Katie McDowell

New coworkers make home office even stranger

Like many of you, I have been working from home for the past few weeks.

Headshot of Katie Mcdowell

And while the whole pajama-pants-as-uniform thing is nice, there are other aspects I enjoy much less. This tiny laptop screen is just one of them. (I really shouldn’t have procrastinated on that eye exam.)

I also admit to appreciating the break from having to fix my bangs every morning, instead allowing my coif to do whatever the H it wants to every day. That part’s pretty good.

The exponential increase in emails to answer, due to no more face-to-face contact: Not so good.

But perhaps one of the strangest things about working from my living room is adjusting to my new coworkers.

As anyone who has ever toiled in a newsroom can attest, you will share your workspace with all kinds of characters.

The loud chewer. The desk hoverer. The swearer. The close-talker. The arguer. The coffee slurper. The one who tells you way too much about his Saturday nights.

But in all my years working with eccentric personalities, I have never had any officemates quite like these guys.

I mean, I’ve known a needy reporter or two, but none has ever tried repeatedly to sit on my lap, then jumped onto the chair next to me and hidden under a blanket because I said no.

In all my strolls on the rail trail during my breaks, it wasn’t until now that I had to stop multiple times for my mates to munch on the grass. Having one of them barf said grass into my sneaker while I ate an apple later was also a first.

I’ve been interrupted during calls before, but never by two coworkers screaming, “HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY” out the window every time someone else walks past with one of their coworkers.

Until this quarantine, none of my associates had ever pushed the bathroom door open with his nose while I was in there. Now, it’s a regular occurrence.

I’ve also never witnessed one coworker pee on another’s head when they both tried to sniff the same lilac bush at lunchtime — at least, I hadn’t, before Wednesday.

Don’t even get me started on having to break up an argument because one of them got tired of the other licking his ear.

This is all, of course, during the rare moments that my coworkers aren’t sound asleep — snoring to the heavens, feet twitching as they pass gas repeatedly in their oblivion — as I juggle a million different daily tasks.

The division of labor in this home office is definitely some of the most unfair I’ve ever experienced.

Not that they care. When I try to complain about it, they just get back at me by screaming at the mailman while I live tweet Justice briefings and jumping up on the pillow I’m using for back support.

It’s a good thing they’re the cutest colleagues I’ve ever had, ’cause their work ethic is terrible.

I guess I should be grateful, of course. In these trying times it’s a blessing not only to be able to work from home, but to have a job at all.

And, I hear our news editor Lindsey’s current coworkers killed a groundhog and ran around the back yard, bloodied and barking, in some coronavirus-era Lord of the Flies nightmare last Tuesday.

Good luck explaining that one to HR.

Stay well. Stay home. Stay safe, everybody.

Katie McDowell is the enterprise editor and lifestyles columnist for The Dominion Post. Email what your furry coworkers are up to, to kmcdowell@dominionpost.com.