I am writing this sat in my spare room.

For the past 18 months, since we were told to work from home, everything I have written has been put to page in this room.

It is about 4m x 4m. It looks out over a typical terraced street in Adamsdown in Cardiff.

The street is fairly quiet apart from the odd drug deal. It is minging on a Thursday when your bins are collected and are inevitably ripped open by the seagulls so food covers the street, though admittedly it is nice when it covers the dog muck.

For 18 months I have been treated to my own budget surround-sound system at home.

From one side I have the dulcet tones of my neighbour’s newborn (though I have now been working from home so long that she is now actually saying words).

On the other side I have the loud conversations about what my neighbours want for dinner.

In many ways I have been lucky this pandemic. I haven’t caught the virus. None of my immediate family have caught the virus. I do not work every day in full PPE like many people. I still have a job. I am not taking any of these things for granted.

However, I have to say I hate working from home with every fibre of my being.

Some people I know love it. It has helped redress their work-life balance, removed their commute and enabled them to spend more time with their kids.

I totally understand why they enjoy it. But this is simply not my lived experience.

For me, work was the time to socialise. I loved my job and the people I worked with.

Those everyday interactions didn’t just brighten up my day, they were my day.

I would speak to dozens of people during my work day, both colleagues and contacts. After that, I would get home and happily close my door on the world and enjoy some quiet.

Instead of going to interviews to meet people all my conversations are done within those same four walls, and all through a screen

Now I finish after a day behind a screen and I realise that if I don’t walk out of my door, I face a day with no real human interaction.

Doing this for a few days, a week or even a month is fine. However, once you have lived like this for 18 months (in a career that I have been in for 60 months) it really gets you down.

I live alone, I don’t have kids and I deliberately live where I do so I could walk to work.

Now I work from home, I can easily go days without having a meaningful interaction with another human being beyond:

“Sir, you need to spend over £3 to be able to pay on our card...”

“OK, I will have a Twix as well then, please.”

It is, frankly, incredibly lonely.

It seems almost perverse that I can contact everyone I know in a second using a whole range of different platforms. I can see what they had for dinner (though why you would tweet your food is beyond me).

I can tell you that they have just bought a puppy (because everyone in the world has now subscribed to this cult of dog) and yet I have never felt so isolated. It isn't that I am lacking friends. I have a quality bunch of mates and a cracking family, but because of distance these interactions inevitably take me to a screen and not a pub.

None of these social media connections are real. A “lol” can never replace a belly laugh, a video chat can never replace a hug and an emoji can never replace body language.

The worst thing is that it creeps up on you. You think you are fine and then you realise that this is what your new life is.

Working from home you don't see people unless you arrange it. There is no spontaneity, there is no slowly building friendships and camaraderie week after week.

Everything needs to be planned now. Such as this trip to Cardiff's Aqua Park. There is no spontaneity

It is just a world of instant messages, emails and workflow software (urgh).

I tell you this not to whine or get sympathy. As I say, I have supportive mates, family and colleagues.

But I think it is worth highlighting the significant impact that long-term home working will have on our society.

There are significant benefits to people being able to work more flexibly. However the research suggests that these benefits only occur when the employee has been given a role in the decision-making process. Being told by a politician that you must work from home is not a more flexible working life, it is an imposition.

I particularly feel for young people going into workplaces. A huge part of starting a job is listening to and observing others. If you have a problem or a question, it is far easier just to ask a colleague in the work kitchen than email a boss.

You feel part of something in a workplace and losing this is a huge societal shift that deserves our attention.