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Confessions of a Remote Worker

Remote working

Posted by: martyn-chapman

HR Management

You’re trapped and rooted to your kitchen chair with a new worry line adorning your brow, courtesy of your new line manager. But where did the day go so horribly wrong?

It’s Monday morning. The dog has hidden your mobile phone again, so you’ve missed your alarm. Thank goodness for remote working!

You rush downstairs. After wearily turning on your laptop in the kitchen at twenty-five past eight, you find a notification waiting for you. Over the weekend, your new line manager has quietly slipped in an eight-thirty team strategy meeting.

What kind of a manager would do that? Weekend is leisure time, and doesn’t she realise that you might need time to prepare?

Your immediate reaction is to panic. You could flee upstairs with your laptop to that safe little workspace that you’ve meticulously created in the spare room. That secret place that holds your squeaky office chair, emergency power leads, dusty pens, and your life-size sketch of a puffin.

But the fog clears a little, and that thought is quickly replaced with a little chuckle. At least, I’m going to be on time for the meeting. I’ll leave my camera turned off so who will ever know where I’m sitting or what I’m wearing?

That’s the beauty of working from home. Or is it?

The meeting starts well. Other team members are late. Fools! Perhaps they made the silly mistake of getting dressed. And, by a stroke of luck, you know the first agenda item very well. After all, you are the one who has written that comprehensive eighteen-page document, and you are able to present your dynamic solutions to the team. Phew!

But then, as breakfast rattles out of the toaster and the kettle whines like a cat with a trapped tail, doubt begins to seep in. Is it ethical to make strategic decisions whilst wearing kangaroo-patterned pyjamas?

Things soon take a bigger plunge. As one of your colleagues stumbles over the second item on the agenda, the new line manager suddenly announces. “It would be nice to put a face to all the voices. Please show yourselves, team!”

Your finger freezes over the video icon as strange and familiar faces begin to emerge. So much for those Covid haircuts! Everyone looks immaculate. Perfect make-up, smart dresses, someone is even wearing a floral tie. It’s like looking at a wedding party.

Panic returns. It’s a conspiracy. Everyone else has been tipped-off about this meeting! 

“I’m waiting,” the line manager says in a jokey but slightly prickly manner.

In a frenzy, you grab the first thing to hand; the dog’s favourite tatty blanket. Although, the kangaroo-patterned pyjamas are safely hidden away, with the blanket draped over your shoulders you now look like an extra in a Spaghetti Western. Should I just go the whole hog and draw a huge moustache on my face?

The perils of online meetings

Fortunately, your brain begins to work properly again, and you have the foresight to blur your background before you activate the camera. The waffles and tins of baked beans disappear, but the camera picks up the chunk of dog biscuit that’s welded to the mucky-brown blanket.

Following a stunned silence, your excuses echo around the tiled kitchen walls. The heating has broken. You have a cold coming. Wearing a half-eaten dog biscuit is the new trend. Your new line managers facial expressions definitely do not convey admiration!

But has the damage been done? Will these first impressions last forever?

At RPX2, we can’t help you with your fashion choices, but we can help you and your line manager to really get to know each other and understand each others’ core needs and drives.

Any hasty first impressions can then be revised based on real character traits, and subsequent meetings can be organised in a way that allows everyone to be successful…and on time.

Please contact us to find out more.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels