Do Not Adjust your Monitor

It won’t make anything better.

My story here is unlikely to be something you haven’t heard before. The company I work for is relatively large, with offices all over the world, including parts of Asia where the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 first appeared. Early on my employer recognized the potential dangers of this new virus and started taking steps to protect the safety of the employees. First were travel restrictions, then outright shutdown of travel, and ultimately moving those to a work from home status if they could do so productively. In my case, this changed my situation relatively little.

My office is some distance away from where I live, and most of the work that I do is with people who are overseas, so I rarely ever have to make it into the office for an in-person meeting. Given my work situation, I arranged to be able to work from home most of the week. I was only going into the office once a week to reconnect socially, and to establish that I do in fact work for something tangible, and I’m not a delusional person talking to a blank monitor all day long. When the decision was made to change a lot of us to full time work from home, I was already pretty well settled in.

Such was not true of everyone I know either at work our in my life outside. It has been more of an adjustment for some than it has for others. My workspace is in a corner of the master bedroom, and I can close a door to help me focus while the kids and their mom are working on their distance learning homework for school. In my social circle, and in my place of work there are others who’ve struggled with the transition, but everyone has rallied well. I don’t know anyone who has had a major work from home mishap. There has been the odd spouse walking through the background without their shirt (or pants), or kids running up and jumping into a lap during a particularly important video conference, but for the most part everyone has taken it in stride.

While I haven’t heard of or witnessed any major video conference mishaps, what if there was one? Certainly the company dress code has become a very fluid thing in the last two months. When you know people are only ever going to see you from the top of your pectorals up, pants suddenly become, not just optional, but an abstract concept. There was a time when legs sheathed in fabric coverings was a standard of polite behavior, but now? I think you might find judgement called down upon you if you’re NOT allowing your leg hair to blow free in the breeze from the box fan in your window.

I know one or two people at work who read the comic, and they’re good about asking me when I’m going to post again. In once such conversation they suggested I could pull something funny from our current work from home (WFH) situation. My mind immediately went to “naked in a video conference.” I worry that if every I travel internationally for work (assuming such a thing still exists after this) that I might do something like this out of pure jet lag.