The title of this post might lead you to believe it is a rant about work. It is not. In fact, I am loving every single project I am currently working on, feeling busy, and thisclose to launching an entirely new brand all my own. Work life is pretty great.
But my return to working in an actual office as opposed to working from home has made me realize just how incredibly different the environments are and how much more focus and energy I have when I work from home.
What made me notice? The fact that I needed my first afternoon caffeine fix since October. I never feel slumpy or tired when I work from home!
1. Out of control temperatures – This time of year, this one is huge. I have always worked in offices that managed to be sweltering all winter long and ice boxes in the summer. At my last job, I worked wrapped in a blanket. Forget wearing sandals or sleeveless shirts. Fingers too numb to type interfere with productivity. On the contrary, working from home allows me to open the windows all summer long, basking in the heat. And occasionally turning on the ac. It’s all about my comfort, like it should be, right?
2. Food limitations – Packing food to bring to work is one of my least favorite tasks. Figuring out foods that won’t be soggy or damaged in some way is a pain in the you know what. At home? If I want an omelet for lunch, I whip one up. Fresh salads, smoothies, snacks, my body is immensely happier.
3. Stale air – I may be a bit of a hypochondriac, but I have often thought that the air in offices is just plain bad. A few jobs ago when I saw the maintenance men changing the filter above my desk, which was covered in black mold, that thought was cemented. I feel like the air itself makes workers drowsy.
4. Ringing phones and music – I like noise. I can’t sleep without a fan and/or sound machine, and I listen to my own music all day. But thrust me into a bank of cubicles with various phones ringing and vibrating all day long, and I can’t cope. Especially with the people who leave their cell phone ringers on but just let them ring. Really?
5. Contagious negativity – Camaraderie or Debbie Downers? I feel as though in office culture, complaining leads to more complaining and an overall sense of negativity. Certainly there are those times when it is almost a team building exercise to complain about valid issues, but after being out of it for awhile, I can look back and think about how one person or group’s complaints could quickly invade the entire workplace. At home? I have dance parties when I am stressed or annoyed. Should I be telling the world that? I am generally a lot more positive, and if I have a grievance to air, there’s always Twitter.
6. Bad lighting – I know this one affects me. I have worked in environments with fabulous natural lighting, only to have coworkers who insisted on flicking on the fluorescent overheads. These lights affect me big time, there is no question. They aren’t good for anyone. In the casa? I don’t use lights at all, unless it is night. But it’s after 9 at night, and I am typing this in the dark. I like to be cheap green.
7. Wasted down time – Here’s a big one. While I have certainly worked in jobs where I have been swamped, I never appreciated just how productive I can be until I worked from home. Waiting to hear back from one client? I start on work for another. 20 minutes lull? Throw in some laundry, go for a run, write a blog post. The freedom at home to fill every minute of my day with some sort of task so I can truly enjoy my evenings and weekends is the most blissful thing ever. Spinning in a chair and staring out the window in an office? Not my style. Not even for 5 minutes.
8. Getting dressed up can be so overrated – I get dressed when I work at home. I do. But during the day it usually involves some sort of workout clothing unless I have a meeting or event. Comfy and clean, I eliminate the stress of what to wear and focus on what I need to do that day. When I go to the office? Like a high schooler, I plan my outfit the night before. It’s just too much.
9. Sitting still – Like my mom, I am not one to sit still for long. At my last office, I had a door I could shut, and when my officemate was out, I definitely did downward dogs. I like to move and get up and drink a lot of water and don’t want to have to worry about walking past the same people 30 times a day.
10. Now you tell me why you like or dislike office life. I know some people who would never get a single thing done at home, with the temptation to watch TV or go back to sleep. For the record, I have a no TV rule, exceptions being made for Whitey Bulger’s arrival in Boston. Hey, it’s history.