One year ago today was the first day my entire office started working from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak. I had no idea that March 17, 2020 was going to be my last day working in my cubicle. The mood in the office that day was somber. None of us knew what was going to come next, but we certainly expected to see each other again in a few months. I remember leaving my plants on my desk that last day, but a few days later I decided to bring them home. One year later, and it still feels like a dream.
This past year I have learned a lot about myself and how to efficiently work from home. At first, it felt like a vacation. I was going through each day reminding myself that this was temporary and I would be back in my cubicle in no time. It was not until summer came that I let that notion go and got comfortable working from home. While it was a very difficult transition, there were also some positive things that came out of this. Check out my pictures below to see some of my highlights. Specifically, I would suggest reading the time capsule I made in 2012…it is scary accurate!
In the beginning, some difficulties that I found working from home were having my own space to work. At the time, both my parents were also working from home for the most part. My mom had her computer set up at the kitchen table, my dad was in our home office, and I was at the dining room table. The lack of personal interaction and comradery was a bummer and something I still miss with my coworkers. Over time, these things got easier. My dad retired and my mom went back to work, so I have the home office now and even bought myself a desk so I could create my own space. The Muse has some great work-from-home tips to emphasize work-life balance and avoid burnout. My favorite tips are keeping clear, defined working hours and building transitions in and out of work.
Luckily, there were also a ton of positive things that came out of this past year. First, I got to spend more time with my family and my dog. My dog loves having us all home during the day and I love taking breaks to play with her. In addition, I have been able to sleep-in later, exercise more, wear my comfy clothes, wear less makeup (and be comfortable with it!), cook my own food more often, use my own bathroom (as someone with IBD this is a lifesaver), and destress from the busyness of daily life. Before working from home, I lived a really busy lifestyle and never had time to relax, but this experience made me prioritize the little things. This is something I am grateful for.
I have a lot of memories from this past year that will stay with me for the years to come. I learned to be patient. I learned to appreciate the good things while I have them. I learned to live in the moment. I learned that not everything will always go my way, but it is how I respond to a negative situation that determines the outcome. Staying positive and using this time to my advantage to learn new skills and put myself first has allowed me to come to terms with reality. Who knows, maybe WFH will become the new normal? Forbes seems to think so!
What do you prefer: WFH or in-person? Has your work experience been positive or negative during the pandemic?