Opinion

The highs and lows of working from home

By Sophie Baldwin

It has always been a dream of mine to work from home, but that dream didn’t contain the stress of two daughters who have both lost their jobs, an economy in free fall and of course COVID-19 to deal with.

Not that I am complaining as I am one of the lucky people who currently still has a job to go to and for that I am eternally grateful.

But I have learnt three lessons already this week:

1. Don’t sit at the kitchen table in the sun because you can and will still get sunburnt even though you are inside.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to sit at the kitchen table and type on your computer with your sunglasses on.

3. It is, however, not acceptable to eat a fortnight's worth of chocolate in two days.

As a journalist, writing is my life and I can type words and write stories until the cows come home.

Technology, however, is not my friend and I am dreading the thought of negotiating the next however-long without the support of my much younger and much more tech savvy co-workers.

This is coming from someone who has unknowingly managed to blow up two work laptops in the space of six months and who often has the work IT department shaking their heads in dismay at my lack of computer knowledge.

That said, today I managed to attend my first ever ‘Zoom’ meeting online.

I managed to log into it all by myself wearing my daughter’s Year 12 Shrek mask as a surprise to my co-workers to lighten the mood.

But just as I was just starting to think I had a pretty good handle on technology (when everyone’s faces appeared and it was all looking good) I realised I couldn’t hear a thing.

After working out to how to turn the computer volume up by myself (go me) I was still sitting in silence, although everyone else could apparently hear me yelling at the dog who chose that particular moment to have one of its barking frenzies at the neighbours across road.

Lucky there was no swearing involved because it is easy to forget your actions are being broadcast across a meeting when you are certainly not used to it.

I did try phoning into the meeting only to be met by a continuous engaged signal and when I finally managed to get through all I could hear was an annoying pinging noise that took about five seconds to start hurting my ears.

As the IT techs are well aware of my limited knowledge, they soon logged into my computer (I am sure just to check my volume was actually turned up).

Twenty minutes later, it was discovered internet connection and slow speed were responsible, so the meeting was terminated, and we did things the good, old-fashioned way over the phone.

By the end of this time I am either going to be very good at IT or insane, and I am thinking it might be the latter.

But in all seriousness, we are heading into uncharted and stressful times, so be kind to yourself, be kind to others, have a laugh, don’t forget to wash your hands and remember it is perfectly acceptable to wear your pyjamas to work when you only have to walk down the passage to get there.