The days of avoiding eye contact on public transport in the hopes that the bloke yelling at air won’t drag you into his conversation are temporarily over.
Instead, most of the UK is office-dressing from the waist up for a video call with their boss, hoping that they don’t have to stand up at any point.
Remote working isn’t necessarily what any of us expect it to be.
And so, we have ironing board desks, group video calls in which the ungodly chorus of “Can you hear me??” is met with cries of “Who’s got a faulty connection?”
Toby from management is harassing you over email regularly enough to be classed as a virtual Jehovah’s Witness, and you’ve got so many group chats on the go that you’re worried you’ll be sending your mum the monthly P&L and telling your boss to keep the fucking racket down.
It can all start to get a little like overwhelming, right?
So if you’re just stepping into the world of remote working, there are a few things to consider for your own sanity.
You’re actually meant to be working
The only people who cheered when they were told they’d have to work from home are the people who don’t usually work from home.
Introverted or extroverted, the fact of the matter is, you’re going to have to face the reality.
What was once a well-intentioned trip to the kitchen resulting in a 40-minute conversation with co-workers is now a lonesome trip for another brew and some biscuits, if rationing permits it.
“Fucks sake, Janet! We’re out of Yorkshire tea bags!!”
If you’re working from home at the same time as someone you’re living with, I already pity you.
There’s always one inconsiderate knobhead turning the washer on, hoovering and slamming doors when you’re trying to work, and if you can’t figure out who that is in your home, it’s probably you.
Make sure you’re making a distinction between how you relax at home versus how you work at home.
That starts by not wearing your scabby pyjamas when you get a last-minute request for a video check-in with the rest of your team.
Old habits die hard
In the office, we’re held (mostly) accountable.
At home, many people take the fact that they can wake up later without commuting as an invitation to press snooze on their ten alarms.
If you’re unlucky enough to be using Google Hangouts frequently, or Slack, then you’re having your activity monitored and are likely to be a bit more productive.
The rest of us?
We’ll probably have what can only be known as the ‘several tabs dilemma’.
Two tabs open for work, most likely, a social media tab and some non-related Wikipedia article you ended up landing on for no good reason.
Did you know that a platypus lays eggs? You do now! Another prime pointless fact for the group chat.
Don’t give yourself a several tabs dilemma.
Work in intervals and make time for the breaks you’d usually have in the office for things like hot drinks, socialising and putting your brain back in working order.
Set up a workspace
Look, you don’t have to spend money on an extra-swanky set-up like a lot of the high rollers on LinkedIn have. Nobody needs that many screens anyway, other than a security guard or a pervert.
We’ve probably all seen some of the very inventive and sometimes questionable DIY office spaces people have in the current circumstances.
Ironing board desks (all about that good posture life), laundry basket chairs, two keyboards to trick cats into NOT sitting on our laptops. The possibilities are endless.
If you start working from the same place you usually relax, you’ll start to feel frustrated and tired 24/7, slowly losing your sanity until you enter your next Zoom meeting and see Heath Ledger’s Joker staring back at you.
Switch off your notifications
It might seem counterproductive, but the second you acknowledge the fact that you spend more time looking at memes than you do responding to work-related notifications, the easier it is to switch them off.
You know when you get that feeling in a working day that time has just stopped? Even when you check the clock every five minutes?
The reverse is true once you pick up your phone.
You’ll pick it up to check one notification and suddenly it’s two hours later, you’re knee deep in gifs from The Office and your concept of time is completely out of the window.
Do your most important task first, leave your phone on “do not disturb” for those hours and live in awe of your newly productive life!
Remote working has its pros and cons, and we all approach it differently.
Every social media platform is packed with tips on how to work from home effectively, but let’s face it… if you’re in the mood to work in your pyjamas, you’re going to work in your pyjamas.
And if you want to spend your lunch hour furiously masturbating yourself into early blindness, you’ll probably do that too.
Just make sure when Neil invites you to a last-minute video call from his brand new patio in Cheshire, that you’re actually wearing some clothes.
We’ve got enough going on already without seeing that horror show first thing in the morning…