Jayne Dawson: Unruly kids are just one danger for home workers

Well yes, I think we can all agree the professor didn't get it quite right.

Wednesday, 15th March 2017, 10:02 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:46 am

There he was, in the middle of a serious BBC interview about the state of Korea, when his young children gatecrashed the room.

Not knowing they were about to become an internet sensation - look it up if you haven’t seen this lovely clip - he attempted to salvage the situation by gently pushing away the older child.

She wasn’t bothered. But how much more 2017 would it have been if he had hoisted her onto his knee and carried on talking?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Plus, we would then undoubtedly have seen more of his wife’s comedy moves. Didn’t you just love the way she skidded into that room at a thousand miles an hour?

If the prof had sat his daughter on his knee, I think his wife would have crawled right across that floor and attempted to invisibly snatch her back. Oh, the missed entertainment value of a pair of hands suddenly appearing...

Still, that’s working from home for you. The hapless political scientist had done his best with maps and books, but those kids blew his cover: all in a moment, we realised he was actually talking high-level politics from the bedroom.

But children are just one of many pitfalls for the home worker. I mean, it sounds idyllic doesn’t it? No travelling to work, no having to answer other people’s phones, no having to be silently enraged by the behaviour of others who have equal right to share your office space.

But home workers know - it’s not paradise. Even if your children don’t turn your big career-defining moment into television comedy, into ashes at your feet, there are still plenty of downsides to earning your living from your back bedroom.

A home worker, for instance, becomes far too familiar with their pyjamas. That professor had a suit and tie on top, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that his bottom half was wearing striped cotton PJs.

You think you won’t. You tell yourself you will never be that person, but before long you are discovering the advantages of, say, just getting a bit of cleaning done before you make yourself fit to face the day.

And then you realise how much more logical it is to get out of bed and straight down to some work, without first going through all that making-yourself-hygienic-and tidy-nonsense. And then you realise how much easier it is to do that bit of exercise in your loose-fitting jim-jams rather than going to the trouble of hauling on your “active wear.”

Before long you are that person.That person opening the door to the delivery man while trying to hide behind it so that he doesn’t see that, although he’s been dressed and out for hours, you are still in your pyjamas.

And there’s more bad news: your kitchen is but a step away. You are working but you are stuck, you need a cup of tea. Fine. But while you are there you begin to open doors: the fridge; the cupboard where the packets live; the shelf where the treats live …. before you know it, two biscuits, a cream cracker and a lump of cheese have slid down your throat. That can’t happen in a proper office - too many judgemental eyes.

And then there is mission drift. A factor in an office situation also, I will admit, because you can access Facebook, Amazon, ebay and Rightmove there quite easily too. But, for the home worker, the options are greater.

Imagine for a moment it’s 2pm. That’s a good time to be working. It’s also a good time to be in the supermarket shopping. No, it’s a great time. The workers are back in their offices, the children are still in their schools. All is calm and quiet at the checkouts. Before a home worker knows it, they are out of the pyjamas and stalking those aisles.

So I’m not too critical of that home-working professor. Maybe he didn’t get the reaction quite right, but at least he was more-or-less dressed, and he had hidden the biscuits.


I’ll be honest. She used to get on my nerves a bit.

Not half as much as that Mad Lizzie but still, I got a bit tired of seeing perfect Miss Moran in her shiny, green leotard and leggings doing her Green Goddess bit.

She was one of the exercise gurus who became part of the fabric of the nation in the 1980s when breakfast television was new.

Morning after morning she would be there, all thin and blonde and energetic. For a struggling mother-of-two it was all a little dispiriting.

But now Diana Moran is back, and I’m glad.

These days she is 77 years old and has been through the mill a bit. She has survived cancer, endured a double mastectomy, and has thinning bones - but she still looks lovely.

Her exercise advice is directed at older people. It’s entirely sensible stuff: just get off the sofa and keep moving, she says.

She is also marvellously militant - if people tell you it’s just your age and you can’t expect any better that’s just ageist, she says.

Plus, she reminds older people that they are a key group in society, keeping the world turning in all sorts of ways.

But what I really like about Diana Moran is that she is proof that the years of aerobics, of high-cut leotards, and shiny leggings were not all bad. She came out the other side looking great, and so can all of we who wore them too.


I think there was a huge, collective sigh of relief.

I swear when the news was announced I heard it, a rush of air. Plus, a bit of telepathy. Millions of people all thinking the same thought - that they were glad, in a way.

It was finally announced that singer George Michael, who was found dead on Christmas Day, had died of natural causes.

There had been no catastrophic overdose, no fatal intent.

He was still dead, but it felt a bit better.

I wasn’t a huge fan of his music. I liked the daft Wham! thing, and I liked Freedom, but apart from that, not so much.

I thought he was a bit daft for not enjoying that wealth more, but it turns out he was a generous soul, but lost.

Still it’s over now and and his fans can feel easier that at least no sharp peak of misery ended his life on Christmas Day.