Navigating the work from home minefield with the house executive

17 July 2020 - 09:03
By AND Kwanele Ndlovu

Working from home continues to be tricky to navigate for simple folks like myself, who had never particularly thought of office space when looking for a place to stay.

My home is exactly what you would expect if you saw my bank balance. It is small.

And naturally does not compare to the ninth floor comforts I have become accustomed to in my Sandton work office. There is a desk tucked into a small nook at the end of the passage, but it is too close to the toilet door and I never sit there. This leaves the dining table as the next best thing.

However, the open plan is so distracting that I find myself toasting sandwiches and washing dishes between emails and video meetings, or just sighing at the breaking news. Else, I have to be on my bed and this is one place I am the least productive in.

Thing is, since the relaxing of the lockdown regulations, the lady who helps keep my place looking fresh and homely is back at work. And boy have I been quite the unwanted presence at her office!

Honestly, I understand why she really does not want me around while she wipes the counters (which in this case, include the dining table, my makeshift office). I remember back in the day how my colleagues were appalled by one manager who was said to be micro managing us.

And I guess that being the domestic employer; my constant presence around the dining-kitchen-lounge open area is a nuisance. I bet she thinks I only sit there to judge her.

I try my best to keep my eyes on my keyboard but I can't help picking up an onion peel that sneaks under the cupboards and got missed by her broom. I know I shouldn't. I know, but my seat at the dining table is a great vantage point for scanning the kitchen and lounge area.

Then it always seems like I wash myself just when she has finished cleaning the bathroom and the shower glass is dry and sparkly. I have no doubt she hates me for this. She even comes back to polish the shower glass again, and makes me feel like I am insensible Madame. Yep, that is what she calls me. I have given up on correcting her because every time I ask her to call me by my name, she says "Madam Kwanele, see, the glass is wet now..."

Of late, when it is her working days, I find myself compelled to move away from the common area. Partly because I cannot stand the gospel songs she plays out loud all day. I must say, the music beats seem to really help her with her pace.

Her mop strokes are almost in coordination to the beat, and she becomes visibly uplifted. But then, when she needs to clean the bedroom, I again have to move.

I think my next prayer item will be a house with an office and a filing cabinet.