Working from home in the time of COVID-19

Working from home in the time of coronavirus

By Steve Gray, Project Manager at Squire Energy

At Squire Energy we’ve long been familiar with working from home on the occasions where it’s been required or has enabled employees to manage their lives at home (which can sometimes take precedence) without having an undue impact on productivity.

But this wholesale effort of turning everyone’s home into an office, sharing our working space with (I can barely bring myself to say it)… other people, turns the whole thing on its head. My wife works in the finance department of one of the main gas network operators in the UK. We have both brought our laptops home and hooked them up to our desktop monitors so that we can enjoy the convenience that brings. We sit opposite each other, mirror images, barely looking at each other and with the snarl of network cables, humming laptops and big screens reflected in our glasses we look like extras in Mr. Robot. Every now and again my phone trills with a BBC News Alert and without fail I say: ‘Oh, jeez, what’s happened now?’

On one hand, we are holing ourselves up inside four brick walls but we are also aware that we could leave the house at any time. A bit like kidnapping yourself and then giving yourself a break for good behaviour. And with our five year old daughter having no school to attend I find myself drawing up lesson plans, using teaching resources, marking work and finding creative things for her to do, which makes me feel like some kind of anti-establishment patriarch in a doomsday cult.

I haven’t resorted to taking an online dance course or learning to knit (with a £30 one-off payment it was tempting). There was just too much work to do. In fact, I’ve found myself working longer hours. I log in to our team chatroom at 7:30 and I’m still grinding away on various emails and projects well past the time I would normally quit if I was at the office. The lines have blurred.

One thing that has come out of all of this is a peripheral appreciation of people and society and social responsibility at a time when the fondness for those things seemed to be going out of fashion. I’m under no illusions it will last but the government is already re-thinking a few policies as COVID-19 creates a new lens for it look through – one that is forcing it to re-focus on what they call ‘low-skilled workers’ as well as the NHS and policing.

The other thing I’ve benefited from is having sufficient practice to finally make a cup of tea that my wife will actually drink.

If you’d like to know what Steve gets up to during a ‘usual’ day in his job at Squire, you can read all about it in our Day in the Life of a Project Manager blog.

Let us know how you’re adjusting to working from home on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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