There are some office mates who have become a nuisance at this time. We are still in the working from home programme, where we show up in the office once a week. I personally see no value even going to the office but I guess it is a question of the optics.
So Carl our office mate decided that he will be showing up in the office every day of the week. The reason he gave: “I find it hard to concentrate when I am at home.”
One of my other colleagues asked him, “ how can you say that, you have no children, you live by yourself?”
Carl spent a whole 10 minutes responding to this question by talking about his personality and his growing up, among other things. I figured- to each his own.
I usually come into the office on Fridays which suits me fine. It gives me a chance to collate all the numbers and changes that have taken place during the week and use them to focus. Last week, I sauntered into the office feeling pleased at having to escape another day of homeschooling- the nanny was doing the classes with Maingi.
A few minutes after sitting at my desk, Carl came over to me and said, “ Josphat! It’s been a minute!” I thought this was a joke said, “ surely it has not been that long, I was here last week!” He then went on to say: “ You really should consider if you want to review how many days you are working from home.”
I realised that he was on to something and so I said: “ Stop talking in parables, what are you really trying to tell me.”
Carl then said: “ You know there is a perception that people who are working from home are not really that serious, that all you do is log on and then spend all your time watching Netflix.”
I don’t know why but this statement really annoyed me so I retorted: “ Maybe other people are not working but I am working hard making sure I prepare a million reports and trying to keep my children sane and safe. It is no walk in the park.”
Carl clearly was not listening as he went on to blow his trumpet and said: ” You know the boss comes in every day and when he walks around, he finds me and asks me where people are. I say they are at home.”
I told him: “ The same boss who approved the work from home schedule, the same boss who says he puts our health and safety first.” This seemed to deflect Carl a bit and said. “ If he feels that we should all be in office and defy government laws and risk our health he should tell us.
I was getting annoyed so I said: “Let me get to doing these reports, so that I can go back to my family.” Carl was disappointed with my reaction and walked off.
An hour later the HR manager passed by my desk looking for some report on payroll numbers. I asked her: “ Are you looking to fire us?”
She laughed and said: ” Not yet, but you never know with multinationals!” I decided to then broach the question on perceptions about working from home according to Carl so I said: ” What is this I hear about how some of us look bad for coming to the office only once a week.”
She laughed and said: ” Let me guess, you were speaking to Carl.”
I had no choice but to tell her about the chat I had. She said, “do not take him seriously, he has been dying for a promotion for the last two years. He thinks being martyr and showing up every day will do the trick.”
Things finally made sense. I was surprised that people are thinking of promotions while all I care about is keeping my job.