The world of work is now almost unrecognisable from this time last year when we were all rolling out the Halloween decorations and festooning our desks with spiders and fake cobwebs. Many of us are now working from home, all or maybe just some of the time, and those of us that are still heading into work every day are finding a vastly different place.
The nights are drawing in and the world feels gloomy, so in order to brighten your day, we have gathered the key differentials between working from home and working from the office to help you make an informed decision on which is better (whether or not you get a choice in the matter). Maybe you recognise some of these from your own current working situation?
On the way to the meeting make sure you pop into the stationery cabinet and grab a new notepad and pen. No one ever uses notepads and pens anymore but it feels wrong to arrive at the conference room empty handed, lest people assume you have only shown up for the muffin basket. And not only is it an extra few minutes that you don’t have to look busy at your desk, you also don’t want to be the only person there who isn’t clutching an unused Pukka pad, everyone knows that it proves you mean business.
The next hour or two will largely be spent trying to stay awake, thinking about what to have for dinner, doodling on your pad (and making the odd irrelevant note), while keeping a constant score of the number of remaining muffins vs the number of people sitting round the table.
At the end of the meeting everyone will make productive noises while secretly feeling excited that there’s now only two hours to go until lunchtime (but you can still grab another muffin as a post meeting snack).
You leave all preparation until the last possible minute and skid into your chair with only 30 seconds to spare before the Zoom meeting starts. It doesn’t really matter if you’re late anyway, someone invariably won’t quite understand how to use the software so the first 30 minutes will be spent explaining how to turn on their microphone using over exaggerated mouthing and a series of arm gestures before the meeting can begin in earnest.
Below waist clothing is completely optional but recommended because your cat WILL want to sit uncomfortably on your lap, after brazenly walking in front of the camera several times. There is no muffin basket here, but you do get to make yourself a huge mug of tea or coffee (optional: fill it with wine/beer as no one will be able to tell anyway).
This meeting will likely be shorter but there will be lots of discussion about how convenient meeting like this is, and therefore will likely lead to more of them (if only so the team can continue to feel “connected”).
When you began at the office you were assigned a professional corporate desk with several drawers, which you have since decorated with a pot plant, a photo of your kids and a number of novelty fidget toys.
You were also given an ergonomically designed desk chair, a footrest, a wrist rest and other chiropractic paraphernalia which were provided by your manager to satisfy the compliance bods and use up the health and safety budget.
You get to choose between sitting at the dining room table next to a blob of gravy from last nights dinner, nestled amongst kids’ homework, a fruit bowl containing five blackened bananas and a pile of bills (this also means sitting in a super uncomfortable dining chair.
The set looked great on the website, though you never thought you’d have to sit in them for any length of time and now you realise how agonising they are it’s too late to return) or sitting on the sofa with your laptop balanced on a cushion in your lap (there is a danger that you will get sucked in to daytime TV with this option).
You might occasionally bring a packed lunch (when you’ve been really organised) but most often you will head out to the local pub with a couple of colleagues.
If you are very busy you may grab an interesting looking vegan tofu, beetroot and quinoa taco from the hipster street food van that comes to the office car park, eaten while poring over important spreadsheets or pdfs, while feeling super healthy (you’re not that hungry anyway because you ate three muffins at the morning meeting).
Sad cheese sandwich, a packet of Wotsits and a Penguin while staring in shocked silence at BBC news.
You conveniently finish a task at the perfect time and start tidying your desk at 5.27pm, before turning off the computer and skipping out happily at 5.30pm while having a friendly gossip with work mates.
Once you arrive at home you can largely put work out of your mind, there’s nothing you can do about it until 9am tomorrow anyway.
You receive an email at 5.27pm about an urgent piece of work that needs to be completed tomorrow. Unable to think about anything else, and having full access to your work computer and all your files, you find yourself working on it well into the evening, while other family members have dinner and do their homework around you.
You quickly lose all boundaries as home and work life begin to blur into one, with the concept of “home time” becoming completely abstract.
While convenient, this also means that your partner frequently comments on your increased working hours, which you trade off against the positives of being able to unload the dishwasher or hang up laundry in the middle of the day.
Whether you’re working from home or are back at the office, we at JMK hope that your current working situation keeps you motivated, engaged and productive (while providing plenty of muffins).
JMK can help you manage your on-site and remote workforce with comprehensive back office support, or choose our inclusive PEO model, a complete HR outsourcing solution which provides peace of mind to both employers and staff.
Since 2002, JMK have been compliantly consolidating back-office, accountancy and payroll functions.
We have evolved to provide a range of expert services; such as Professional Employer Organisation (PEO), or Back Office Support (BOS) or Funding, becoming a leading provider to the contracting industry.
We know every agency is different in some shape or form, even if only by a little, but important bit. Combining our knowledge and experience of multiple sectors enables JMK to support you all from recruiters and payroll, through to finance, compliance and management.
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