The pandemic and working from home has led to quite a revolution in the workforce. People are realizing that life as we had been living it before the pandemic is not where it’s at. Priorities have changed and this has led to people being fed up. People are feeling empowered to make changes. People are realizing their worth, realizing what they want, and realizing that employment as we’ve known it is for the birds. And though I didn’t get it at first, I NOW GET IT!
Personally, I have had some realizations about work and life during this pandemic, and I cannot see going back to life as I knew it before this all happened. I feel like my life’s priorities do not line up with working the way I did before the pandemic. And I feel like I just cannot see going back to the way things were.
I’m sure that along with the rest of the world, after two years of remote working, I now realize that going to an office every single day is for the birds. Don’t get me wrong, I know for some occupations, it’s required. I wouldn’t expect my dentist to virtually clean my teeth, no more than I’d expect my mechanic to virtually change my oil. I know for a lot of people, there was no such thing as working from home.
But for the millions of office workers and paper pushers like myself, working from home is what we did during the pandemic. Once upon a time, working 100% remotely once seemed like an impossibility–like…we really felt like there’s no way in earth we could fully operate without stepping foot into an office space.
What about our files and our print-outs and faxes and mail???
But obviously, we did it. And we did it darn well. And while doing it, we discovered a lot of things about what’s important in life and what’s not. Spending more time at home helping kids with school work easily outweighs devoting that same time to being in a car commuting. We’ve discovered hobbies and recipes, we’ve enhanced relationships and we’ve explored and vacationed more than normal–things that were at the very least made more difficult when we had a requirement to be physically present in an office.
I realize that I have it good when it comes to work. I get paid very well, I have a lot of flexibility, before the pandemic, I did work three days from home, and when it comes to work-related stress, that really is quite low. So, I have no plans to resign.
HOWEVER…there are some things I also have no interest in doing again. Ever. And I hope I can align my life up to these preferences in the near future.
So now that the return-to-work announcement seems imminent, I’m realizing that there are some things I haven’t missed and that I have no interest in returning to.
- Spending 20 hours of my work week in a car fussing about my commute and crazy @ss drivers
- Fussing over work outfits
- Carrying around flat shoe and a work shoe (and a gym shoe if I plan to work out during lunch)
- Mentally allocating hours and hours preparing for work and the associated logistics of getting to the office
- Living my life around when traffic starts and ends
- Spending money on just getting to, and being in, the office. (Gas, car wear and tear, meals out, coffee on the go, etc.)
- Missing out on things because I can’t get there in time if I’m coming from work
- Feeling like a race starts the moment I hit the door in the evenings (because things I’ve done during the workday during the pandemic, I’m unable to do if I’m in the office…such as running an errand that takes 10 minutes from your home but that’s not possible to do in a reasonable timeframe from the office, marinating chicken, doing laundry, prepping meals, going to a fitness class by my home that I can’t make it to in time from the office)
- Attending meetings in person that could be an email, a phone call, Teams/Skype message, or a virtual meeting
- Constantly being in a state of meal planning because I have to take lunch and breakfast to the office and then have an easy-to-make meal at home for dinner because I have to go to bed in two hours.
- Going to bed two hours after I get home
- Living off of convenient meals because there’s no time to cook and prep
- Waking up before 8am. I literally cannot believe that I woke up at 6am and often didn’t start working until 9. THREE HOURS wasted every single day.
- Dealing with work drama. So much of that disappears when you don’t have to deal with in-person foolishness. I don’t see you, you don’t see me, and at the end of the day, I sign off and live my life.
- Not focusing on my side hustle and other interests because all of my free time and mental space is devoted to work things.
- Spending money on clothing just to go to the office
- Shoveling snow or dealing with inclement weather just to get to or from the office.
- Awkward pot lucks
- Paying for dry cleaning
- The ability to zone out in the middle of the day which is not possible in the office because you always have to be “on”
This is just my starter list. There are so many more things I have no interest in dealing with once we are required to return to work. What have you not missed since being on full-time remote work? Anything on my list? What are your thoughts on the Great Resignation?