Well friends, like many of you, I’m celebrating my one year anniversary of working from home amidst a worldwide pandemic. When I look back at this time last year, I remember thinking that the work from home mandate would be temporary. In fact, I vividly recall telling my colleagues this would last for 3 months, tops. Little did I know that 3 months would turn to 12, and now 12 months have turned into a permanent work from home policy.
Having never really worked from home (albeit the occasional Friday), having the ability to work from home every day seemed daunting at first. What would I do without my work colleagues? How would we collaborate, celebrate our accomplishments (aka birthdays) or just stay in touch? Would I truly enjoy being physically alone each day with very limited contact from anyone in the outside world aside from the Amazon delivery driver? Then I snapped out of it and thought, ok, this has gone on long enough.
After my spiraling thoughts came to a halt about 6 weeks into the pandemic, I knew I was in this for the long haul and…..that I was one of the fortunate ones. I still had my health and my job…and one that I truly enjoyed. And with modern technology, work and my colleagues were never more than a few clicks of the laptop away.
Now, with a year of what I would consider a work at home trial period, I’m convinced that this shift in work location has major lifestyle benefits, including:
Top 7 Lifestyle Benefits of Working at Home
1. Not having to commute – It’s no surprise that Chicago has one of the highest average weekly commute rates in the country. On average, I would spend 1.5 hours roundtrip driving back and forth to the office — and that was without any weather or accidents. So if you’re good at math, you know that this equals at least 7.5 hours per week, which is nearly one full work day! So how did I spend all of my extra time?
2. Having more “me time” of course! With nearly a full workday saved each week, I’ve had more time to read (and eventually donate) the many books I’ve accumulated over the years, catch up with family and friends, take the dog for more walks and clean, organize and redecorate the house! W.A.H. = Winning at Home.
3. Not having to worry (too much) about how I look – Working from a home office? What better reason to kick back in comfy clothes…that is…until your next Zoom meeting. And, even with a Zoom meeting, there’s no reason to stress about what the back of your hair looks like. Mastering the right laptop height and angle to make your face look younger and more awake…that’s a whole different story.
4. Being more productive – Like many corporate cultures, ours was extremely meeting heavy. Although meetings are often necessary, at some point, having back-to-back meetings becomes cumbersome and inefficient …..and leaves no time to get your actual work done. As meetings turned virtual, unnecessary meetings became nearly unheard of overnight. And those meetings that did continue seemed to take less time and were executed more efficiently. Fewer meetings + more efficient meetings = more productive work days.
5. Taking more breaks – When I went into the office every day, it was quite ordinary for me to spend hours at a time fully engaged in projects, so much so that I barely had time to run to the restroom, let alone eat my sad, room temperature salad that I’d forgotten about. Although there are still days where I find myself glued to my at-home laptop for hours at a time, finding 10-15 mini breaks throughout the day to run an errand, make a phone call, do a load of laundry, and actually enjoy lunch – has been much easier and better for my overall mental and physical health.
6. Saving money – For me, going into the office 5 days a week meant having a constant desire to buy something new to wear to work, plus the convenience of spending considerable cash on restaurant or cafeteria meals and coffee at Starbucks. I’m not sure how much I saved by working at home, but let’s just say that I’ve been able to redo two bathrooms in the process.
7. Coffee convenience – With my beloved Nespresso machine, fully stocked espresso capsules and my no sugar almond/coconut milk just a few steps away, I’ve managed to avoid unnecessary Starbucks spending and reduce the amount of sugar I drink all day long. And most importantly, I don’t feel guilty about buying multiple lattes that I never manage to finish while they are still hot.
Although it has been a full year that I’ve called my home my office, this girl’s work at home adventure is just beginning. Stay tuned for more!
Now tell me….What have you enjoyed most about working from home?