It’s been a while since I’ve dropped a post, hasn’t it? To be honest, it’s been hard to find the motivation to write. To be sure, I’ve been lucky during this pandemic. Our firm’s shift to work from home has been nothing short of seamless. Aside from setting up a temporary work area, to a then in essence a permanent work area (once realization set in that this was not a short-term event), my professional life has been very stable throughout this time.
But life had still become very different. But different doesn’t always mean bad. I thought I would take stock of the things that have been positive about work-from-home in a pandemic.
- The Commute. It can’t be beat. Even though I had a 2.5 mile commute to the physical office before, I can sleep in an extra half hour more than before and still get to work about 30 minutes early, without even breaking a sweat. If I need to put in some extra time, getting to the office early is really easy. And did I mention; no pressure to snow shovel?
- The Co-Workers. Never has our family spent this much time together, and never will we have the chance again. With an 18 and 16 year old, we are close to being somewhat empty nesters. While it took an adjustment for everyone dealing with four people in the house all the time, either telecommuting or zooming into school, my poor wife who already worked from home in the first place must have felt like a displaced refugee. But it has all worked out. And even though my ‘real’ office colleagues sometimes hear French horn clearly in the background, this is family time we were not going to get had it not been for this virus.
- The Lunch Hour. I have always packed my lunch, since I was a summer intern. But I don’t exactly like doing it. Now I can just waltz over to the fridge at noon. Plus, since it started getting dark very early in the evenings, my wife and I can take a quick walk together over the lunch break.
- The Three O’clock Pushups. When the gyms closed, everyone had to adapt their exercise routines. I found myself needing to get my pulse moving a little to get over the afternoon doldrums. Because it is so easy to snack, I thought that I should do some pushups for that little burst. I started modestly, around 35 to start, and I did it 3-4 times a week. Since we were only going to be home a few weeks (we all thought) I started adding one pushup a week if I could. I can do 60+ pretty easily now.
- The Grill. We have always tried to eat as a family when we can, and with the kids’ sports and activities that has meant eating earlier than most folks. Like at 5. As my work day has been 7:30 – 4:30 for many years, I always had tried to help cook when I got home from work in the past. But with my new office location, I can now do more. My wife hates to grill, but I like it. So, I can stroll out and start preheating our grill right at 4:30, go back to work for a few minutes, and then throw the meal on when it is ready. By 5 PM, Soup’s On!
- The Five O’clock Traffic. Since the kids were little, I have tried my best to respect the family dinner. Even before, if I had to put in a little extra time at the office, I would come home, eat with them, and since we live so close, I could literally be back in the office by 6 o’clock. This is even easier to do now. As I write this, dinner is done, and I have just wondered back into the home office to tinker. At a certain point in the evening, I try to “turn it off”. The line may be a little blurrier now, but I am working on it.