I Don’t Like Working From Home
Here’s why I’m happier at the office
With the current situation, there has been a lot of talk worldwide about working from home. Although not possible for every profession, some of us are fortunate and have the opportunity to keep working from home during the pandemic.
Some jobs don’t require to be there physically for the person to do what they have to do. I have an office job. I can do all I need to do from my computer, on my desk, in my apartment.
I completely agree that we should take the necessary measures to ensure that everyone stays healthy. I also respect people that have a preference towards working from home rather than coming to the office, even before the pandemic, whatever their reasons are.
But to be honest, I find it difficult to do my job as well as I would when I’m alone at home. And I’m just less happy. Here’s why.
It’s harder to keep your lives separate
When you have to actually go to work, there is always a separation. Either you’re at work or your not. Even if you have your emails on your phone or a WhatsApp group with your colleagues, there is still a difference.
When you work from home, it’s harder to differentiate the moment you’re at home from the moment you’re at work. I have my computer in my living room, on the same desk I have my home computer. Sometimes when my day’s over, I will stay literally on the same chair because I have things to do on my computer.
When I’m at the office, and I have a frustrating day, I know I will have my fifteen minutes bike ride to calm down. When I come home after that, I can move on and go on with my day.
I once had a very frustrating day working from home. I had to finish working later than expected. A few minutes after my workday was over, I had a virtual meet with a friend. I brought all my frustration to this virtual coffee meet, and it wasn’t great. I’d had neither the time nor the opportunity to cool off.
It’s also true the other way around. Sometimes I have issues at home, and I like the idea of changing my focus towards work and forget those home problems for the day. But when working from home, I can’t do that.
It becomes all business with the colleagues
When at the office, I have many occasions to socialize with the people around. We can have coffee breaks or lunches where we can discuss anything and get to know each other more deeply.
If I’m working from home, my only interactions with the people from work become emails, meetings, or calls that are given with a specific purpose in mind. There is no small talk anymore. There is no occasion to ask someone what’s up and to deepen our relationships.
I say it’s all business, but I consider that paying attention to the emotions and the mood of the room is part of the business. And that becomes so much harder when you’re in your apartment alone. There is no way to see at someone’s face that something is wrong, no way to ask them how they’re doing, and if you can help.
You can’t have those run-ins with people where, by chance, you discuss some work issues and find out that you can help each other. You can’t overhear people talking in the room about something where you can help, but they didn’t know you could help.
There is no way to have a subtle discussion with someone with who you have a tense relationship. No way to have a supposedly random run-in where you can discuss some sensitive topic and try to work towards solving the issue.
Now you have to be more official about everything. The fun part of human interaction is not as fun anymore.
My solutions to keep up
I can’t change the ways things are. Nowadays working from home is so good for health reasons that we have to take advantage of it if we can.
What I try to do is create more interaction with my coworkers. I give more information when I can because I know there won’t be a random way for people to get the information.
I try to have more talks with my colleagues, about life and all, so that we don’t lose the relationship that we’ve built over time. I try to make sure I always know how they feel. And since I can’t just see it, I make a point to ask about it.
The way we work is changing, and we’ll have to make a conscious effort not to lose some of the human part of it along the way.