A journalist, attorney and call centre agent on the joys and challenges of working from home

Woman working from home (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Woman working from home (PHOTO: Getty Images)

If there are a few things we can be grateful for during this lockdown, articles on how to do things from home should be at the top of our lists.

Companies are pulling up their socks and ensuring they’re still functioning during this time and professionals are more productive than ever, albeit in different ways.

Read more: ‘Lockdown has been good for my mental health – and I don’t want it to end too soon’

DRUM spoke to five women in different industries who are working from home – about how it has been for them and whether or not they would still choose to work from hone when lockdown ends.

Duenna Mambana

Journalist

I have worked from home before. In fact, in my previous position we worked very flexible hours. We often had to run meetings with head office in Beijing so because of the time difference, I found myself working from home most of the time.

During Covid-19, though, I’ve hated it but with reason.

Before the lockdown, my six-year-old son went to visit my parents in rural Bushbuckridge with my sister who often helps with the kids on weekends. The kids' nanny left for Limpopo, I felt she needed to be locked down with her own kids as well. So that left my husband and me with our toddler. And what a mess it has been.

Between the two of us we had to juggle our little girl, work and do house chores. At times I'd find myself working in the wee hours of the morning when she's asleep to try to be ahead of my work schedule. We fetched my son last week and things are better. He keeps his sister engaged and that gives me some time to focus on work. But this also means I have to factor in time for my son's online classes and schoolwork.

I miss the structure. I work well with structured "things".  The office allows for this for me. I know by this time, this and that should be done. When things are normal again, I would love to work from home. Nanny is here, I take breaks in between to interact with the kids and there is some normalcy in that I get to bury myself in the study for as long as I need to while life carries on for them downstairs.

Noluthando Mthembi

Attorney in corporate banking

I’ve never worked from home before. However, my company has been piloting remote working with certain teams for a year now. Our team was next up until Covid-19 started so I guess the timing was quite spot on. Working from home is a double-edged sword in that it’s extremely challenging on some days and extremely rewarding on others. I’m a homebody at heart and enjoy being indoors. However, the stresses associated with work and not being able to “step away” have interfered with my sanctuary, as my home is my place of rest. But I have been saving on petrol, which is a major plus.

What I miss the most about the office is the designated place to get work done and the feeling of stepping away for a bit. I work in a team-driven environment, so it has impacted how we socialise and get things done, as a big part of my job is to bounce off ideas with my fellow members. I also enjoy snacking and not having to worry about dishes because they’re definitely piling up here at home.

I don’t mind working in the office and from home. In all honesty, I’d love to be in an environment where the option to go into the office is available as well as the option to work from home. At this stage, I’m on the fence.

Read more: Local dad shares: ‘I homeschool my son and work at the same time – this is how I do it

Thandile Njobe

Contact (call) centre

Working from home has been difficult, though I’m starting to enjoy it. I was very reluctant at first, as the work I was given seemed very unrelated to what I got paid to do. Now, I’m pretty much happy.

What I miss most about working in the office are my colleagues and team members, especially the frustration and laughs with the different situations you may run into daily. The feeling of tiredness just after lunch. I miss the work environment and being away from home. Being at work feels like you’re working, and I guess I miss that more than anything.

I’d rather work from the office as it allows me to be more hands-on and productive, and deal with real-time incidents and customers.

Neo Relebohile Masole

Public relations

It’s been a difficult task finding a balance between sticking to my actual office hours and setting a routine outside of working from home. I miss having separate working environments. Being home used to equal a work- and stress-free zone but now it’s all in one space.

I prefer working in the office as there is a fast internet connection, I can socialise with my colleagues and the direct client liaison.

Nomvelo Cele

Information and communications technology consulting

Working from home has been demanding. I feel like we are busier when working from home than in the office. It is hard to keep a proper working schedule and having a balance. I always find myself working until 8pm or 9pm. It has been a huge learning experience and I have been able to adapt to the new working environment. I have also seen that my job allows for working from home.

I miss having a proper routine, I miss the free coffee and the important element of interacting with my colleagues. I learn by asking my colleagues how they overcame certain challenges and not having that easily available has set a few hurdles in completing some tasks.

Having the workspace and my home space separate allows you to have a work-life balance that is visible and healthy. At home, I have rules to shut down all work things and have me-time, but with working from home it is harder because one more email becomes 100 more emails.