by Danielle Brody

Comics about the realities of working, networking, and learning from home

It’s hard to feel professional when I haven’t stepped into an office in months. Like many people across the world, I’ve been working from home for nearly a year. I can do my editing job for Insider successfully from the kitchen/living room area in my small Brooklyn apartment. From the same spot (ok, sometimes my bed or the couch), I have also joined networking events, coffee catch-ups, language classes, and more.

While work, and most other things, have continued seamlessly online, it hasn’t gone without … glitches. Here are three cartoons I’ve made over the past several months based on my new virtual professional world, including awkward situations and work-from-home personalities.

Unexpected problems with remote work

Even though remote work, well, works, it’s strange taking our jobs out of the office to our homes. We’re getting a closer look at our coworkers’ personal lives and figuring out how to apply regular office etiquette to the virtual world.

Cartoon Danielle Brody Zoom Meeting Issues
Cartoon by Danielle Brody
  • Being off mute and noisy when you’re supposed to be quiet is as offensive as a loud fart in a meeting. Coworkers searching for the unmuted culprit can be ruthless.
  • Now that 1 of every 5 people got a quarantine pet (ok I made that statistic up, but it feels like it), meeting around growling puppies is par for the course during the work day. Owners, find that mute button.
  • I know it sounds crazy, but my coworker’s bright wall was hard to look at. Unfortunately, Zoom has not created a feature to turn off other people’s video, that I know of.
  • In early quarantine, we attempted to say good morning on Slack. It started at around 8 AM. I was likely asleep. To my relief, that ended very quickly. In the office, I could sneak in around 9:30 mostly unnoticed, but I didn’t need to document how late I was logging on.

Virtual meetings can get too real

Zoom has backgrounds and filters to help us look better on video chat, but it can only go so far. No matter how we’re connecting, we’re still human. And being home all the time means we’re still more unfiltered than ever — so video chat can get a little too real. 

Cartoon Danielle Brody Zoom Meeting Drawantines
Cartoon by Danielle Brody Zoom Meeting Drawantines
  • Flirting at a networking event happens, and apparently, it’s still possible online. I made eye contact with another event attendee, who proceeded to hit on me in the chat.
  • Back when I worked in an office, I’ve realized too late that my shirt was see-through, my tights were ripped, or my fly was open. Getting on video with underwear (or worse lying) in the background is the new version of that. At least I can pretend it’s someone else’s. 
  • In a volunteer organization meeting, I had a disagreement with the host. Now instead of just ignoring me wishing she could turn off my voice, she actually can.
  • Family never seems to remember when you’re on a work call. 

Work quirks on video chat

Cartoon Danielle Brody Zoom Meeting
Cartoon by Danielle Brody daily Catch-Up

It’s strange to be a professional at home. You might be discussing a campaign while shushing your dog, leading a meeting with a kettlebell next to you, or listening attentively while your sister makes breakfast behind you in a robe. And that’s just my team. I doodled a typical morning during our daily catch-up. My family being in the background is a theme.

I’m in no rush to go back to the office because I expect the transition will be awkward and confusing. But I can’t wait for all the new cartoons that will come out of it!

About the Author

Danielle Brody is an associate editor at Insider Studios, the branded content division of Insider, Inc. (publisher of Business Insider). She’s also a writer and now a cartoonist. She started Danielle in Doodles to create and publish doodles about everything from life as a 20-something in NYC to politics, tech, dating, and more. See the doodles (and sign up for the newsletter!) and connect with Danielle on LinkedIn.