If you’ve been working from home, are you going back in? Is your company expecting people to start coming back into the office?
It’s been reported that one in three professionals who work from home plan to quit if they’re called back into the office. Interesting, right?
We don’t have guidance on this yet. All we know is that we’re working from home through June. That is creeping up on us fairly quickly, on the order of a school term. This is why I think it’s a good idea to plan now.
Do you love what you’re doing or are you just hanging on because this is a scary time to be out of work?
Did you love your commute, or... did you not love your commute?
If you could keep your job and live anywhere in the country (or possibly the world), where would you go? Anywhere? Or just stay put?
If the thought of driving back in makes you break out in hives, what are you going to do about it?
Are you finally going to hire a professional to update your resume and start looking for something new? Are you going to go into business for yourself?
Are you going to use any of your accrued vacation time?
Do you still fit in your work clothes? I know I don’t fit in mine! Goodbye, work pajamas, it’s been lovely...
I’m definitely planning to stay put with my current company. Since my husband and I work for the same employer, even in the same building, it would make sense for us to ride in together.
Would it, though?
We haven’t owned a vehicle in four years. This makes the question more transparent for us than it is for most people. Is this job “worth” a car payment, insurance, maintenance, and all the rest?
There is one advantage to having a daily commute, and that is, if you plan it carefully, you can block off that time to do specific things and get them off your list. My version of this image would be my husband driving while I order grocery delivery, work on my tech newsletter, and process email.
Perhaps that differs from his version? Maybe he doesn’t want to be my chauffeur?
What will probably happen, if we’re both called in to work physically inside the building, which is bonkers and makes no sense, what will probably happen is that I’ll buy an electric bicycle and ride that in.
Why? Three reasons.
In the past I would have planned to take the city bus. Now that there’s COVID, I would only do that if I had some kind of astronaut helmet. It’s not just COVID I’m worried about, it’s the entire category of airborne respiratory infections. I read up on the subject back in 2018 and discovered that bus riders are something like 6x more likely to pick up the common cold. I’m sorry, but after the lung scarring I got from COVID I am simply not interested in even the mildest form of sniffles.
This is the sort of thing that more people should probably be thinking about, but probably are not.
Are you just going to shrug and go back to the same commute you always had? Or are you going to use this opportunity to rethink your default?
Are you going to go back to the same schedule you always had, the one where you never get enough sleep and you never have time to work out and you constantly feel like you’re running to keep up with laundry and chores?
Or are you going to try for something different this time?
Are you going to eat the same eleven things, sometimes skip breakfast or eat lunch over your desk?
Or are you ready to shake that up?
Are you assuming you can wear the same work wardrobe you did a year ago, or are you going to go in there and try stuff on like I did and discover that that isn’t really going to work?
Personally I’m going to shoot for working from home permanently. I don’t see adding a commute to the day as adding any real value. At my work, a number of things that I currently do would be less efficient, or actively impossible, to do in a physical room rather than virtual. I don’t think it would be a hard sell.
Just in case, though, I’m forming a parallel mental track. There’s a future version of myself wearing trousers and actual shoes, walking the halls of a building and trying to be efficient despite the 18th-century issues of the “modern” workplace.
I’d like that future version of myself to be having fun and making money.
If necessary, I’d also like that future version of myself to get a fresh start with fresh new habits. There’s a narrow window of “fresh start” opportunity whenever we make a dramatic change, and I want to take advantage of it.
Am I going in to work? Not sure yet. If I do, I want it to feel like a good idea.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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