Public Bathrooms & Missing Pets: Buffalonians Are Coming Back To The Office
For many people in Western New York -- myself included -- a year-long work from home experiment is coming to an end.
Schools are bringing students back to in-person learning, plans for some of the usual summer events are not being cancelled, and as vaccination rates climb and COVID-19 infections go down -- many folks who have called home the office, are headed back into their on-site workplaces.
My last day in the office was March 11, 2020. It had been 438 days since my commute to work involved more than walking down the hallway from my bedroom. I wasn't sure what to expect as we enter yet again, another "new normal."
For what it's worth, it was a gorgeous morning to make that first drive to work.
And while this is all part of "getting back to normal," none of it feels that way.
Simultaneously, it feels like I never left, and it also feels like I've just woken up from being in a coma for 14 months -- everyone is a year older, everyone looks a little different, and everyone is hungry to catch up.
I asked some friends who have returned to their offices what they miss about being home, and what they looked forward to at work.
I had 100 percent taken this for granted. A private office bathroom is usually something reserved for CEOs, but many of us WFH folks had a taste of the good life (full of privacy and high quality toilet paper).
Work as Self Care
The dress code for WFH was as if Casual Friday had a long weekend that never ended. But the old adage holds true -- when you look good you feel good. And if a lack of hairstyling, makeup and fashion was making you feel less than...a reason to get ready in the morning might be the boost you didn't realize you needed.
Missing Our Kids and Pets
For how often they made work harder -- interruptions anyone? Without a doubt, returning to the office and school is going to cause some separation anxiety between you and your babies and furbabies.
Healthier Work/Life Balance
The first thing I noticed about working from home was the complete destruction of the idea of quitting time. When you live where you work, the lines get blurred between what you're supposed to be doing and when.
There were many times I'd be working here and there throughout the entire day -- because the workday never really felt over until bedtime. When you get to physically leave the office, it's easier to leave the office mindset where it belongs, and make your home the sanctuary it's supposed to be.
For me, it was a LOT harder to work from home -- because as it turns out, doing a live radio show while keeping three boys under the age of 12 quiet, is impossible. For others, a return to an active, loud, busy office full of people could be a huge distraction -- especially after more than a year of working in solitary conditions.
Maybe It's Not All or Nothing Anymore?
With a year of figuring out how to work without being at work, you may have more flexible work options now than ever. It seems to be a trend where offices are implementing a hybrid office/home schedule, with workers doing a bit of both.
Yeah, It's Another New Normal
Even going "back to how it used to be," will require an adjustment. Just like when you started working from home, it's important to give yourself time to get into a new version of your old routine.