The #WFH Series: The Question of Caring

Once more I’m asking the serious questions having to do with the impact of extended #WFH enforcement in our glorious era of lockdown. This all started with a question about the changing habits having to do with our personal odors.

From there, I asked about pants. Will our desire to wear them be erased by the new habits of dressing slovenly while producing work? After that, I asked about burps. Will we, when we’re permitted to return to our office environments in 1-7 years (so long as our superiors are pleased with how well we follow orders), forget the virtues of withholding our gaseous exhalations?

Now, I ask a truly important question that will have a tremendous impact on interpersonal interactions in an office environment.

What about caring?

During this “unprecedented time,” we have been able to turn off our cameras and select which coworkers see us during meetings. In all fairness, sometimes cameras are unpredictable! You may even be taking the noble road of not overloading the network – or the connection on their end! – by sending audio only.

But it does seem to come and go.

An advantage of a “malfunctioning” camera is someone, and I don’t know who would do this, might find it nice to have the freedom to roll their eyes when someone says something dumb. Someone can put their head down and pray for the sweet release of a meteor strike when a Debbie Downer takes over the conversation without the risk of hurting someone’s feelings.

Once this period of #WFH is over, that freedom will be lost. Let’s face it, it will be missed. I’m just honest enough to admit it.

While it’s great to be on friendly terms with officemates, there will always be instances when you want to fake an aneurysm or stab yourself in the leg like that guy in Platoon to get out of a conversation or awkward moment. There are some people you might pray won’t engage you in a conversation at all.

I say this as I’m completely aware that I’m undoubtedly the trigger for that desire some of the time. I’m probably the trigger for that feeling a lot of the time for more people than I realize! So it’s not like I’m letting myself off the hook, even though I am a legendary raconteur who is endlessly entertaining.

With #WFH and its attendant distance and “technical issues,” though, we’re all getting used to being able to ignore or disengage at whim. The index of things about which we do not care is growing, and it’s going to be darn exhausting to get back to pretending as soon as we’re allowed.

Back to the droning stories of weekends. The forced laughter of jokes from people in positions of power. The frustrating incoherence of youngsters who don’t get a good Frasier or Seinfeld reference.

To borrow a sentiment that definitely applies to #WFH interactions, our give-a-damn’s been busted.

Who knows if it’ll get fixed.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on