In the Office
Last updated: Jan 8, 2023
The pandemic ruined a lot of things, brought a lot of hardship, and overall pretty much sucked (or continues to suck?). But one good thing that it gave us was an excellent experiment in working remotely.
Now, not everyone can work remotely, but for those of us with jobs that can be done from locations other than our physical office on site at our company, this experiment has been a wild success. At least, for us employees it has been. For our employers, it seems less like a win. At least, that’s the way it feels based on their behavior. There’s always a little extra pressure under the surface for people to come into the office, it seems.
I’ve landed in a hybrid role, with 2 days in the office and 3 days working remotely. It’s honestly a pretty good rhythm for me, though some weeks i wish I was only working a single day in the office. I just end the day more drained on those days. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s that I find myself having to constantly balance being socially pleasant and task oriented.
It’s also incredibly difficult for me to remain in a “flow” state while in the office. I often get there, but someone walks up to my desk or a co-worker says something from across the room, or sometimes the facilities guy is helping someone find a chair from storage and I basically work from the back of the storage room.
So, for me, working from home is often the most productive way of getting my things done. And now that I have a taste of what that looks like, it’s incredibly difficult for me to not experience my time in the office as compared to that. In the “before times” I was unaware of another way, and now that I know it exists it’s impossible not to see how draining it is to be in the office on the days required.
During the first weeks of the lock down, I heard many extroverts go off the deep end. Which is fair. For an extrovert, lockdown was excruciating. Even for introverts like myself, becasue I’m still human, not having any social contact at all had an adverse affect on me after a while.
But part of me also couldn’t help but think (and say, occasionally) Dear extroverts, what you’re feeling right now is how us introverts feel in the office all the time. The workplace is not set up for introverts, with open office plans and cubes without ceilings or high walls or doors, or even with the expectation of meetings and open door policies for those fortunate enough to have an actual office with a door.
The pandemic gave us a chance to reflect. It gave some breathing room to introverts. At least, that’s what it gave me (along with a respitory disease that knocked me on my ass for 10 days). And now that I know that there is a better way, a way more tailored to how I function at the deepest most basic levels of my being, it’s hard not to feel jaded or stretched or downright hostile to being asked to do it the old way.
All this to say, I’ve come to really appreciate my remote work days. And while I’m not in a hurry to ostricize myself from society completely and become a (permanent) hermit (after all, I do cherish my lunches with my team and some other aspects of being in the same physical room occasionally), I will fight for the ability to continue working separately from people at least part time.
Because fighting for remote work, for me, is fighting for a more productive and happier life.