Battle of the Thermostat

by Will Monroe – Apr 20, 2020

In a Q&A session for #Wardourvoices, editor Will Monroe lifts the lid on the highs and lows of his new life working from home.

The big stuff: how has breakfast changed?

In the good old days a pit-stop at Tesco on the way in was the norm, but homeworking demands new habits. Who knew fixing porridge could be so interesting? It lasts forever so cuts down on the weekly shop – it’s filling, and you can add stuff to it to make it actually taste like food: lock-down luxury.

How do you dress?

I saw a meme the other day about ‘office’ attire. To sum up: if you’re working from home and not wearing joggers/tracksuits you’re essentially a psychopath (don’t ask me why). I have to come clean though and say I’m in the psycho camp. Can’t do tracksuits for work. A collared shirt seems a step too far, but I certainly feel more ‘business-like’ wearing clothes similar to those I wear in the office. There’s something to be said for the idea how you dress affects how you work. 

What’s been difficult?

The admin. A problem or creative discussion can no longer be sorted by a quick stop-off at a colleague’s desk. But, I’m a convert to Microsoft Teams. I was a Teams newbie, so in the first week of working from home I relied on emails to communicate with colleagues. That was time wasting and unproductive. I learnt quickly that Teams was the solution. I’m extremely grateful to our tech/digital team. As a millennial, I’m certainly not as IT literate as you might expect, and their set-up support was invaluable. I’m learning skills for life here.

Are you on your own?

I’m lucky to be in lock-down with my girlfriend. But that brings its challenges, like the ongoing Battle of the Thermostat. I like things warm; she likes things cool and she’s winning. If I get up first, I can enjoy a full hour of warmth (bliss!) before the switch is flicked off. The ensuing atmosphere can be even icier than the falling temperature. Lighting has been another bone of contention, but I won’t go into that…

What’s been the best aspect?

There’s certainly an ‘in-it-together’ feel to things, encapsulated by the Wardour WhatsApp group, ‘Remotely Wardour’. The inevitable early bombardment of pet photos – some lovely cats and dogs, and less lovely rats – has given way to great humour, as well as good practical advice on various things from cooking tips through to virtual party games.

How are you exercising?

I know I’m not alone on this, but I find the restrictions on exercise hard. I like to keep pretty fit and I normally play football and cricket on most weekends for club sides. Running has had to be the fall-back option, but the riverside paths – and even roads – are full of runners and walkers, meaning that social distancing is very tricky. In the early days I tried to run late at night, but as more and more people have taken the same approach, I’ve taken to running laps around the block. It’s less scenic, but safer.

Any learnings for other homeworkers?

Take a proper break at lunch. In the first week I was replying to emails while eating and I’ve definitely been more productive in the afternoon since I stopped eating ‘al desko’. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is also important. It’s tempting to work late into the evenings, particularly during busy periods, so starting earlier means that you can cut down on the late working and fully switch off. 

What’s your drink of choice to unwind?

Well there’s a variety… But as Wardour colleagues may remember (ha!) I enjoyed a particularly fruitful office Christmas Raffle and scooped six prizes. Included in my festive ‘hamper’ of winnings was a bottle of Aperol, which had remained untouched on my sideboard at home, until two weeks ago. It turns out it’s rather delicious.

Published Apr 20, 2020

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