Working from the office: I don’t want to ever go back

I stepped away from my desk. I had been working nonstop since mid-morning. I walked downstairs from my home office to see my son pull into the driveway. I greeted him at the door with a smile. We chatted briefly about his day and I told him about my meetings. Before he went up to his room to chill out on his phone, I told him that I loved him. 

I worked for years and rarely saw my family during the day. I would see my wife briefly before I running out the door to beat the rush of the morning commute. I wouldn’t see my kids until they finished some extra-curricular activity in the evening and we all sat down for dinner.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, like many people, I started working from home and haven’t gone back. One day I had a small cubicle in an office, the next I was working out of our spare bedroom.

I remember the day well: Thursday, March 12, 2020. One of the senior leaders where I worked announced that, starting on Friday, we would be working from home. We weren’t even wearing masks yet. The team had a ton of questions and, of course, he didn’t have many answers. My biggest concern was making sure that the “work from home” directive was dropped in a week’s time. I had a big client presentation coming up and didn’t want to run into any technical glitches with the video conference. Oh, that sounds so naïve now.

The meeting came and went and I still haven’t returned to the office.

A blessing in disguise

Covid has been deadly — 5.8 million of deaths worldwide — but I can’t complain about my situation. I know many people don’t have the same luxury of working from home, their jobs or their employers don’t allow it. Many other employers requested workers to work virtually during the height of the pandemic, but are now forcing workers back to the office Hell or high water.

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to work from home the entire time and into the future. I get to share a coffee with my wife before she goes to school. I even get to greet my son before he heads off for his day. I’m there too when both come home in the evening. The amazing thing is that I’ve been able to excel in this new environment more than I ever thought possible.

What am I missing out on

While I’m thankful for the opportunity to work from home, there have been a few things that I’ve missed. They include: 

The commute home. I suspect that I’ve added ten years to my life by eliminating traffic bottlenecks and other crazy drivers from my life. (Of course, I drive like a saint.) While all true, I’ve come to miss the final ten minutes of my commute. I miss having the chance to collect my thoughts. In my new environment, I go from work to home with the snap of my fingers. I have little time to process my day, before helping with dinner or cleaning up the house.

Coffee and friends. I didn’t drink coffee until about ten years ago. I started drinking it when a good friend of mine, a coworker, got me started. She talked about making her coffee runs to Wawa. I was soon hooked. Yes, I still have a chance to connect with peers over video conference, but it’s not the same as catching up with them over coffee or lunch. Nothing beats face-to-face.

–Second opinions. I’ve missed being able to ask a colleague to proof something I’ve written or offer input on a presentation. Some of my best work has come about because of give-and-take with others. Yes, I can still request feedback via email, but it’s just not the same as an in-person request.

The past two years have been challenging. We’ve even seen our share of irate conversations — can you say the “vax or no-vax” debate. Here’s hoping the crisis will soon be over and decisions on where to work will soon be based on employees’ desires and not a worldwide pandemic.

I certainly hope and pray!

 

7 thoughts on “Working from the office: I don’t want to ever go back

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  1. “Here’s hoping the crisis will soon be over and decisions on where to work will soon be based on employees’ desires and not a worldwide pandemic.” Amen to that. I enjoyed reading your post and found things that I value and connect such as Quality Time with Family and Self. Going back memory lane of March 12, 2020, it seems unbelievable still of how all of a sudden everyone or most retreat to their homes for months and abandon the World and Society. 3 months the Planet get to heal itself while Humans retreated for safety from the unknown virus. I remember how a week before that, my Son school already closed because of 2 cases of the covid. I remember walking in my city for exercise and it was empty like in a apocalypse movie. I remember reusing my N95 because we were out of it at work. I think we all were different then. Even if we didn’t want to be confine and loose our freedom, everyone followed a leader and CDC whether they agree or not a deadly new virus with no opponent was spreading quickly globally. 3rd March since the pandemic, I’m actually seeing a totally different attitude and behavior among people even if the virus is now out of control in my community and co-workers are getting sick one by one. Like you, I saw a blessing in the Pandemic. I may not have the chance to stay home but it made me reflect so much on what my life has become and where my priorities should be. Self,Family, Faith, Happiness, Good Health, Purpose and Value, living in the moment, though they are still work in progress, they have become my top priorities. I agree, people should be given the freedom where to work, whether home or office. If only I could work from home, I would jump in a heart beat. The Covid stress is very real and is affecting so many body, mind, heart and spirit, and it’s not even about the disease but about people acting selfishly at the expense of others. COVID made clear there are only two group of people in a work place, the selfless and the selfish. Both working together in a busy customer driven health setting with daily COVID patients is why Nurses are leaving the profession and unaddressed mental health crisis are to the roof. The war is no longer about the virus but what it did on people and how they behave and treat each other. I hope the crisis will end soon too, it has to. Take care my Friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! My issue with my piece is that it glosses over the real news of the pandemic, the millions of deaths and that the vast majority of people still had to go to work, to be on location. I was one of the fortunate ones. I know that it wasn’t that way and isn’t that way for most folks. I think that’s what’s bothered me most about the pandemic: How people have been so callous to each other’s suffering. YOu hit the nail on the head, “COVID made clear there are only two groups of people in a work place, the selfless and the selfish.” At least where I am in the US, there’s so much animosity over vax or no vac, mask or no-mask, that people have forgotten that it’s another person with hopes, dreams, worries, and concerns looking back at them. You’re right, I hope the crisis is winding down. I’m not sure we’ll ever get back to “normal,” but it would be nice to see the strain and stress reduced. Thanks for reading and stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I share your thoughts and concerns my Friend. Here in my the Bay Area, many are no longer wearing mask and doing everything pre-COVID. At work, COVID is treated normally too, staff who got sick comes back after 10 days assuming they are no longer infectious to work with sick patients and mingle with co-workers in a very cramp space. Managers and Administration are acting like COVID went away or at least not serious anymore. No one is explaining, more than 1,000 are still dying of COVID daily while cases are going down. Is Omicron more deadly now? Is Deltacron is the dominant strain among those who have died? The attention of media, leaders and citizens are now focused to life without COVID when it should be life with COVID as the virus survives all year round and still being passed around everyday. It will be a very interesting Summer. Thanks.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, I think there’s a lot of “let’s will it away and it will be gone.” I make fun, but I’m probably just as bad as everyone else. We’re all tired of the virus. I feel bad for the folks who can’t avoid coming in proximity to the virus and who have to go back to make ends meat. Thanks for stopping by!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I love working from home. I was offered this position 10 years ago, and am so grateful for it. I haven’t missed many days of my daughter’s life. Plus, dinner is always on time. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re ahead of the game. You can teach all the newbies like myself on how to best use your time. You’re so right, it’s been a huge win for family events. Saying that, there have been some things I’ve had to get used to. I didn’t mention in the blog, but I’m trying to occasionally “force” myself to get out. I’m home all day and, unless we have something with our kids, I’m home most evenings too. It’s not bad, but I don’t want to become a “hermit.” Ha, ha. I’ll figure it out eventually!! Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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