How would you feel about mixing work and home life? Many workers got a taste of remote work, or working from home, when the pandemic turned our lives upside down in 2020. Some people loved the change while others absolutely hated it.
If you haven’t tried it yet, and you’re wondering what it’s like, here’s what you need to know about remote work. If you already have been a remote worker, would you agree with the following points about blurring work and home life?
Isolation and lack of in-person interaction
At first, you might think it’s a nice break from your coworkers if you’re working from home. The co-worker you dislike running into is finally gone from your life, and the co-worker who interrupts you to offer the latest company gossip is finally quiet. Then weeks go by, and you become a hate or love it remote worker.
Here are some reasons why you hate it: you miss having lunch with the co-worker who is also your friend. You miss the conversations you had whenever you collaborated with a team. Sure, you have team meetings on Zoom, but everyone is mindful of the time and sticks to the point. When you worked in person, there was time for social conversation to lighten the mood while you worked.
In contrast, if you’re an introvert, you might love remote work. Interaction with your co-workers is at a minimum. No more purposeless water cooler conversations. Now, you can work in peace and get what you need done on time. You don’t feel isolated at all. You also enjoy the short commute from your bedroom to your home office.
Some people may be less extreme, preferring some face-to-face in-person work time and the flexibility to work from home without interruption.
A makeshift office that doubles up as kitchen and family space
Your office may be a temporary workspace, a desk by day and family dining table at night. It’s easy to be distracted by family members or the family pet as they pass from room to room. Virtual meetings with the office may be a challenge. For example, a friend said her co-workers are now familiar with her husband’s comic character T-shirts because he passed in the background quite often.
This makeshift office may be less comfortable without a proper chair or room lighting. You might start to get annoyed at your spouse, sitting at the other end of the dining table, clicking away on the computer or talking during a meeting. It’s a change because you used to have your own private office with a window view and now you’re sharing your desk with someone you see from morning til night.
Lunch has required some changes too. It’s nice you no longer have to spend time packing your lunch the night before. You can heat up or cook something from your kitchen. Or you can order take out. But you miss popping out of the office to grab something from a nearby restaurant for lunch. It was an excuse to get some fresh air.
Different level of professionalism
Is it necessary to dress up if your co-workers can’t see you? You’re accustomed to wearing comfy clothes when you’re at home, not stiff suits or heel-biting shoes. Perhaps you dressed up when you first started remote work because you enjoyed the psychological separation between work time and home time.
As the months trudged on, however, your formality may have started to decline. For example, why dress up from head to toe if the camera only shows you from the waist up during a meeting? Why not look good from the waist up and let your lower half get comfy in jogging pants?
It may also be more practical to dress casual at home because of the added flexibility. A friend said that during coffee breaks, he would do some housework before returning to work. It seemed more productive than what he used to do at the office, which was complete crossword puzzles during coffee breaks.
Overnight technological savvy and IT nerdiness
When you used to work at an office, you had someone to call on whenever you had an IT issue. While working from home, you may have found an overnight need to become technologically savvy with your own computer.
With remote work, you had to set up your home office for virtual meetings, learn how to install communication and project management apps on your computer and/or phone by yourself. If you needed the “IT guy”, he would need to access your computer remotely or advise you over the phone or by chat messaging.
On the upside, you may have figured out a way to let the office know that you’re online during regular office hours, even if you aren’t.
Is working from home something you would want for the rest of your career? Remote work has changed the habits of many office workers. Some prefer remote work while others can’t wait to return to old habits. What do you think? Would you prefer to work from home?
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