There was a time when the prospect of working from the comfort of a bed was an idyllic fantasy, a daydream to be had in between work emails and coffee breaks.

Then COVID happened.

Suddenly millions of folks started working remotely and that fantasy became reality. And the reality is…it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Over several months you start to realize that the bed is lumpy, the technology is slow, and the kids – free from the structure of school and trapped indoors for days at a time – run wild like they’re doing their best  “Lord of the Flies” impression.

In honor of this realization, today we’ll read about some things we miss about working in an office, and some we don’t.

Miss: The Tech

Digital technology has become a necessity for a majority of U.S. jobs, and if you’re working remotely, chances are you’re working on a computer or laptop every day. But unlike the office, where you might’ve had a dual screen and a PC with the latest software, you’re likely working from a single laptop with the processing power of a hamster on a rusty wheel.

Multitasking is more difficult, large files take much longer to download, and hefty programs take ages to load. Without a doubt, office technology is something we can all agree we miss. 

Not So Much: The Commute

Let’s face it, unless your job requires a jumpsuit and 500 laps around Indianapolis — driving stinks. Working remotely has freed many workers from the morning commute, which has saved time, frustration, and a lot of gas money.

There are plenty of things to miss about the office, but the commute is certainly not one of them.

Miss: Amenities

I’ll start of by saying that I’m lucky to work in a place that offers a fitness center, a café, and a game room on-site. I understand that not all workplaces operate like FirstBank. But most places at least have a break room with coffee and a couch.

Even the smallest amenities make the workday a little more pleasant; something you only realize when you start working away from the office and don’t have them anymore.

Not So Much: The Temperature

What do “Ice Road Truckers” and office employees have in common? They both work in sub-zero conditions.  Seriously, office spaces are either too cold or too hot, and employees are often split on which one it is. Even the experts disagree.

Some studies have linked cold temperatures to productivity while other claim the opposite is true. I, for one, am perfectly happy watching the debate from the comfort of my climate-controlled home office.

Miss: Parties, Potlucks, Events, Oh My!

Being at work doesn’t always mean working. From birthdays, to anniversaries and holidays, work spaces are often the setting for free food, fun music, and laughter. While COVID has made these gatherings impossible, it’s still important to connect with your team socially.

Apps such as Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, and Houseparty make it possible to meet and chat with your coworkers safely. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s a nice substitute until it’s time to celebrate making it through this difficult time together.

Not So Much: Elevators

Aside from Thanksgiving dinners with extended family and airplane seats, there are few things as uncomfortable as office elevators.

This may seem like a petty complaint, but hear me out: Imagine being confined in a cramped box full of strangers as you all silently hope that the metal rope holding it all together doesn’t fail and trap you in it for the next several hours. Does that sound like fun? No thanks, I’ll breathlessly take the stairs instead.

Miss: Coworkers

Finally on our list of things to miss from the office, we’ve got our brothers and sisters in arms; our coworkers.

If friends are the family you choose, then coworkers are the friends you get paid to be around.

There’s something special about sharing a common vision facing similar challenges, and working hard to achieve our goals with others. Considering that we spend one-third of our lives working and another one-third sleeping, much of our waking lives we are with colleagues.

Again, COVID has made this impossible, but it hasn’t entirely eliminated it altogether. Virtual tools (like Zoom, Webex, Skype, etc.) help make maintaining healthy work relationships still possible. So use them to stay connected and on track.

Lessons Learned

They say that the grass is always greener on the other side, but times like these remind us that the saying doesn’t always hold true. Sometimes grass is just grass. It’s hard to maintain, it’s expensive to upkeep, and it’s not worth the hassle.

But these last few months have also taught us something else. It’s important to appreciate the current moment, because for better or for worse it could change in an instant.

Now get back to fantasizing about being back at the office…

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