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Prior to the current pandemic, there were millions of people telecommuting or working from home. Since early 2020, though, millions more were forced to work from home. Everyone accepted this change in workplace because it was better than the alternative: losing their jobs. Millions of people ran home to set up their workplaces and get cracking, excited to be working from home, safe from the virus and free from a soul-crushing commute every day. The excitement for many started to fade after three weeks, and that previous exuberance for the new normal turned to disdain and loathing. They quickly found out why working from home is the worst.
When you go to the office day after day, a routine sets in. That routine consists of a beginning and an end to the day. When you work from home, the day never ends; it’s perpetual, and you never leave the office. Now you literally live at the office, not just metaphorically. That messes with your head big-time. Even if you don’t answer any calls, emails, or texts after 5:00 p.m., you still feel like you’re at work. Getting to the end of the day and going home gives you something to look forward during the tenth meeting of the day. Now that hope has been stolen.
If you are working from home, you are dealing right now with tons of major, insurmountable distractions. Anyone with kids in the house while trying to get some work done knows they are awful. A never-ending barrage of questions, demands, and accidents makes it impossible to hold a thought in your head, let alone host a conference call. Send them outside and lock the doors whenever possible.
It’s okay to miss the office and your little 10x10 section of it. Companies today invest a lot of money to make sure their employees are comfortable by getting ergonomically correct furniture and desks. This leads us to a significant reason why working from home is the worst: the home office you’ve set up is probably a rigid wooden chair at the dining room table. Those are designed for 60 minutes of sitting at a time, max. It’s science.
Going to the office at least gave us all a reason to shower, brush our teeth and hair, and change clothes. Sitting in the house all day has eliminated the need for that basic maintenance. If you’re sitting at home alone, no one is there to tell you that you need a good scrubbing. If you’re married or in a cohabitating relationship, well, it’s pretty much the same thing—no one cares. We all need a reason to groom ourselves, and one more is gone.
Work is an amazing playground of free things. Free snacks, free breakfast, free coffee that someone else makes, free internet, free phone calls, and free toilet paper. The recent toilet paper shortage is most likely because people who waited to get to work to do their “business” realized they don’t have any supplies in their house. The work-from-home crowd is spending a fortune on things that they are used to getting for free. And it sucks.
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