I wrote in this morning's session about how having to work from home meant that my day had an element of structure, that I wasn't scrabbling around for something to do for those 8 hours each week day. The idea was that this structure keeps me occupied and stops me getting bored.

I think it would actually be the opposite.

My job is predominantly reactive, we work according to strict SLAs: our hotline must be answered within three rings, emails picked up as quickly as possible and everything to be responded to within 15 minutes. It's the kind job where, unless you're working on any particular task or project, you spend your day waiting for things to happen.

When everyone is in the office this isn't so bad, there is normally quite a lot going on and the busy periods surpass the downtime. With everyone working from home a different reality has set in, a lot more is being done via phone call or video conference, the range of work being done is reduced meaning there are less things that might require assistance or support resulting in less for my team to do.

We use a remote VPN tunnel solution which means that our laptops and IP phones connect just as they do when in the office (I had to have this shipped to me after lockdown kicked in) so the rules about responding to things still apply. The problem is less to do means any failure to meet those rules introduces a disproportionate percentage failure: 1 missed call out of 100 is only 1 percent, 1 missed call out of only 3 suddenly means your stats look appalling!

Consequently, the feeling of being stuck at your (makeshift) desk is amplified for fear of missing anything. This actually makes things more boring with the longer periods of downtime interspersed with fewer tasks. I manage to do a few non work related things during the day (typing this post for example) but am never able to give them my full attention, the attention that they deserve, leading to a feeling of frustration.

While I would not have the enforced semi-structure to my day, I feel not having to work would allow me to be more productive, more creative; I could get more things done around that house, I could spend more time concentrating on writing, could do more reading, or assist my wife with various things as she works from home.

Perhaps there is an element of "forbidden fruit" about this, that were I to actually have an extra 8 hours a day to do with as I pleased that I would soon get bored and start craving the structure imposed by work. Perhaps there would only so much that I could find to do before cabin fever set in meaning this whole point is moot.

At least I would get bored on my own terms.

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