This is a guest post by Jenny Lewis. Jenny is an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a shipping company based in Jacksonville, Florida. And, she’s awesome. Jenny does not want to work from home.
As a working professional who has spent my career commuting to and from work every single day, I never thought I would have nor want the opportunity to work from home. I also never thought our world as a whole would be living through an unprecedented pandemic. Lesson #1- never say never!
But, I digress.
I have a few friends who only seek out work from home jobs because of all the advantages it offers. While I had never had the desire to make this my permanent gig, now that I am here, I can see the pros.
You get to work from the comfort of your own surroundings. You save money on gas no longer having to endure a lengthy commute. You can easily become very liberal with your daily undergarment usage. So on and so forth.
However, being a work-from-home-er does not come without its challenges.
There is a fair amount of discipline you have to assert upon yourself to stay on task, especially when your dog now demands a walk at two-hour intervals, sometimes impeding your work production.
I’ve also found that basic communication can be tricky. There is no longer the opportunity to walk up to someone’s desk to resolve an issue. It now requires a Zoom call.
At the beginning of the quarantine, a video chat was downright titillating. Look! People! Speaking! To me!
But now that the novelty has worn off, and we are 4 months deep into the new normal, the need for human connection and interaction is hard to deny.
I miss morning hellos. Tuesday through Friday only. I definitely am not ready to speak to anyone until at least 2:00 pm Monday.
I miss a spontaneous round of clapping for any number of accomplishments a team achieves during the day.
I miss the laughter coming from the breakroom when a group convened for lunch. That’s how much our workplace covets love. Whole teams eat lunch together. Not out of obligation, but just because they enjoy each other’s company!
Good companies have a culture built on closeness: both literal and figurative.
So what do we do now that we can’t cultivate that culture (like what I did there?)
Thanks to COVID, we are now faced with a situation where, for everyone’s safety, we must be apart. Ironically this mandatory separation is during a time where we need to be close to each other the most.
It feels like the world is changing rapidly every day and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring can be overwhelming. However, we do still have each other. Our work family.
We may be in our separate homes, new offices, and different seats but it’s only temporary. When this is all over, I’ll be so happy to be back together. Even if I can’t work from home on my couch anymore.
Working from home versus working out of an office is a grass is greener situation depending on what side of the fence you are on. The one thing I have learned from this crazy COVID is that I prefer the pasture with the people.
In the meantime, continue to work from home. Stay safe. Take care of your family. And for goodness sake, please answer my instant message!