HOMEWORKERS, we're living the dream, am I right?

Staying in pyjamas until lunchtime, when we watch a little bit of Netflix over a meal prepared in our own kitchen, rather than reheated in the bacteria enveloped office microwave. Wee cameo appearance in a Teams call and then back to the sofa to while away the rest of the shift.

Life has never been sweeter or more relaxing.

That certainly seems to be Boris Johnson's take on working from home, judging by recent valiant attempts to persuade us idlers back to the daily grind. A new Tory advertising campaign pushed by swathes of the right wing press is making no bones about it.

"Go back to work or risk losing your job," ran one blunt headline with the aim of putting the fear of God into those of us still grafting from our beds. Oh sorry, kitchen tables.

Kitchen tables if you're lucky. My set up is that I work from my dining table, eat at my dining table, socialise over Zoom at my dining table... the world's wide horizons narrowed to this one small space. For excitement, I can sit on my sofa. It's about six inches from the dining table but a change is as good as a rest.

It's been quite enjoyable to watch government ministers on television opining on the import of sending the populace back to their desks against the backdrop of their own front rooms. Lead by example, won't you.

"Return to work" is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. We have been working, thanks. We've been working bloody hard.

Doing your job at home is no halcyon set up and I say that as someone who isn't also juggling childcare. I'm currently juggling the care of two lively cats who enjoy stomping across my keyboard and showing their bums in the aforementioned Teams calls - and that's difficult enough.

It's nigh-on impossible to compartmentalise work and non-work hours. A laptop set up in the middle of the living room means a constant temptation to just get a few more things done... and then a few more. Before you know it, you've been at your desk since 7am and it's now 9pm.

I miss my favourite barista, I miss my daily cycle commute and I miss shouting over to colleagues with questions and to clarify confusions. Home working became real for me this week when I bought a packet of 50 pens from Tesco. It's the first time in a 15 year career that I've been unable to dip in to a stationery cupboard and suddenly everything felt real. Working at home is lonely, tedious and, bizarrely, doesn't seem to have done anything positive for my bank account.

But do I want to be chided back to the office by Boris Johnson? I do not. For the moment, it's safer at home and, while there's no one to talk to but my pot plants, if I can be one fewer person risking spreading the virus around then that's my preference. As it is with so many others who feel the UK government took fright at the number of Pret job losses and decided it was better to prioritise the future of a multi-million pound sandwich chain over the health of the populace.

Dettol was attracting a good bit of social media ire with its advert about the return to the office. Listing the delights of office life, its advertising creatives went for such luxuries as taking a lift, office gossip and plastic plants. There was quite a bit of indignation about a cleaning product backing the government's push to the office.

The list also buried "secretaries" amid what was otherwise an entire catalogue of inanimate objects and certain behaviours. I'm more indignant about the dehumanisation of PAs than anything else.

As the ad went viral for all the wrong reasons, it perhaps showed that taking sides in a struggle between the workforce and the man is not such a good strategy.

Jeremy Hunt has similarly tried to use the nostalgia of office working to nudge people back. "There’s only so long you can carry on working completely remotely," he said, "Or you start losing the fizz and excitement that you get in a really good work place." Serious questions raised there about what's been happening in Mr Hunt's place of work.

There's been yet more north south divide with Nicola Sturgeon saying she would "not countenance in Scotland any kind of narrative around this that is seeking to almost intimidate people back to work before, as a country, we have taken a decision that that is safe".

That's really the thrust of the issue: people don't want to return to offices - despite the consequence of job losses on the high street without commuter trade to prop it up - because they see the pandemic being mishandled by Westminster and don't feel safe.

For Boris Johnson to start chiding office workers for the dent in the economy is, perhaps not a shifting of blame, but certainly a version of shouting "Look over there!" and bolting while heads turn.

Throughout the pandemic has been talk of how we make life better from now on and improving work/life balance has been a huge part of that. The notion of a four day working week was raised earlier in the crisis when it was lightly referenced by Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, and now it's being talked of again.

Progressive thinktank Autonomy suggests the public sector should pilot a four day week, moving to 32 hours with no cut to pay, as a way of easing the impending job loss crisis and improving wellbeing. This shouldn't only be a public sector issue but something seriously considered by the private sector too.

The notion that we might emerge from the pandemic with a better set up may be naive - but why not? The push to get workers back into offices is merely a government returning quickly to its old ways. Which is a pity because Rishi Sunak's moves at the start of the crisis showed that imagination is possible and agility is possible.

A four day week is one of these things bandied about from time to time. The benefits of it - for staff, employers, families and the economy - are demonstrable from businesses that have trialled it. Yet it's a bit radical and would require creative thinking.

If now isn't the time for radical then when will be? Blended working, four day weeks, more home working - the UK government should focus on that rather than scolding workers as though they were children and not adults who know best how to arrange life and work for themselves.