It has been an exciting week around here. And I mean that in a sarcastic sense. Luffy’s been ridiculously busy at work, the dumpling has been working on mobility, and I… well I’ve just been trying to make sure we all the leave the house with pants on*.
On of my coworkers (the only other female professional at our firm) is leaving. There are no hard feelings, just life and opportunities and little things like seeing her husband everyday are taking her away from the DFW area. Apparently, I paved the way for her as our partners actually entertained talks of her telecommuting. It’s been going well with me, so they were willing to give it a shot for her. That’s not going to happen (for a few reasons), but I was a little proud to have laid the groundwork.
Now that I’ve been working from home part time for over six months now, I can tell you that there are a few perks to working from an office that get overlooked:
- Regularly interacting with humans who don’t require you to change their diaper. 10/10 would recommend. The dumpling’s not at home with me during the day, but then again, neither is anyone else. I highly recommend getting out of the house on occasion to go talk to other adults.
- Free air conditioning. I know that we all complain that our offices are meat lockers (because I could have started an icicle farm there yesterday), but in the midst of a warm and muggy summer, free air conditioning ain’t a bad deal. If I want my home office cooler, I have to pay for it. One other perk of ridiculously cold offices: mosquito bites and poison ivy rashes get numbed by the cold. Things are much itchier at home.
- Free snacks and drinks. The snacks part is really not that great because it just further delays me from my weight loss goals. However, the drinks part! My office stocks Le Croix in four flavors, diet Coke and Dr. Pepper, and assorted sodas, coffee, and teas. My home office stocks none of this and I blame the lazy office admin around here. Getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth.
- Killing time with coworkers. Re: number one up there. Working from home has made me realize just how much time is wasted each day by simply talking with coworkers. There’s no idle chitchat at my home office. At my other office though, stopping by to ask a question could veer off into a thirty minute conversation about driving pet peeves. True story.
- Seriously, getting to know your coworkers. I know half of these involve them, but it’s so true. There really is not idle chitchat between myself and my coworkers when I’m not there. So all of those little tidbits you pick up (John is thinking about backpacking through Europe next year) and life story arcs (Joe is buying a house), you don’t get any of that when you don’t physically work in the same place. The female coworker I mentioned above, she started a week or so before I went on maternity leave, so I really haven’t physically worked next to her for long. I realized yesterday that I have no idea what her husband does for a living – not even remotely (like I know Will’s wife is a teacher). No clue.
- Getting ready in the morning. Now I admit that part of this is just a given now that I have a child (and will always and forever at-least-for-the-next-18-years be actively trying to get another person ready in the morning as well). I don’t take time to get ready anymore, and part of “getting ready” is self-care. For instance, I don’t put on my moisturizer very much any more. It has SPF 30 in it and means that I go without sunblock on my face for a good portion of the week now. Tsk tsk. I don’t put on nice clothes very much anymore – it’s all shorts and t-shirts. Which is great! Comfortable! Easy! Except that most people take me a lot more seriously in my work attire. In shorts and a tee, I look like a college student (at best).
- Diet control. I know! I know. You’re thinking, Belle, what does working in an office have to do with your diet??? Peer pressure, my friends. Peer pressure and planned meals. You see, at the office, the only food I have available to me is the food I brought (which means I thought about it and purposefully packed so totes healthy) and the aforementioned office snacks. I have set myself up at the office as being the healthy eater. If anyone wants to lose weight, I 100% recommend doing this because now I feel like EVERYONE watches what I eat. Someone is always bound to mention it if I’m not eating broccoli that day (because I always eat broccoli). If we are celebrating a birthday with cake, someone will always make a joke that they’re gonna have cake while I eat my yogurt (which then means I feel soooo guilty even thinking about taking a piece of cake). Seriously – coworker expectations plus my own guilt equals the best diet around. At my home office though, not only is there no one around to watch me eat a second or third handful of chips, I am also in close proximity to my fridge and pantry and all the delicious things in them.
In looking back over my list here, the biggest thing is my coworkers. It all boils down to being very isolated while working from home. It’s something you don’t really think about when drooling over the prospect of working from home, but there it is. I think the half and half deal I have going on right now is pretty perfect, the best of both worlds, if I may bust out the cliches on you. Just enough time at the office to interact and connect with my peers and just enough time away to actually enjoy my life.
* Ok, confession time. The dumpling doesn’t ever leave the house in pants, that poor baby. In my defense, this is the one time in his life where it’s perfectly acceptable for him to appear in public sans pants and I want him to enjoy it to the fullest.