Delivery Men and Children

The endless think pieces about working from home continue after nine months of pandemic.

A common complaint, I’ve noticed, is being interrupted by “delivery men” (and it’s couriers, surely) and children. The think pieces either bemoan them with no solution or use these new distractions as jumping off points to discuss the adaptation of garden sheds or kitchens as professional work spaces.

Kids and couriers probably are new distractions for the suddenly homebound employee, but don’t they pale in comparison to the distractions of the open-plan office?

Off the top of my head today (on the occasion of my two-year second escape anniversary!) I remember my consciousness being shattered by the following:

– ringing telephones (mine and those of colleagues)
– computer hardware problems
– computer network problems
– fire drills and false alarms
– the bins are full
– someone’s microwaved lunch smells like farts
– sudden meetings
– long-dreaded meetings
– colleague birthday lunches
– colleague leaving lunches
– “could I just have a quick word?”
– “did anyone see [dystopian claptrap on TV] last night?”
– coffee machine malfunction
– coffee machine success
– new baby discussion
– ill-informed opinions on current affairs
– beverage spills
– fantasy football
– mild sexual harassment
– serious sexual harassment
– microaggressions
– passive aggression that inevitably comes from good people being cooped up together
– fear of someone looking at my screen and seeing my personal business
– “creative play”
– unasked-for, overly-long training session
– team bonding exercise
– too much stationery
– not enough stationery
– “does anyone know where [object] is?”
– “does anyone know who Sheila is?”
– announcement of and complaining about new estates and facilities rules
– smoking-related logistical problems
– parking-related logistical problems
– traffic- or train-related logistical problems
– people showing up for meetings on the wrong day
– ceiling tile on a troubling angle
– it’s too cold
– it’s too hot/stuffy
– plants needing water
– humans needing water
– debate around the word “potable”
– card-signing and gift money donation for Karen
– confidential shredding service is overdue
– confidential shredding service guys are in the way
– planned or unplanned construction work
– putting up Christmas decorations
– taking down Christmas decorations
– Christmas party organisation
– endless chatter about Christmas party menu options
– Christmas cards versus charity donation
– explaining about Hanukkah again
– florescent lights flickering
– health-and-safety inspection
– “who took my chair?”
– “agile”-oriented hot desk uncertainty
– room- or equipment-booking system confusion
– man on a step ladder
– specialist cleaning service
– where to recycle cardboard?
– toilets out of order
– slippy area
– existential anxiety (what am I doing here???)
– separation anxiety (from loved ones, personal projects)
– someone finally snaps and goes berserk
– so-and-so’s PA was crying in the toilets
– oh! and couriers and off-work colleagues popping in with their kids

Did you relate to that? Well, I’m happy to say that there’s even more to relate to in The Good Life for Wage Slaves! Give it a try.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Delivery Men and Children”

  1. Glincoln says:

    Nailed it. Laughing hard. I work with mostly decent people but it’s brutal.

  2. Yeah, that’s it. Practically everyone’s a goodie really, but we don’t see the best sides of each other when we’re corralled into a situation like that. It’s madness normalised.

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