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Getting back into the swing of things in Victoria and the world of work

I started with a law firm recently as a summer student here in Songhees Territory.
Northern News Services

Catherine Lafferty, Indigenous columnist for NNSL Media

I started with a law firm recently as a summer student here in Songhees Territory.

I’ve gotten so used to working from home that I forgot what it was like to have to get up and get ready and go into the office.

As much as I’m thankful to have a nice office in downtown Victoria, I didn’t miss the fluorescent lighting, the dance with the fax machine, the stress of having to find a good parking spot and running out to pay my meter throughout the day only to get a ticket anyway. Since the start of the pandemic, I have learned to appreciate working from home and can manage multitasking quite well.

A typical workday for me consists of taking short naps, eating lots of snacks, going for long walks, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor and sporadically checking my emails. At work however, I can’t take naps or put my feet up on the desk. I have to sit up straight and not look at my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still productive at home, probably even more productive then at the office where I would often take long breaks with friends just to get out of the stuffy office. At home, I have to be responsible for myself and there is a sense of autonomy in that. With Covid-19 I truly believe that the days of the office will soon be obsolete. Technology was already rearing towards this type of shift in the workforce and Covid has given it a shove. We may never go back to having to go into the office and do the 9-to-5 to stay alive.

In fact, it almost now seems like something out of the Flintstones to get up and go to an office where we have to clock in and clock out with a stone block. Sure there are some jobs that require us to go into work but for the majority of office workers it’s not necessary anymore with technology at our fingertips and it’s about time for a change. With that being said, the government is still putting a lot of money into infrastructure such as the building of more public schools and more office buildings but do we really need more buildings?

Take the Bellanca building for instance, it has been sitting empty for years now and no one bats an eye as they walk by. It’s even falling apart, remember that enormous sheet of siding that slid down onto the street? It’s time to start thinking about leaving a smaller footprint on the earth saving nature. Growth is not something that should be in the same sentence as land development. Growth should be thought of as moving towards technology and reducing our carbon footprint by zooming each other from across the world instead of travelling miles and miles for ten-minute meetings.

When my kids were small, I had to go to work even though I was still nursing them. I had no choice, I had to make money to afford to care for them. It was very hard for me to leave them in a daycare all day long for someone other than their own mother to take care of them just because I had to go sit at a desk all day and answer phones as a receptionist but there were days when it was a break for me, a getaway, a time where I could be someone other than a constant care provider often forgetting about my own needs.

Which is why I can’t imagine how hard it must be for working mothers to have to work from home right now if their children are small. There were times that work was my saving grace from my kids because being in the house all day with them was sometimes so challenging. I know all those mothers out there can attest to this, so I commend you if you are a working mother with a small one at home and trying to juggle working from home, especially all you single mothers.

Now that my children are teenagers all I really have to deal with is them stepping into the zoom camera view on their way to the fridge or having to mute my audio when they are yelling at their video games while I’m in an important meeting. My teenagers really don’t want to have anything to do with me other than give them rides here and there so it’s much more of an independent arrangement.

Speaking of arrangements, I’ve been able to work out a good one with my new workplace. I check into the office at the start of the week and end of the week. I do some printing if need be and maybe even do some social distance socializing (even though I’m somewhat of an introvert and can do without limited small talk).

For the most part, I’m able to keep my comfortable working from home routine and hopefully I will never have to go back into the office full time again and work remotely which suits me just fine.