Working from home: Rhoda Grant
Describe the view and what it means to you.
I’m working from my kitchen, so the view is not great. Basically, a TV screen, handy and the usual kitchen gadgets. It can be challenging when doing a video conference and having the washing machine on in the background, this requires better planning!
Tell me about a few things that you have in the study/work area/corner of the kitchen table that are important/essential to you working in there.
My husband is working at the other side of the kitchen table and tends to hog most of the space. But on the bright side the kettle is close at hand.
What’s your top tip for working from home?
Still trying to figure that out – I do work from home from time to time because I can take my computer with me. However, that does not produce a work/life balance which is reasonably OK in normal times. At the minute it is important to try to switch off as most of my case work is about the impact of COVID-19. Everyone is concerned about the impact on a personal basis as well as a representative. We are all worried for our own loved ones and also hear first-hand the impact on others. It is incredibly frustrating that obtaining answers for them is really difficult, and made worse because parliament is not meeting due to recess and, outwith recess parliament is only meeting for emergency work.
I have been working with colleagues, using video conferencing, and telephone. My staff are also working from home and we have regular daily catch ups to keep in touch as much as anything. There have been some strange modes of dress! I picked up a very useful tip from a member of staff who joins with a window behind her – you cannot see hair, face or dress. On these days when little effort has been made with my appearance this works well!
How do you avoid distractions and what is the biggest one?
It is wonderful how attractive housework becomes when you want to avoid something! I am also caring for my sister’s cats (a long story) and they have been a great source of entertainment. The worst was when I was in a virtual Parliamentary Bureau meeting when one of them lost her cat flap magnet and decided to break in instead. I had to switch off my mic and rescue her much to the amusement of my colleagues!
What do you miss most when you are working from home rather than from the office?
Colleagues, quickly exchanging views. We speak daily on video but it’s not the same as a quick question. Luckily my husband is also home-based, although he cannot work to the same extent as me, so daytime TV can be a distraction.