Faced with the coronavirus crisis, companies have had to take unprecedented measures. For many staff, this means leaving behind the daily routine of commuting to work. It also means having to rethink how they work, their professional relationships and how they organise their day while working remotely. It’s a new way of life, which everyone handles in their own way. From the one who never changes out of pyjamas, to the one who’s juggling baby bottles and Powerpoint slides, check out these seven (barely exaggerated) personality profiles of staff forced to work remotely. It’s better to have a sense of humour about it!
1. The one who’s given up on any sort of dress code
Track pants, leggings or pyjamas? It’s no doubt the hardest decision they’ll make all day. They do try to cover it up, though. On the first day of confinement, they wore a perfectly ironed shirt for the morning web meeting. All was going well until the webcam slipped revealing the elasticated waistband of what clearly looked like pyjama pants. Since then, they’ve told everyone that their network is too slow to be able to use a camera. Yet you saw them on Fornite two nights ago — and there didn’t seem to be any network connectivity issues. But since you were on there too and it was 3 PM, you’ve decided to keep that to yourself.
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2. The one trying to work normally, with their two kids at home
They thought they’d be able to move ahead with their projects as if nothing had changed. They’re the funniest colleagues to watch on camera. “As our German counterpart was explaining, a disruptive approach to solving the problem would enable us to…ENZO! PUT THE CAT DOWN NOW OR I’M GOING TO GET VERY ANGRY…find our place in the market.” Their resilience is impressive, but their stress lines leave no doubt: they’ll never make it through another three weeks.
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3. The one who’s hit rock bottom
They need their brainstorming, their disruptors and their synergy. Without a regular dose of corporate buzzwords and a weekly after-work happy hour, they’re just a shadow of themselves. After two days of confinement, they started brainstorming with their cat. And by the way, they completely disagree on the top three brands of cat food. That’s a subject they’ll continue to explore since their local pizza joint—the one they called eight times the night before because they were in need of social interaction—is refusing to deliver to them now.
4. The one who’s in denial
They’ve set up an office on the living room table, a “break room” between the sink and the washing machine…and even bought some bad coffee to remind them of the coffee from the machine at work. They’re the only ones who haven’t got it that social distancing is an excuse to sleep in and so they still get up every morning at 7.30. Just like before. After their shower, they choose a tie that goes with their shirt and prepare a packed lunch. That’s a packed lunch they’ll eat cold, in front of the computer, with plastic cutlery. Old habits are hard to break. You suspect they might have even looked for an “open space sounds” playlist on Youtube, which can have anything from the sound of gentle chatter to the clashing of cups, to supply a backing track for their day.
5. The one in a panic
They freaked out last week when you sneezed during a videoconference. “IN YOUR ELBOW, IN YOUR ELBOW!” they screamed, which caused your colleague Michelle, who had the volume on max, to say she nearly had a heart attack. Two shots of hand sanitiser later, they’ve announced that they’ll only be communicating via e-mail. After that, they saw on the news that keyboards and phone screens were cesspools for germs. So they’ve decided to write using only their elbows. Itds lesst practicval bit itr workds.
6. The one who thinks they’re Interpol
There’s no slacking with them. They’ve imposed a military-like programme: overview meeting in the morning, progress point at noon and debriefing in the evening. They’ve taken advantage of the decrease in activity to sort through all their emails and bring up all the outstanding issues of the last three years. Between two archaeological digs into their inbox, they approached you with a random question on Skype and timed your reaction. “Eight minutes? What were you doing? You’ll have to be more responsive next time!” You don’t even dare to complain loudly any more, they’re entirely capable of having installed microphones in your living room.
7. The one who’s on early retirement, extra early
They’ve normally got a solid work ethic. But while working remotely, their goodwill is like stocks of medical masks. They are out there somewhere, but no one knows where. Between morning yoga sessions, rewatching the entirety of Game of Thrones and four-hour naps, it’s difficult to move ahead with their projects. They respond to emails twice a day, max, no doubt while downloading a new series onto their computer. From time to time, they’ll move their computer mouse to make it seem like they’re still active on Skype.
Translated by Kalin Linsberg
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