surinenglish

THE MUSIC MAKER

Home or away

As office workers begin to shuffle back to the, er, office, having spent a year or so working from home, a heated debate has arisen as to which system is preferable. Let's see if I can help.

First, the benefits of going into a place of work each day. Clearly, it's the more sociable option because it affords you the opportunity talk about Love Island with Derek from accounts as you stand beside the water cooler for inordinately long breaks half-way through the morning. You may even find romance between the folders and staplers or, at worst, an ill-advised fling at the Christmas party with Wendy, the hitherto overly shy secretary. Unfortunately, she will be far too embarrassed to do your photocopying for the next six months.

On the other hand, a daily commute can be a nightmare, especially if it involves legging it across numerous railway platforms in a bid to make a last-minute connection, only to find that there are no seats left and you have to spend the next forty minutes sitting on the carriage floor next to a student on a gap year, practising the Peruvian nose flute.

Meanwhile, the plus points about staying at home to work, are fairly convincing. First, you don't have to get out of bed, unless it's for a Zoom meeting, in which case you can still leave your pyjama bottoms on, ready for a quick lie-down after two hours of Derek's virtual rejoinders to file all expense claims in triplicate before the twenty sixth.

Also, you can stop to make yourself a cheese and pickle sandwich whenever you like and also keep an eye on the cricket as you idly shuffle some papers you printed earlier for no discernible reason. It's wise to send the odd email to make your boss think you're still on the ball. He won't, of course, but he's also working from home and his wife's just sent him to buy half a kilo of mushrooms, a tin opener and a pint of semi-skimmed milk, so he won't be back any time soon, especially if the pub's open.

On the down side, working in your house means your bed sheets are constantly covered in Hob Nob crumbs and your wife can send you shopping/to walk the dog/pick up the children/take some fairy cakes round to Mrs Rawsthorne at number forty six because her husband just left her, at any time. Mind you, using Zoom is so desperately frustrating that you'll actually look forward to chatting with Mrs Rawsthorne.

Frankly, then, it's all a bit of a minefield and I have no simple answer. Well, unless you count not getting a job in an office in the first place.