I’ve been working from home for 14 months, and I’ll admit this much: I hated it in the beginning.
I am a child of the office age, not the technology age. I started working in the late seventies; we had clunky word processors masquerading as computers, but mostly it was pens, notepads and phones (push-button at that point, though even that was relatively new; I still recall rotary phones and phone booths. Don’t make me go there, young’uns).
I was the last person to quit my office, and it was painful. I figured if everyone else was working from home under COVID restrictions, I could stay in the office alone, right? No, I couldn’t, as we were not deemed essential employees. So off to the home office in March, 2020.
I’ve never gone back. Never plan to go back. I’d smother at least a few of my coworkers at this point. I have been more productive from home than I ever thought possible, thanks to fewer interruptions and the ability to schedule work in my day, instead of dealing with CMS (Chronic Meeting Syndrome). I can start early if I need to, finish later if I want to, and run or bike in the middle of the day. A doctor’s appointment is no longer a time issue. A lunch break can include vacuuming rugs or folding laundry or running out to pick up a prescription. It’s telling a service person, “Sure, come over anytime to fix/inspect/replace whatever. I am home.” And not one single cold since work from home started, thanks to avoiding two employees in particular who felt obligated to come to work coughing, sweating, and sick to the point of collapse because it was so important for them. The truth: they had blown off all their PTO on other things and had none left.
The bad part about working from home: Zoom™ meetings with or without video. Not a fan, though I don’t blame the Zoom creators. Some people just are not video-camera material. I happen to be one of them. I have a state-of-the-art computer; there just isn’t enough plastic surgery or cosmetics to make me look good in pictures. And even without video, some folks don’t know how to mute their phones, or keep the family and personal stuff out of their office. Kids, dogs, the TV, the spouse, the neighbors are all fair game on Zoom calls because “it’s not like it’s the real office.”
I miss interaction with people I liked, but not much. I have other people outside work to see. I have returned to competing. I do not miss morning rush hour and driving and honking at crawling drivers in the left lane. I understand people who want and need to go back and hate that they cannot go back because child care and school virtual learning make it impossible to return. I am happy to work from right here, drive and consume less, not contribute to the carbon footprint and argue with the only occasional opposing voice — my own.