz away and do its own thing. And I don’t have to worry about putting my eyebrows on. My two doggies really don’t care how I look. 

If I have a migraine, I don’t have to wait to get home before slapping a cold patch on my forehead. Even so, I do have some sense of dignity, and usually peel the patch off before answering the front door. I say usually, because sometimes I forget. I only know this memory lapse has occurred after opening the door to the window cleaner/delivery driver/canvasser/charity collector with a cheery good morning/afternoon. The giveaway is when their eyes flick up to the white rectangle, just above where my eyebrows should be. This is followed by a pitying smile (ah, bless her, she’s forgotten what panty liners are for). Or a look of utter bewilderment, expressed by wide eyes and a slightly opened mouth (what the hell is that on her forehead?) To be honest, I’ve given up explaining.

When I first started working from home, I used to make sure my appearance was work-appropriate. Smart casual clothes and eyebrows on, just in case one of my work colleagues Skyped me or came over to talk about company matters. But, as many remote workers know, once you stop going into the office, colleagues you once spoke to every day, suddenly forget how to use email, Teams or the mobile phone. Some even assume you have mind reading as part of your skill set, and that you are up to speed with current orders and work issues (no, telepathy is not on my CV). I am lucky, I have two colleagues who check in with me at least once a day, keep me informed about anything that relates to my role within the company, or to simply ask how my day is going. Too many remote workers do not have this interaction with their non-remote colleagues. Such communication is vital to help the remote worker feel included, and less isolated. Because, let’s face it, working from home can get very lonely. Hence, my cheerful front door greetings, as these people are the only human contact I have during working hours.

Being a remote worker doesn’t suit everyone. You need to be self-disciplined, self-motivated and largely self-reliant. The clue here is in the word ‘self’, because a lot of the time you need to solve your own work issues. In the office, if something goes wrong with the network, your PC, a sales order or expected delivery, there is generally someone to help, or have a much-needed moan to. When you work from home, you can call colleagues only to keep getting the engaged tone or voicemail. And after seeing that your Teams message, text or email is still unread, you may eventually end up on YouTube, trying to find a help video to identify and solve your technical issue.

Having said that, as a remote worker, I am far more productive, as there are less distractions. I can organise my day and just crack on. In the office, lunch and tea breaks generally involve scrolling phones, checking social media pages, and sharing the latest cute hamster/cat/dog video, or film trailer. At home, I use my tea and lunch breaks to peg out the washing, hoover, polish, clean the bathroom, cut the grass, or any other jobs I can do within fifteen or thirty minutes.

The best thing about being a remote worker, is that I don’t have to worry about giving professional reactions to work-related problems. At home I can curse and vent as much as I like.  When you are a remote worker, there is no one to hear you scream.  

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