The man at the window

Working from home

And there he is..

He must have been there all along, doing exactly the same thing as me, day in day out for months, but it took the leaves to fall from the trees and the evenings to get shorter for me to notice him.

Late in the afternoon, just like me he switches on the light in the upstairs bedroom or “lockdown office” and I spotted him for the first time.

He is working from his house, upstairs in one of the bedrooms in the housing estate opposite me.

When we walk the dogs in the morning and in the evening you can see all of the neighbouring “offices” , the many people at work early in the morning and late in the evening at their new workplaces in bedrooms and on kitchen tables.

It’s as if many of the city centre offices have moved out to the houses in the suburbs with the exception that we can’t take a breather and walk around the corner to the coffee shop or head to the canteen for a cuppa with a work colleague. Instead we just walk down the stairs, put the kettle on, say hello to the dog (if you have a dog!) and come back to the desk.

I don’t miss the commuting time and I certainly don’t miss the costs associated with that, but I do think there is a quiet grind to this extended period of working from home that is probably chipping away at us, in ways that we don’t even realise.

For all of the time saved commuting and the brutal efficiency of meeting the team and clients on Zoom, for some reason I don’t seem to be more productive and when Friday comes I am fairly wiped out.

I read with interest the new proposal by government about remote working which has just been published, ‘Making Remote Work’, Ireland’s National Remote Work Strategy. The Strategy’s stated objective is to ensure that remote working is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits.

Somehow the word “remote” is quite a negative one and it’s literal meaning might resonate with too many of us at the moment.

I know that I don’t want to return to the way it was before, but I’m not sure what exactly I will evolve to.

I don’t know my work neighbour in the window across the way, but maybe some day I will wave and we just might have a coffee at the wall!

Mind your mind..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland



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2 Responses to “The man at the window”

  1. Bill Daly Says:

    Great post Greg, and very stimulating. I believe that Homo Sapiens is essentially a social animal and we do need the company of other people now and then. Maybe the answer lies in some sort of ‘blended’ arrangement where we can choose to work both from Home and the external Office at times of our own choosing. When I started working for myself back in 1999 I got a bit of a cultural shock. I had come from the Multinationals as a Senior Manager, and I had people crawling all over me over many years. I set up the Office at home and it got unnaturally quiet in the morning when my Wife and children had left the house. I really looked forward to just shortly after 11am when the Postman might arrive and we would share a few pleasantries together!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Thanks Billy – I think the blended part could be very tricky as it could end up being a chaotic one foot in and one foot out scenario – at least now we pretty much know that everyone is at the other end of a Zoom call in a “private” space. I should swap my office to a bedroom at the front of the house so I can spot when the postman arrives!

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