It’s been four months since we told everybody to work from home, and I’m happy to say that we’re letting folks back into the office. We’ll be taking precautions – checking temperatures, requiring masks, and practicing social distancing – but everyone will have the option to come in when they need or want to. They’ll also have the option to keep working from home. And from what I’ve heard, a lot of us will be happy to keep doing so. After all, four months is a lot of time to forge new routines.
We have PACOs cooking more, exercising more, and spending more time outside. One has taken the opportunity to learn the flute; another to start growing tomatoes in his yard; and another went on a plant buying spree in an apparent effort to turn her home into a jungle. No commute means everyone has a bit more time to sleep (assuming the kids allow it) and a time zone difference means one of us also gets to spend a couple hours at the pool before the day starts. And the pets love it.
Of course there have been some frustrations too. For starters, we just miss seeing each others’ faces. And some of us might see a bit too much of others – a home office can get crowded fast when you are sharing limited space with the same person 24/7. Wearing sweats every day got old for a couple PACOs. Nearby construction was a headache for a couple more. And speaking of pets, helplessly watching your new puppy micturate on the rug while you’re on a client call is pretty rough.
As for me, working from my backyard office means I keep getting asked if I’m in Michigan. I’m not, but with beautiful blue skies in the background and a fan-enhanced breeze going I can understand why folks might think so. And sometimes it almost feels like it; since the weather got nice enough for me to start working out here, I’ve seen birds that I never noticed before and got the chance to say thanks to an otter I found eating some weeds a couple times.
The good news is, with the office open again we can have the best of both worlds. At least until it gets cold again. But we’re Chicagoans! Nobody in the world is better equipped to avoid cabin fever.