Working from home: Andrew Bowie
Where do you work?
I’ve taken over the dining room. It’s light, airy and has some of my favourite pictures and personally important valuables on the shelves which, I find, inspire and remind me just how lucky I am to do the job I do. It’s also close to the kitchen which means the cafetière (always close) is very rarely empty. I was forced to buy a small one in an attempt to reduce my coffee intake.
In my Westminster office I am surrounded by photos, books, memorabilia – stuff that is important to me but that would simply clutter the house. Here it’s more restrained…or just tidy – that’s what comes with living with a Scandinavian. One of my favourite pictures has pride of place – me with the PMQ prep team and Theresa May in her study in Number 10 taken on the last days of her Premiership, and last days of me being her PPS. The guys in the picture were a fantastically bright group of advisors, now close friends, who worked so hard to support her in such difficult circumstances, and the PMQ meetings were always the happiest times of the week that we were able to have a laugh and attempt to raise Theresa’s spirits at a very dark time for her and the government. I keep in regular touch with Theresa (or ‘the Boss’). Working for her was a complete joy and working in Number 10 over those tumultuous six months, an experience I’ll never forget.
My Royal Navy Cap is also on the shelves. This not only brings back incredible memories but also serves to remind me why I do the job I do – out of love for my country but also that service to others and the country comes before oneself. The bull’s horn is a cowboy’s horn that I picked up in Brazil back in 2007 when I was there with HMS Edinburgh. No reason – just happy memories of a carefree time. There’s also a photo of our wedding day and, on the wall, a collage of the four cities that mean the most to us (I’ll let you try to work out where they are).
Within reaching distance, the mobile phone . Always on. Always charged. Even more important now for communicating with colleagues and staff. How did they do politics before WhatsApp? And the obligatory book of poetry (in this case Rudyard Kipling). Liam Kerr, who I used to work for, can expand I’m sure on my habit of dropping poetry or quotes from classic literature into speeches or position papers. He loved it (cough).
Top tip for working from home?
Make sure you structure your day as you would in the office and take time out to get some fresh air. And turn off the news!
The biggest distraction?
A tie between Whatsapp and Twitter. And Sky News.
What do you miss?
Actual face to face interaction with colleagues. And the Chamber of the House of Commons – it is a drug, you get addicted being there!