I am tired.
Tired of reading and hearing about working from home, hybrid work, when will we return... are you not?
The only normalcy I crave is going back to the office, doing ancient things like going to the water cooler to get a glass of water and simultaneously talking to someone that I randomly bumped into on the way.
I have been working from home for the past 1 year now (almost). At first, I was fine with it - thought life would be easier and perhaps even lazy. But I had lessons to learn, who knew? Don't worry, won't mention Zoom calls since that's already too overrated. But here are some other little but important things that will hopefully make you realize how crucial the office space is.
1. Goodbye office banter
It's strange how people talk about working from home as a nice thing because to me it's synonymous with working from a cage - I haven't been able to tell people how I got burnt by my laptop charger (no kidding) - definitely would've gained sympathy if I were in office :)
There are so many little things that happen during the day and you would want to share them with office colleagues but since remote work started, small talk has had to be scheduled. That does not make sense at all. Humans are social and so am I.
2. Virtual lunches and parties
This is not a trend, it is the height of awkwardness for most people including me. Talking while having pizza sauce dripping from my mouth on a Zoom call? No, thank you. It's true that the same thing could happen even face-to-face but that felt so natural!
I'm done wearing make-up to a virtual party - it's not a real party, folks! Parties were about meeting and greeting people, about laughter and judging everyone on what they wore. With everything turning virtual, I have never got a chance of showing off my new heels.
3. Home cooked food
You might think how can one not miss home cooked food but honestly, even though I love my mom's preparations, it's been a year now and it's not on my priority list anymore. I would be fine trading good food for going back to the office. Of course, for many people this is not valid since they have had to cook themselves and I'm sure they're tired too.
Some people miss their office food and canteen as well since they had healthier options that suited their strict diets. Miss office lunches and all that goes with it.
4. Home desk
I will not miss my home desk because I didn't have one! Work from home meant use any surface as your desk as and when they got free. With a family that's also using laptops for their own work, it is super hard to get a dedicated desk for your own stuff.
Couch arm, window sill, dressing table, dining table, kitchen surface, pillow back, sister's back have all been super useful as work desks. Now that I think of it, I had too much luxury in office - a super-wide work desk with all my things splayed across with no one to tell me anything on why things were kept the way they were. Definitely, not missing home desks.
5. The cacophony
Ever had a situation where you have a client meeting and the whistle of the coffee machine or the pressure cooker goes off in the kitchen, your dad/husband/brother/whoever has another simultaneous meeting on, your mother is gossiping and obnoxiously laughing on the phone, your sister has her online classes going on and to top it all the doorbell rings right at that moment?
Yeah, been through that a couple million times. The office feels like a sanctuary now, a place of meditation, a temple of silence compared to my home. So will I miss the cacophony? Not for another century.
6. No commute - no traffic
Do you love the fact that you don't have to commute anymore? Do you also love the fact that you have to work longer due to that? Many of us traveled for at least 30 minutes to reach the office unless we were super lucky. Now that remote work almost killed it, employees have been realizing that they're working longer due to not having to commute.
I miss my commute because I realize there were so many people I spoke to on a daily basis as I did that and I also realize its value now. You met familiar faces in the train or bus, wondered about the faces you never saw before. If you missed the train, you would curse yourself and swore that you will wake up earlier (of course never happened). These are all such insignificant experiences but the pandemic has made me realize their significance.
7. No routine
The lack of not having a routine while working from home may not be true anymore for some people as they have adapted to this style and created their own routine around it. But for many of us, we still haven't been able to create a routine of ourselves and even if we do, we end up following it only for a select number of days.
Office life gave you a routine, gave you a purpose to wake up, dress up and show up. Now showing up means switching on your laptop and logging into your daily stand up that too with your camera switched off since that's a big deal now - do I even have to show up?
8. Sitting forever
My bed has a depression now (seriously) - I just don't realize that I sit there for such long hours that I forget to even take a break from the screen until my mother screams at me from the other end of the house that it's time for a meal.
I don't have the luxury of a supersized home that I can walk around and run around without bumping into someone. You're basically confined to a corner of a room that is shared. In office, I could walk around to my colleague's desk since there was so much space! Now, if I have to talk to a few colleagues together, I have to create a Zoom meeting which is no fun.
Feeling active throughout the day is so important for me but remote work has made it really hard to keep up the pace of work with no physical activity that I feel miserable about myself.
So, in the end, while opinions vary on remote work - I certainly am not an advocate of them or trying to preach one way or another. These are just some of those things that I feel I won't miss working from office (once that happens anyway).
I love everything about the office - right from the energy and conversations that happen on a daily basis to the office vibe of the space itself. You only realize the importance of something once it's taken away from you, what do you think?