There is so much written on the internet about the things people do not miss when they decide to work remotely. The 4x4 squared office, having to wear a suit, the politics and so on. But believe it or not working in an office delivers a few benefits too. I am not just talking about free stationary. The good news is, once you know what you are missing, you can find ways to enjoy those same benefits while working remotely.
This is certainly a big one for me. Lightning speed internet, land line phones, printers, scanners. I miss all office infrastructure. Even if I never had a reason to use a fax machine. I just enjoyed the idea of knowing it was there. Remember when working remotely free printer paper is not free when you stop working in an office!
To be fair, I’ve only worked in one office that owned a watercooler. The water cooler or kitchen (in my case) is a place to vent, to hear a quick joke, and to see who’s wearing what. You might get lonely if you don’t have something to replace your ‘water cooler’. When working remotely I keep connected with my colleagues through instant messaging; it’s not entirely the same as I often feel a bit guilty trying to start a random conversation but it’s always nice to have a quick chat if they have the time. Plus I think when working remotely I have far too many conversations with my dogs, (no matter how productive they seem at the time).
Since working remotely I have found time can easily define your entire day. When you’re sitting alone at home, there’s no difference between what happens at 9 AM and 5 PM. However, walk into an empty office at 7 AM and you will feel like a productivity hero. You’ll shame each person who arrives after you, and that always feels great. At 5 PM, you will feel the office wind down, people will start packing up, letting your brain know the work day is ending. This feeling can be difficult to replicate when working at home without introducing a proper working daily schedule.
For me, there was more of a mental and emotional break from work when I could shut down my computer, switch off the light, close the office door, and drive out of my parking space. Since working remotely, my office is my home. One thing I plan to do to compensate is to setup an official “quitting time.” I will shut down my office at the correct time, head over to the gym (that’ll provide some separation), before coming back ‘home’.
Would I trade the remote life life to go back to the office grind? Not a chance, and certainly not if it meant leaving this job. I am extremely lucky to be able to work from home. When we consider how we approach our work at home arrangements, we can enjoy the perks of being at home without losing out on all the things we miss about the office just by making some subtle adjustments. It will never been identical to working in the office, but we can always try and add those attributes in different ways.
What aspects do you miss about being in a traditional, physical office setting? What adjustments have you made?