Column: Goodbye office life, hello Alexa ...
After 40 years working in an office, it’s just me and Alexa in our spare room.
Working from home has changed lives completely - and it’s here to stay.
Anyone hankering for a return to life before March 2020 must surely realise that era is over.
I’ll happily admit working from home proved to be easier than I first feared when we left the office armed with enough kit to fill a branch of Cash Generator, and so many cables you could sense the health and safety office twitching nervously as they envisaged plug points stacking up like an electrical version of Jenga.
Popping into the office this month, reminded me again that there is nowhere better to work than a newsroom.
I first set foot inside one aged 15 when I visited The Scotsman and Evening News offices on the Bridges in Edinburgh. I knew there and then this was where I wanted to live.
It buzzed with activity. There were people, and newspapers, everywhere.
A year or so later and I ended up in the silent-as-a-library Sunday Post office down on Annadale Street for a job interview which ended when I failed the aptitude test, and a life’s ambition to become the Hon Man was dashed. I knew I should have ticked ‘royal family’ among the list of interests they handed me.
Newsrooms still fascinate, even if the numbers have been decimated, no-one smokes any more and you won’t find the odd half bottle of vodka stashed in someone’s bottom drawer.
They are gloriously noisy, grumpy, chaotic, sweary and messy places - second thoughts, that’s probably just my office - but it’s also where folk knuckle down the second a deadline looms, and do whatever it takes to get the paper to bed.
And laptops may have many funky functions, but the genteel tapping will never be as evocative as the sound of a typewriter clattering away, and that thwacking noise as the carriage was walloped back to the start without so much as a keystroke being missed.
Add in phones ringing, someone bellowing down a line to make themselves heard, and folk rushing in and out all around and you get a flavour of the picture.
Gone. All gone.
Working from home has made my commute irrelevant, I could count on one hand the number of shirts I have ironed since March 2020, and I can saunter into the kitchen and never see a noticeboard filled with dull memos from head office.
Now it’s just me and Alexa - and we’re still sizing each other up.
Her jokes are rubbish, and since I’ve not yet embraced this Spotified world, her music choices are rubbish
“Alexa, play me Justin Currie” got the response “here are songs by Justin Bieber.”
But I’m getting used to such diversions. My other half popped into the office and asked “Alexa, play I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts.”
Sometimes home life and worklife blur in moments of daftness.
I suspect we will need many more of them to get us through 2022.