89 Not Out: Day 79, The Isolation of Working From Home

S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of the lockdown, as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 79 and the isolation of working from home is starting to affect Ian’s eldest son.

Wednesday 3rd June, Day 79 of 89.

Tough day in the office.

Today we hit the milestone of the 50th blog post, I think? I might have missed a day early on, but since then I have managed to crank something out each morning to entertain.

I share my office space with my eldest son and yesterday proved to be a tough day.

Whilst working from home, every day hasn’t been easy for me, but Tom has found it especially hard and the last couple of days have been gruelling for him. It has shown me how the dynamic of an office can mean so much.

Tom works in telesales reviewing peoples mobile phone contracts and trying to get them to resign for longer. Having heard him work for nearly three months now, I reckon I could do his job. Effectively, they get six new leads each day and then they have a ‘pot’ of the leads they have tried before but didn’t convert into sales. So, each day starts with the hope of converting four or five of these into deals and the commission that comes with it.

On Monday, Tom got through the new stuff, which gave him one forlorn deal, one ‘Go boil your head’, two call backs, and two no answers; he then began dialling the 30-odd numbers he had to work with. He got 30 no answers, so tried again in the afternoon, when he got another deal from the new data.

That was it for the day.

Yesterday started brightly, with three deals, two call backs, and one no answer.

‘This is going to be the day Dad, rock and roll!’

But he got a run of 140 no answers; even those who had asked for a call back didn’t pick up. I was in meetings all day, so even our office banter dried up.

In the early days I never understood why Tom missed the office so much. After all, he was on the phones all day, so I didn’t get what value there was from being around his colleagues.

The reality though is that his and his colleagues eight hour days, on a good day consist of about an hour talking to customers. That’s seven hours of dialling a number and listening to the recorded ‘Please leave a message’. As he explained, the four of them chat away and as soon as he or one of his colleagues opens with ‘Hi, it’s Tom calling from…’ they stop nattering.

He ended yesterday very down and frustrated, and in my role of wise counsellor I wasn’t sure I could offer more than ‘Stick with it, it won’t be like this forever and it does pay your bills.’ Even I thought that was pretty lame.

This is the bit of working from home that many people who haven’t done it don’t realise is the downside. Yes, he is saving a fortune on petrol, I am paying for his lunches rather than the local vendors, the environment is loving the reduction in traffic, and office shirts don’t have to be ironed – but there is a price to pay.

The social isolation of working from home can’t be underestimated, and Tom and I work in a busy family home.

One chap who used to work for me and lives alone realised when he started working from home a couple of years ago, ‘It struck me that in the last ten days the only human I have spoken to face-to-face was the Tesco delivery driver.’

These strange times have changed many things, the Clapping for Carers means we probably speak to our neighbours more than we ever have, and the support networks available have flushed out the range of elderly people living in isolation.

I worry that if business owners realise they can keep staff working from home in the long-term, there will be a price to pay for the loneliness of working each day with just you and your laptop.


Don’t miss Ian’s diary each day, keep an eye out for new entries here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast. How are you managing the lockdown at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.

Image by ME_Photos from Pixabay.

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