If you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas and slippers, how can it be called work?

Pardon his French, but it’s hard to break the habits of a lifetime if you never leave your desk, writes Phil Brown

Jul 01, 2024, updated Jul 01, 2024
Workplaces have been forced to adopt an honour system with so many staff now working from home. (Flickr/Nenad Stojkovic, CC BY)

Workplaces have been forced to adopt an honour system with so many staff now working from home. (Flickr/Nenad Stojkovic, CC BY)

Working from home was a novelty at first but now it’s routine and it gets a bit tricky. I really didn’t work much from home at all until the pandemic.

Then it became acceptable. I was working in a newsroom then and when discussing working from home I would use those Austin Powers air quotation marks … “working from home” as if it was a euphemism.

I actually preferred to go to the office back then because when I was there, I really had to work. I couldn’t really be sitting around watching old episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm there, could I?

I’m not saying I was watching them when “working from home” either. Okay maybe in my breaks.

But now I am working from home all the time and it has taken some getting used to. For a start I have to have the TV on in the background and I have an old fart transistor radio on my desk too for more background noise. Having worked in newsrooms for nearly four decades I simply cannot work in silence.

The background noise is my focus.

The other tricky part of working from home is the domestic distractions. I certainly do a lot more washing, sweeping and vacuuming now. It’s called procrastination. I do try to replicate my old newsroom habits to a degree.

I drop my wife to the train, get a coffee and then go home straight to my desk.

If I’m not disciplined about that it may well be mid-morning before I sit down.

In the newsroom I would always have morning tea – a cuppa and two digestive biscuits – around 10.15am and I do the same thing at home.

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And I have a light lunch, usually just a sandwich, probably around 1.30pm. Which means I have had a productive morning and that’s great because my afternoons are not quite so productive.

I find it harder now to work after lunch and the temptation of a siesta is great but I shun that because that would be game over for the day.

I know a lot of people love working from home and staying in their pajamas all day but I have to go through my usual rituals of shaving and brushing my hair and getting dressed properly to get myself into work mode.

Working from home requires discipline, that’s for sure.

It’s important to keep routines going and to be a little firm with yourself.

I do miss the office and the frisson of a newsroom and the company of colleagues who may or may not be missing my cussing.

I cuss at home too but nobody hears me although I had the window open the other day and was swearing at myself at my desk and I think the neighbors copped an earful. Pardon the French everyone.


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