Home Separation Anxiety, or… Old is the New Normal

I have been working from home most of the time the past 10 1/2 months, with the occasional day each week in the office until the hard lockdown was suddenly imposed in late July, and not too many days back in the office since then.

Now we are easing back into what semblance we can of what was our old routine, that is, the rat race commute into a city office every morning.

I have never been particularly interested in working from home before, but I must say that it has grown on me considerably since the start of April.

There are plenty of positives:

. a one way journey to work from my home (or vice versa) usually takes between 55 and 65 minutes, provided everything runs smoothly. Staying home saves me 2 hours each working day.

. a new routine of lunch at my mother’s home most week days, combined with bringing whatever groceries she might need.

. ability to sleep in til 7.30am and still be logged on earlier than I would if I had grabbed the 7.20am bus from the corner.

. wearing jeans and polos every day, instead of chinos and business shirts (I think ties seem to have mostly gone out of fashion sometime between 2010 and 2015).

. being able (and this truly is my peasant side coming out) to completely wear out all my oldest and most tatty casual clothes at home before tossing them in the bin.

. saving on public transport – a daily myki fare costs about $9, and perhaps $45 if you buy them as a weekly pass. Not travelling all that way is a big saving.

. missing out on the discomfort of the commute – the sad mix of harried office workers, apprehensive (little do they know what is in store for them) uni students, and upstart private school kids being sent to the other side of town to schools far posher than the lives they are used to and which their parents can really afford. [Not only is it usually standing room all the way from Essendon or Footscray station, but where do you usually catch the winter sniffles? I did not catch a cold at all last year.]

. no more social coffees in the morning in a cafe at the base of the building. Each day, on average, a coffee is going to cost about $4.50.

. and how could I forget fire drill! We did one on my second day back in the office last week, and as I am the sort of officious type to volunteer to be a fire warden, I had the pleasure of marshalling all twelve of the people who had showed up on my floor that day and leading down about five hundred steps to safety. My feet are recovering from that experience.

Against that, perhaps there is all the lost social interaction. But with What’s App, Skype, Zoom etc, what social interaction are we missing?

With Labour Day (or Moomba, as I used to understand it to be when I was a child) this all will come to an end. We are meant to be in the office all the time from then on. I must say, after 30 years as an office worker, I am going to miss working from home.

Published by Ernest Zanatta

Narrow minded Italian Catholic Conservative Peasant from Footscray.

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