One of the things I never thought I’d miss about going back to the office is the commute and, as it turns out, it’s still something I don’t miss. Sure, I’m only going into the office one day a week, and the drive is only about twenty minutes, so it’s not exactly onerous. It just makes me very aware of time. At home my commute is, well, usually less than a minute. And time is much more flexible when I’m working at home. I’m not skipping out on work but at home if I take a slightly longer lunch it’s no problem to work a little longer in the afternoon to make up time. At work things are a little more rigid. I don’t see people mostly because I’m in a closed office, but if I’m here I’m here to work, which means answering questions. It’s a little harder to get a break because getting a break means I need to be away from my desk. The only way to do that is to get out of the office, and that usually means getting out of the building. I’m still trying to keep my distance from people so I take the stairs and, well, by the time I get down seven flights of stairs it’s pretty much time to head right back up.
Lunch is a little easier, although it’s limited to thirty minutes so, again, a good chunk of the time is taken up with just getting out of the building. It’s certainly better than a place I worked previously where management considered it generous to let us have ten minutes to warm up our food in the break room, and where a supervisor could ambush any of us at any time to let us know about a change in procedures because of course the best possible time and place to give someone complicated instructions is while they’re hungry and in a small room with a microwave running.
I’m also very conscious of the fact that winter is coming, which I don’t mind so much. I just need to practice getting my coat on while I’m walking so I save as much time as possible.
And there are definitely parts of it I like. I like the break in my routine, and the change of scenery. I just wish I had a little more time to enjoy it.
I know what you mean about going back to work. Our entire concept of time changes when we’ve been working from home for the last two years. In my case it was about nine months and I thought I wanted to go back into the office. It turns out I was wrong. I love my new job, but sometimes I just don’t want to go through the routine of putting on makeup, doing my hair, packing my lunch and driving 40 miles into work. But I shouldn’t complain, I’m back in a university setting which is where I thrive. So I’m sure that one day a week will become more routine for you and the rest of the time enjoy working from home.
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I’m like you–I thrive in a university setting, and I’m glad you’re back in one too. Nine months doesn’t seem that long, although I realized that back in 2014 I was out for almost an entire six months, with only a few brief returns to the office. You’re also right–even after just three Mondays back in the office it’s already become a familiar routine. It was really weird stepping back into the office again that first Monday and feeling like I’d never left.
I sometimes find it challenging to switch from the routines and necessities of working in the office one day a week to working at home the rest of the days. One difference is that if I take more than 30 minutes for lunch when I’m at home, only the cats and Michael notice. At the office, I don’t think anybody does.
That’s funny. I think our dogs especially would be most likely to notice if I only took thirty minutes for lunch while I’m at home since so much time is taken up giving them their lunches. At the office at least I only have to worry about my own lunch, but at home I don’t mind taking extra time and having company.