Why it’s back to ‘Bob Cratchit working’ for many of us

Something for the weekend: With the return this week of Covid-19 ‘work from home if you can’ guidance, for many of us it’s now back to spending our working days in trackies, slippers and trying not to raid the pre-Christmas ‘goodies’ stash.

However, with energy bills spiralling and temperatures set to be dipping back into single figures next week, it also may be a return to what we might term ‘Bob Cratchit’ working, after Dickens’ famous poverty-struck character from A Christmas Carol.

In other words, it’s that perennial flexible working/home-working dilemma of do you give in and switch on the heating just to warm up the one room, or spend the day shivering at the laptop in woollies, scarf, hat, fingerless gloves and the like?

Indeed, a survey by Electric Radiators Direct has concluded that nearly half (48%) of remote UK workers expect to ‘be more mindful’ of their overall energy consumption this winter as a result, with more than a fifth of us (22%) stubbornly refusing to turn on the heating while working from home.

Still, there may be some upsides to being back in the familiar surroundings of the Covid home office. While we all probably relished the chance for our engagement and wellbeing to get back to seeing colleagues and team-mates during the past few months of hybrid working, it may also have reminded us of just how irritating they can sometimes be.

Research by furniture website Furniture At Work has identified what it argues are the top 10 most annoying office habits, with stealing people’s food from the fridge topping the list, along with microwaving smelly food, chewing loudly, making loud phone calls, typing loudly and taking shoes off.

After all, at least in the home office all we have to put up with is the irritating habits of our other half… and the cat… and (from next week) over-excited children. Happy holidays!