I recently scrolled back through my own Twitter posts (please don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this) and saw that on 11 March I tweeted:
I’ve boiled my #WorkFromHome tips down to a top 3:
1. Get up with the rest of the household
2. Women – always put your bra on first thing
3. Coffee until 1pm, tea afterwards
And, by and large, I’ve broadly stuck to this. After all, I’ve been working from home for around 20 years, so it is an area where I feel qualified to offer advice. Nonetheless, my daughter was horrified – ‘you sound so harsh. Why shouldn’t someone have coffee whenever they want, and why should anyone have to wear a bra?’ She has a point, but I believe I do too. When the rug of routine is pulled out from underneath our feet, we need to find something else upon which we can balance. Sure, I freely acknowledge my personal top 3 may be spurious but they work for me.
Getting up with the household? Always. Even though – before the pandemic – this meant an early alarm call. Worth it, though, to sit together over breakfast; to know what the day promised for each family member; and to be able to kiss the house-leavers goodbye as they set off for school and work. During the past few months the pace has been more leisurely but starting the day together has made for a consistent point of family convergence.
Bra in place? A necessity for me. Regardless of the size of the rack, I feel quite strongly that to ditch the bra would be akin to surrendering to a permanently elasticated waistband. For working hours, the bra is on, the waistband secured and my focus maintained (of course, as soon as the working day has passed the underwire is off, and the cosy-bottoms are on).
As for the coffee thing, this has nothing to do with ensuring regular sleep patterns because I am personally spookily unaffected by caffeine – honestly, I can drink espresso after dinner and still fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. For me, it’s more about introducing some structure into the day. (And, truth be told, it is also pure affectation; borne from an eagerness to appear knowing and stylish by adhering to the Italian coffee-drinking rule which states coffee with milk should only be consumed in the morning hours.)