icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

If this is the remote worker of the future, GET OUT of the house now

Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

If this is the remote worker of the future, GET OUT of the house now
The remote worker of the future has been revealed. She’s called Susan and she’s not a pretty sight – a warning that we shouldn’t be seduced by the benefits of ‘WFH.’

If you’re working from home, stop now. Quit your job immediately, get out of the house and sign up as a barista or tree surgeon or literally any job that you can’t do from your domicile. Because I’ve seen the future of home-working: it’s hideous and it’s called Susan. 

Susan, bless her miserable imagined existence, is the ‘remote worker in 25 years,’ according to American ‘job discovery platform’ DirectlyApply. And she is not a healthy-looking specimen. 

Poor Susan resembles that man (yes, I’m misgendering Susan) who sinks eight pints every night in your local pub while sitting on a barstool and playing the quiz machine. He doesn’t say a word to anyone, except, ‘Lager, please,’ and ‘Got change for the machine?’ No-one’s seen or heard from his mother, who he lives with, for several months. 

You would not leave your children alone with Susan.

She is a worrying omen for those of us – and I very much include myself in that ‘us’ – who have fully embraced the WFH lifestyle during the coronavirus lockdown. We who have revelled in the three-minute commute, the loungewear dress code and the lack of a social obligation to shower. We who have befriended Amazon delivery drivers, taken to watching Netflix on our lunch breaks and felt comforted by the ever-near and constant presence of biscuits.

Ailments that afflict this pitiful creature include dry, bloodshot eyes with dark circles around them from staring at a computer screen all day (check); obesity due to a lack of exercise and constant snacking (check); and increased stress levels because she hasn’t had enough human contact (this last issue might be a chicken and egg situation). A lack of vitamin D causes hair-loss and pale skin.

RT

There are all kinds of orthopaedic problems, too: a poor posture, repetitive strain injuries and something called ‘tech neck’ which involves getting rounded shoulders and ‘shorter hamstrings’ from using phones and laptops. Judging by the illustration, WFH also seems to include terrible taste in clothes.

Susan makes Emma – the unnerving ‘office worker of the future’ unveiled last October – look like Charlize Theron. In fact, she makes Sloth from the Goonies look like Charlize Theron. 

DirectlyApply claims that its Frankenstein’s monster was created by talking to ‘clinical psychologists and fitness experts.’ Their PR team might possibly have just spent half an hour or so on Google. Who knows? I’m definitely unsure about humans’ apparent evolutionary shift over the space of 25 years. They also offer advice on how to not end up as a Susan, such as maintaining social networks, keeping a routine, and not being generally feckless and lazy-arsed. 

But I do think that Susan should be a warning to us all. A warning that while working in one’s underpants is a welcome bonus of WFH, it’s time to get back to doing a job that involves things like moving and talking and direct sunlight. If we don’t, the consequences could be, in more ways than one, very ugly. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Podcasts