11 months into the bold new society shaped by Covid-19, I have grown accustomed to working from home, settled into a rhythm. There is a discussion going on in the office about an eventual return to the office, and something like 97% of the staff are saying, "do we really have to?" If we go back in time 100 years, three out of my four grandparents, lived on farms and worked at home. Both of my grandfathers, and one of my grandmothers were raised where home and work were one and the same. The kind of farming my parents did (bee herding) was scattered, the business was centered at home, but the tending the bugs was spread over 100 mile radius. When we were extracting honey, that was done on on the home farm, I would get up and go fire the boilers, go back the house breakfast, work, go to the house for lunch, or breaks, and when we were done, home was just across the field, not miles away. After I left the farm, I owned a small business for a couple of years, and sold real estate. I had to get use to, no money was made at home. And for over 35 years I had an office or a jobsite to go to (before my midlife change of direction, I worked for home builders and land developers with most of my work being in scattered onsite offices and inspecting construction sites (my that sounds butch!) The clean line between personal life and professional life was the office door. I had a policy for years that I wouldn't work at home, unless I started taking naps in the office.
I have worked hard at setting new boundaries between work on personal life. I use two computers, and log off of all work on my personal machine on weekends. I often don't turn my cell phone on over the weekend, because it has my office email on it, and I find it hard not to take a quick read. I try to start work at a regular time, take a break and go in the other room for lunch, finish at a fixed time, and then not look at my office computer or office email on my personal machine in the evening. The rhythm works for me. I am not anxious to return to my daily commute.
Many experts agree that it takes three weeks or so to establish a new habit, at 11 months, many of us have well established habits that will be hard to break, hard to change.
A lot of people I know who are still working, and worked in conditions like you, are saying the same. Friends are hearing they may not even return to a work environment, since in many cases the work performance has improved in this time. Two other friends say that their company is already looking for smaller working spaces since they are not bringing everybody back, but will continue 3/4 of their staffs at home...only upper management would be in an office.ReplyDelete
Boy if this is a new normal, not only will there be a lot of empty malls, but also now empty office buildings. Instead of building new, and tearing up yet more land, while so many buildings sit empty(I never understood that)... They should repurpose them in to places for homeless.
We have several years left to go on a very expensive lease on office space, and people are already asking, what can we do to get out of this? We way overbuilt shopping malls, and they are starting to close and be converted, one of the mega hospital groups has bought one of the empty one's here.Delete
which empty mall and inova fairfax hospital group?Delete
Landmark, and I think InovaDelete
I remember when that was an outdoor mall before it was enclosed and enlarged. we always went to springfield mall and landmark mall; occasionally a trip to tyson's corner, ballston, and pentagon city malls.Delete
I agree habits that habits can be difficult to change but we do and always have done so. I am pleased you switch off from work when you are not being paid. More people should do so. There is probably very little that can't wait until working hours.ReplyDelete
I have to remind myself, no one dies if I don't reply to an email for a day or two.Delete
I admire you being able to separate work life from home life. I could never do that. I've read that many companies expect to continue some sort of work-from-home set-up.ReplyDelete
I offered to office share, when we return to the office, going in 2 or 3 days a week and working at home the rest of the time, and was told we have to pay for space, even if I continue to work at home.Delete
Do I understand correctly that you have to pay for office space even if you work from home 5 days a week? That seems unfair.Delete
That's the down side now, How do we return to pre-COVID work life after nearly a year of being unsettled?ReplyDelete
Are we experiencing major culture change?Delete
todd has been working at home since mid-march 2020. every month, he gets an e-mail from corporate saying "stay home another month". who knows when this will end.ReplyDelete
Our current status, is telecommute until further notice, and when the office reopens, no one will be asked to come in unless and until they feel safe doing so.Delete
I'm glad I'm retired. I always hated doing any work at home. It seemed too invasive of my private sanctuary.ReplyDelete
It is so easy to end up working 70 hours a week,Delete
I never thought I'd like working from home because I felt the need to be near the people I work with. But so far, I've enjoyed it very much. However, I'm not sure I'll ever want to put on make-up or a bra again. (That's probably too much information.)ReplyDelete
I know the feeling, different parts, same feeling,Delete
good for you and sensible too to discriminate work from home. Few do and this causes a lot of grief.ReplyDelete
In many ways, I love and much prefer working from home. Aside from the obvious safety factor:ReplyDelete
1. I don't have to do the long commute to and fro, which saves me 2 hours a day, removes the driving anxiety I have, and lowers wear and tear (and gas cost) for my car.
2. I get way more work done at home than I ever did in the office (no obligatory social interactions when people stop by to say hi or stop me on my way to or from bathroom or water fountain.)
3. I don't have to use public accommodations ( I LOATHE using shared public bathrooms and don't unless I absolutely have to.)
4. I miss less time - I am more likely to work though bad health days when I can be home and address and accommodate them as needed. I don't have to make the call of whether to go in in case things get worse or leaving early before they do.
5. I much prefer my own home working space to an office space.
6. I get to see way more of my dogs and my hubby.
7. Happy hour is never more than a few steps away.
Like you, I have established an official office space at home and learned to adhere to my work schedule, scheduling breaks, lunch, and end of shift alarms on my phone to alert me that it's time to stop working. I walk away from my desk during these times and spend time with my puppies and husband in a different are of the house. It really helps. We are also currently on telecommuting until further notice, which has been getting extended every three or four months for months at a time since March 2020, but management is itching to get us back in the office - they have a deep seated fear/belief that employees don't work from home (evidential production to the contrary) and they just don't believe in a modern telecommuting model, so we will most likely be directed back at some point. I hope to maintain my FT WFH status through reasonable accommodation for medical issues as long as possible, and at least until I have been fully vaccinated. I hope, even if (when) they force us back (for no good reason that I'm aware of, for most of us, since we can do 100% of our jobs from home and have been for 10 months) I hope they consider at least allowing continued PT telecommuting for a couple days a week. It's just so much harder to wash your knickers during the work day when you have to do them by hand in the break room sink and dry them under the hand dryers in the bathroom.