I’ve been a proud remote worker since early 2020. First by force, with the pandemic onset, and then by choice when I took a role with a new company later that year.
I love working from my home. I know some people who feel like I do and cannot imagine their work-life any other way. I also know some people that lose their mind at the thought of it because they need to be in an office, or they need to be anywhere BUT home to work.
Despite my adoration of working from home, there are indeed some tradeoffs. Nothing so big that it makes me rethink my work situation, but notable enough, I’ve had to instill new habits to ensure I am always feeling like my best self.
1. Cabin Fever
I live in the most adorable, miniaturized studio apartment, with tiny furniture that makes tall visitors feel like they are in an Alice in Wonderland scenario. It brings me joy, it brings me peace, and as a remote worker, it can also bring me cabin fever! To prevent cabin fever attacks, I try to get out every morning for a run or a walk, but some days that doesn’t happen.
If I have too many “doesn’t happen” days in a row, I get all jittery and agitated with a cabin fever attack. To thwart an episode, I’ll make it a point to walk to the local convenience store a block and a half away to get a fountain soda just to feel the sun and fresh air. Plus, the lady who works there always addresses all customers as “baby” or “beautiful,” so I don’t mind that, either.
2. Less Naturally-occurring Social Interaction
Working from home means I no longer have unplanned moments of social interaction with coworkers. Gone are my days of hallway-passerby conversations, having a quick girl chat when you happen to be in the bathroom at the same time, or connecting with a coworker while walking out to your car at the end of the workday. I have to be intentional and thoughtful about social interaction and creativity.
Now I have good morning chats while I am getting ready for the day and a coworker is driving into the office, I have virtual lunch with others, and once a month I hop on an early morning virtual call with a coworker. We catch up while we are doing our makeup together. Still social, just more intentional.
3. People Questioning if I’m Really Working
This one ticks me off. Let’s be clear: Yes, I am working. Remote workers are working. What makes you think we aren’t?! What about being physically present in an office building that some people make grandiose presumptions that you are productive? In contrast, if you are working out of your home, you are lazy.
If you work from home and get this grief, you will understand why this one makes me growl like a pre-hissing cat. I am wildly productive working from my house, and I love pushing myself in my own space. Presuming a remote worker is not working sans evidence reflects an observer’s bias that needs to be checked at the door. End rant.
4. Forgetting to Honor What Brings Me Joy
Anyone who knows me knows I love fashion and makeup and taking my sweet-girly time to enjoy getting ready in the morning, all while enjoying the Today show. When you work from home, it’s very easy to get lazy and sloppy with what you wear, and I started to notice that being lazy and sloppy was bringing me down. Hardcore. Fashion is my passion, and I can’t neglect it, even when I am home alone, and people only see me from the chest up.
I’ve made an effort to be more playful with makeup, hair, and outfits, as I feel like being home brings me a safety zone to play more like my own sandbox. I need to honor what brings me joy, and dressing up for ME matters and makes me feel like my best self.
All in all, I love working from home. I am more productive in my own space, I avoid a commute, and I am my best self.