As you know, I work from home the majority of the time. I’ve got used to my work space being my work space and doing the hours that suit me and getting other stuff done around working. I am conscientious enough to do the hours I need to do whilst managing to do the washing, school runs, etc.
K has been told by his line manager to work from home more often as they don’t want to pay his mileage. Great news for him, as his daily commute to whichever office he has to go to is well over 100 miles each way. Not fun, especially when the M25 is involved. Not such great news for me.
While I have the benefit of working out in the office away from the main house (I’ve made it sound very grand, it’s not: it’s a room off the back of the garage but you can only access it from across the garden. So, far enough away to allow the feeling of being in a work space and away from distractions in the house, and the children know that when I am out there I am working and they should only really disturb me if it’s important. Like: Can they have something to eat? Can they go out with their friends? Can’t I smell that the house is burning down?) K has to work in the dining room. This is fine, but when I go in to make a cup of tea for myself or check on the washing or pop to the loo or answer a knock at the door (the only reasons I go back into the house) he is there. I feel obliged to make him a cup of coffee. He NEVER offers to make me one. I feel resentful that he is sitting there and must have heard that the washing machine has clicked off. In fact, sometimes, I will come in and he has opened the door and nothing else – the washing is still in there waiting to be taken out and hung up.
K has two modes of working. Full on, nothing stops him, don’t try and talk to him, busy busy busy, no time for lunch, et, etc. OR, chatty, wanting to talk about stuff to do with the extension, shall we pop to the kitchen place down the road, what are you having for your lunch (it’s 10am, I have no idea!), have you emailed so-and-so about such-and-such, I’m just going to take the shed apart and build a new one (OK that’s never happened but he has serviced his bike and other random things).
It’s REALLY annoying, mainly because his work mode isn’t the same all day. Not even the same in the space of one hour. Sometimes he can start off the day a bit “can’t be bothered” and if I am not busy I start to get thoughts that maybe he will offer to collect the kids from school or take me out for lunch, and then BAM he’s into Full On Crisis Mode and I have to shuffle back to my desk and forget it all.
Take today, for example. WARNING: ranting ahead. He came back mid-afternoon (while I was out picking up A and friend) as he was out on site and didn’t want to trek back to the office afterwards. He was able to drop off an iPad that he’s sold on a Facebook selling network on the way home. He was able to make himself a coffee and a sandwich. He wasn’t able to wipe down the worktop or open the windows to let some fresh air in (I’m a bit of an open- windows-at-all-possible-times freak) or to take the washing in from off the line (probably just as well as I have a system – don’t ask). He barely had the time to say hello or to ask about my day. In fact he didn’t. I gave up trying to talk to him. A while later he came out to my office to show me some brochures he’s been sent with doors and flooring in. I gave him short shrift – I had work to catch up on after picking A up. I went into the house again later with the washing (all nicely in layers in the basket so that each person’s washing is together to save time putting it away – which each person has to do themselves, I hasten to add. I’m not a maid. Glad you asked?) and he was MAKING HIMSELF A CUP OF COFFEE. He showed me a nice kitchen in one of the brochures. I took the washing upstairs. I came down and he was SITTING AT THE TABLE DRINKING HIS COFFEE. “Nice cup of coffee you’ve got there”, I muttered, very sarcastically (I’m not proud of my behaviour). “Oh, would you like a cup of tea?” he answered, all surprise and shock. “That would be lovely, if you have time”. (Again, not proud). “I’ll bring it out to you”.
I am still sitting here 40 minutes later. No tea. He appears. “Did you still want that tea? Sorry a complaint came in and I had to deal with it”. See? Full On Crisis Mode, means NO TEA CAN BE MADE. THERE IS NO TIME.
What I am worried about most is that, if and when the extension gets built, “we” have plans to refurbish the office a bit and make it a proper home office that we can all use. I’ll say it again – that we can all use. All of us, in one room, working together. Me and him during the day and me and him and *gulps * the kids when they get home. All of us!
I will have to endure the very loud telephone voice. The huffing. The muttering about “w***ers” and “f***ing idiots”. I will have to endure the very annoying thumping of the mouse pad – he won’t use a traditional mouse as he’s not old-school. (Maybe, I should be relieved as the clicking could possibly be worse than the thumping.) I will most certainly have to be in tune with which mode he is in and adapt my thinking accordingly. I’m not sure I am up to the challenge.
Maybe they will miss him at the office. Or maybe that’s why he was told to work from home?
Wish me luck.