Work From Home: A Happier, Healthier Employee
If you are or were an office worker with a basic 9 to 5; then kick back, procrastinate that project you have due for the next 10-15 minutes and leave a comment when you’re done reading because this is a relatable topic for you!
Picture it, New Jersey 2018 (yes, I'm a Golden Girls fan and if you didn't get the reference; I suggest some popcorn and multiple nights of Sophia Petrillo....you'll thank me later).
It's 2018, you're fully employed, and the time is 5:30pm on a Tuesday. Where are you?
Well, most of us would answer that we're about to be stuck in rush hour traffic that is about to last as long as Nancy’s, that resides 3 cubicles to left the of yours, story about her youngest child getting pasta stuck in their right nostril; we never know when the end is near, but we pray for it.
Most of us exhausted from work and the commute, have to come home and do endless amounts of tasks before relaxing on the couch or hitting the pillow and then sighing because we didn’t find the time in the day to:
stop at the gym
cook, so we picked up unhealthy take out dinner
get to go to your child, niece, nephew, etc. sports game
make it to lunch with your lifelong friend (sorry Lily, let’s reschedule! I have time now!)
…and the list could go on.
My point being, until the COVID-19 lockdown and the forced work from home for basically all of us that obtained a 9:00am to 5:00pm office job; I never realized the number of hours I was losing in my day simply commuting to and from work even when I had a job I loved going to.
Yes, I do absolutely miss the office environment and I did find small pleasure in hearing Nancy’s “here’s how my kids drove me insane” daily saga but working in an office 2-3 days a week and the rest at home could be an option that we never thought possible because of the circumstances we had to endure and adapt to when the pandemic hit. Can we have our cake and eat it too? (Always, you just order 2 slices of cake, but that’s beside the point!)
Here’s what I’ve gained in today’s world post-pandemic by still working from home:
1. Waking up happier and healthier. I don’t have to rush my morning by showering, getting dressed, sometimes forgetting to brush my hair, making breakfast, running back into the house because I forgot something, etc. and then hitting the morning traffic to the office. Here’s my morning routine now: Wake up, take vitamins, go to the gym, shower, make and eat breakfast while checking work emails and making sure my brothers are up for virtual school, blasting my music while I get projects done for clients. Check in on my brother’s while they’re doing virtual school and sometimes have lunch together on days that our lunch times collide. And the rest of my day is history.
I am not only having time to dedicate to being healthier physically, but mentally as well because of this convenience of working from home. Mental awareness and nurturing needs to be top of mind and making time to aide one’s mental health must be a crucial importance in everyone’s day. Any individual person and any company will be better for it.
2. More productivity. On top of all this newfound me time, I’m more productive with my projects for work! If I’m bored, I will catch myself logging on to finish a project or respond to an email. Sometimes I’ll continue working after hours while I cook dinner. Talk about unintentionally overachieving due to convenience.
Not only am I more productive, but I’ve gotten lunch with family and friends that I never knew I could partner with or service professionally. I’m actually making more business connections then I was before through my own personal network. Hello boss, isn’t this great?
3. Pajama Pants. Have you been on a Zoom or Microsoft Teams video meeting where your pet has walked across the screen, child has walked in yelling or had to sit on your lap, or had your significant other/roommate do something in the background not realizing they’re on camera? Ever wear your pajama pants and a more formal top on a virtual meeting and then accidently stand up? (Don’t lie, Joe from HR – I saw those Pokémon sweats!)
How did that go over for you? Did it act as a natural ice breaker ending up in the prospect, client, boss, etc. laughing or forming a genuine conversation because of it?
Whether it be prospecting or a company virtual meeting, these at home situations have brought my team more together and have allowed for a purer connection with some prospects. You’re essentially bringing these people into your home life and it’s a different level of business that I wish had always existed.
We are in a world that needs more of this. More genuineness. More raw connection.
4. Time. I have gained time back in my weekly day. Time for myself, time for the people in my life and also time to be more productive and thorough with my work.
I’ve heard many a time that we have to make the most of our time. I now realize that I wasn’t doing that sitting at a desk in an office cubical 3 rows down from Nancy and not traveling while working in different states as long as there was internet!
To be honest with you, reader – I could go on and on about what I’ve gained in present time due to this new work from home ethic, but what’s the major difference? I’m happier, I’m healthier (mentally and physically), I have time back, I’m making more connections with family, friends and co-workers.
When were we ever available to make lunch plans with a friend? We weren’t and if we did, we had to rush because we had to be back in exactly 45 minutes! I’ve seen more of my 500 cousins (not exaggerating, I come from a LARGE Middle Eastern/Italian family) then I have ever before, and I am benefitting from it.
I have time for ME. When was the last time that anyone who has a fulltime career has genuinely said this? Let me tell you, I never have. I now have the time to wake up, work out, cook a healthier meal for me and my family (sorry, McDonalds - we are breaking up. I’ve found someone new, and they’re called the Food Network Recipes App).
Let’s go back to the office, but let’s give options: 2-3 days a week, choose your days. Let’s give people their lives back and see how companies will benefit from this.
Ok – your turn. Now what are your thoughts?
Warmly, A Happier, Healthier Employee
Disclaimer: Just a reminder that this article is about present time. This is a response to the current work from home implementations that were enforced because of the pandemic and how they’ll be utilized going forward. Everyone can leave their homes, businesses have opened back up, kids are back to school, daycare, camp, etc. This is not a reflection of life throughout the COVID-19 lockdown pandemic. I know that throughout the pandemic when everything including schools were closed, it was more than difficult especially for parents to manage virtual school and work; I was one of you (sister acting as step in parent).