I came across a post on Reddit by someone who was working from home. He wrote that he felt guilty having on occasions hours to spare.
“I feel really guilty,” he writes, “when sometimes I have absolutely nothing to do. Does anyone else feel that way?”
The overwhelming response was that it was ok to feel that way: companies will do anything to get the most out of you; they don’t really care and will get rid of you in a heartbeat; they can’t fault you for being efficient.
The winning comment came from a user who wrote, “all work is theatre.”
I couldn’t help but smile at the truth in that.
At the same time though, I realised that many of the follow on comments were about doing as little as possible to get your paycheck, which isn’t something I quite agreed with.
My take on work as theatre is that if your work isn’t perceived as being of value then in the eyes of the company it isn’t of value.
And for that guy who’s got hours to spare? Perhaps he should be using that time for sharpening his saw.
(Which can include activities that improve wellbeing! Though the first thoughts that come to mind when thinking about sharpening the saw may be professional courses or online tutorials related to one’s work, in this stressful Covid world I’d say that a short run or meditation session could do just as much, if not more, to improve work outcomes.)