Updated: Oct 9, 2020
As we continue to open up in Illinois, a couple of my past blog posts have come to mind. One of them being, "You are a Machine" which I wrote at the beginning of 2019.
With all of this pandemic stuff going on, how many of you have kicked it into high gear to keep all those plates spinning while working from home?
Have you seen advantages and disadvantages of this situation?
What is the impact it might have had on your health?
Here are a few things to consider when returning back to the office from the perspective of someone who has thrived in this situation - both personally and professionally:
ADVANTAGES WORKING FROM HOME
The flexible work environment has allowed you to be more mindful about your health. Maybe you're eating better? Maybe you're being more active? Maybe you are being more consistent overall with taking the steps necessary to be and stay healthy?
You are more focused and productive. Not as many interruptions, conversations with co-workers become more deliberate, meetings have an actual executable outcome.
You have no commute time which means you have time for other things (hopefully not more work).
You've become more independent because you don't have your colleagues just a shout away.
You feel more like yourself. If you are in an open office setting, like myself, you might find it awkward to have those phone conversations with your external clients although it's very much a part of building those relationships.
You can avoid office politics and drama. Hell to the yeah! This is one of my favorite things to mention. Ain't got time fo-dat!
Improved quality of life.
As you know, there is a flip side to everything. Below are some listed disadvantages to working from home and what might actually benefit you by coming back to the office. Honestly, I had a little bit of trouble coming up with these because working from home has been my jam. If you wanna check out the article I used to get the creative juices flowing, it's here.
DISADVANTAGES WORKING FROM HOME
No willpower at home. So now you don't have to be so overwhelmed with staying out of the fridge, day drinking or sneaking in those mid-day naps. You'll be in the office and they'll be watching you.
More structure at work. You won't have to worry about how to divide up your day because you'll be required to clock in and out. "Asses in seats!".
Better energy at work. Let's face it, maybe you don't have a whole lot of stuff going on at home and it's just bleh. The office has a certain buzz to it that keeps you going throughout the day.
Better set up at work. For me, I was able to take almost everything I needed home so the only thing I'm really lacking is the additional desk area for plans to really spread out. Working from home has actually allowed me to work on that and join the younger generation that looks at their plans online.it
Better communication. Sometimes you need an answer right away and waiting for the emailed reply or call back can be more than you can handle so you just walk over and ask your coworker. Just remember, that now before you do that, make sure to grab your mask and try not to go barging into their space as usual. Everyone is handling this pandemic differently and that behavior could heighten their anxiety.
Faster internet. I think this is probably the most inconvenient thing I found as accessing a server remotely through VPN can be very cumbersome, especially when working in a team setting. Are you in the file, not in the file?
The reality is though that for most of these disadvantages, improving communication among everyone involved seems to make most of these go away. Managers can help you prioritize and motivate and by doing so there is a sense of belonging which can make you feel more energized about your responsibilities.
During this shift back to the office, what do you have to look forward to?
If you have already moved back into the office setting from working remotely, what do you miss about the previous set up?
For me, I am dreading the return to the office. I've always worked better on my own schedule and it is disheartening to know that the only reason why we are being called back to the office is because we are being told we can and not because it's in the best interest of the company. A company that is supposed to be employee owned with no consult with the employees in making these decisions.
If you were super high functioning working from home, it's likely not going to be something you can maintain when you get back into the office so don't let your manager make you think it is - there are too many outside influences.
And in circling back to my article from last year, you are most certainly not a machine. Let this be a wake up call to you that your health should be one of your top priorities though and unless you put it there, no one is going to do that for you. Being healthy isn't always about weight-loss, it's about balance too. It's about a healthy immune system because your nutrition is dialed in, you're more active and you are stressing less.
If you think you'd like help keeping all the pieces going during this time in history, my GUIDANCE PLAN is a great place to start for accountability. We will set goals, we will track metrics and we will reach those goals.