I will remember March 17th, 2020 for the rest of my life. It’s one of those rare memories that sticks in your brain in such vivid detail. I can see the florescent lights and glittery green St. Patrick’s Day decorations throughout our corner of the office building, I can hear the click-clacking of 20 or so keyboards from around the room, and I can smell the cold cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer sitting at my desk.
On March 17th, 2020 my supervisors walked through our department and had us all shut our phones off to go into a meeting. As we all ended our calls and ceased our furious typing, the office fell silent for the first time in weeks. We gathered in the cafeteria where we were told to space out six feet apart from each other. I looked left and right at my gal pals, and thought how weird it is to be standing, far apart from each other, and in the cafeteria of all places when meetings used to be held in the small conference room where we would huddle together around the table and whisper snide comments to each other and try not to laugh.
“We have made the decision that our department will work from home for the time being,” my manager said. “IT will be coming around tomorrow to help box up your monitors and all of your equipment.”
That week we said “goodbye” and “see you soon” to our co-workers, to our office family. We weren’t supposed to, but we hugged each other. We thought we may be gone only a few weeks or a few months.
Ten months later my company had a new standup desk and chair delivered to my home. We aren’t going back. In just a few days it will be one year since I started working from home full time.
There was definitely an adjustment period at first, and I still have bittersweet moments, but it has been a blessing. Like I said– not to be dramatic, but working from home has changed my life. Here’s how.
My pets have never been happier.
Honestly, Belle and Kingsley are the biggest winners of this whole work-from-home thing. My sweet kitty, Belle, waits for me in my office every morning so she can sit in my lap as soon as I start work. She purrs so loud that she has interrupted many a Teams meeting, but most people don’t mind because they find it soothing. My 100lb German Shepherd, Kingsley, started the pandemic thinking he is lap dog, and he tried to steal Belle’s spot on my lap. Now we’ve all reached an understanding where he lays on the floor by my feet. He gets endless belly rubs throughout the day, and in the summer he gets to play outside and bask in the sun.
For my end of the bargain, they’ve both become excellent emotional support pets. My job can get very stressful, and if I need to take a quick breather they are both ready for snuggles.
I have a healthy daily routine.
Gone are the mornings of rushing around to take care of the dog, get my husband’s lunch packed and breakfast made, get myself dressed and ready, and grab breakfast as I run out the door. I can take my time in the morning and it’s so peaceful. I’ll listen to a podcast while I go about my morning tasks, and then make myself a real breakfast before starting work. I’m also not tempted by the cafeteria donuts at the office, and I’m saving a lot of money by skipping the Starbies run.
I miss having lunch dates with my office gal pals, but I love getting to make my own healthy lunch and use the time to recharge. Actually, a few months ago I started doing my spin workout during my lunch break, and then I’ll have something ready to eat afterwards. My lunchtime workout is my favorite part of my day because it helps me clear my head, and it’s a great energy boost in the middle of the workday. That one change in my daily routine has made such a positive impact on both my mental and physical health.
After work I don’t have to drive home, I just close my computer, walk out of my office, and shut the door.
I’m more productive at home.
I know it seems counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth. When I tell people I work from home a lot of them will ask me, “Don’t you get so distracted working from home?” I really don’t! I actually think I had more distractions in the office, between coffee breaks with my pals and stopping by peoples’ desks to chitchat among other things.
At home I’m comfortable, calm, and focused. I have my pets by my side, a scented candle, and soft music in the background. Well not always soft music– sometimes I’m having my own personal Taylor Swift concert dancing and singing at my desk while going through reports. But I have the freedom to do that, and it’s great! One way or another I get in the zone and I get my work done, and I get to be comfortable and content while I do it.
I haven’t had to wear dress pants in a year.
Seriously, leggings and joggers are life.
It’s wild to think that a year ago today all was normal and I was sitting in my cubicle under bright florescent lights. I won’t lie, there are moments when I really miss seeing everyone in person, not just on a Teams call. Life is so different now, both good and bad, and this is one of the good for me. I know not everyone loves working from home, so maybe one of my next posts will be about some tips for being successful at home.
I am a homebody by nature, so working from home is a literal dream come true. Cheers to one whole year of this.