As the COVID vaccine rolls out and we really start thinking about “life after COVID,” I find myself wondering what work will be like. Today marks one year since I started teleworking 100% of the time.
At first, I was concerned about it. I didn’t like working from home, mainly because I didn’t (still don’t) have a good office setup — I sit at my dining room table. Also, I was sure that the distractions and easy access to food/snacks would prove problematic for me. The lack of dual monitors struck me as an additional hurdle to leap.
It’s Not Bad, Though
As time marched on, I began to see the benefits of teleworking. My commute is seconds long. Pajama pants are perfectly acceptable. Furry coworkers are abundant.
Those things I assumed would be problematic, for the most part, weren’t. Sitting at my dining room table meant I have a lovely view of my wooded backyard. And I added a bird feeder to my deck for added entertainment — both from the birds and the cats. It also means that distractions are downstairs, for the most part.
The food issue is a thing sometimes. But having less junk food in the house, and practicing thoughtfulness (e.g. am I hungry or bored?) both help.
Are there Any Negatives?
While it may sound like everything about teleworking has been fabulous, there are a few downsides.
- Double Monitors. The lack of double monitors is annoying. My boss got me a second monitor, but it’s HUGE (24.5″ x 14.5″) so I only pull it out when doing comparative work that can’t fit on a single screen. Realistically, though I would likely do the same thing for a smaller monitor as it’s an extra thing to set up every morning.
- Meetings. It feels like there are WAY more meetings now. At least double, maybe more! I think it’s because people don’t have to physically get together or leave time between meetings to get from one place to another. The only upshot to the meetings is you can leave off, or turn off, the camera and double task easily.
- No Breaks. I used to walk to the National Mall or the Tidal Basin during lunch or if I needed to clear my brain. I don’t have any place to go now. I also don’t have a Starbucks, Potbelly, or CVS within walking distance anymore.
Still Don’t Want to Go Back
Realistically, three fairly minor detriments aren’t enough for me to want to give up the benefits. I have no real incentive to go back to 1.5 hour commutes (each way), transit costs, weather woes, early rising, and zero cats at work. Yes, that last one is most important. If you’re a cat person, you understand.
I think I’d be happiest with once-a-month office visits — seeing people sometimes is nice, after all — for an all-hands meeting or similar. However, I could be happy with 100% telework or up to once a week in the office. I wouldn’t want more than that. We’ve long since proven it’s not necessary, and I’m loath to give up my time, money, and cat bonding time.
What about you? Do you prefer in-office work or telework? Do you get a choice? Has your telework opinion changed in the past year? Let me know in the comments.