As the summer of 2020 approached us, the 3 words that scared me the most were “work from home”. I never imagined myself to be even close to someone who enjoyed work from home life. To be honest, I was really discouraged to hear that my last internship at college would be from my old high school desk in my family’s cramped office. The big offices, the meeting rooms, the morning coffee dates with colleagues really excited me - and played a big factor into which companies I applied to. But at the end of the day, COVID-19 screamed for a spot on center stage and pushed all of our expectations for this summer behind the curtain.
If you’re about to start a remote job - or think that one is in your future - I’m here to tell you what it’s actually like. The good things, the bad things, and the things no one talks about. If you’re like me and you’ve worked a remote job, hopefully you find these things relatable and amusing.
Work From Home is so Much More Relaxed
Before COVID-19, did you ever wonder why some people preferred to work from home? Why did some people ask their manager for more flexibility to work both from the office and from home? While family reasons and logistics can factor into this, a more relaxed and less stressful routine motivates people to want to work from home.
Think about it. Let’s say you commute into the city for your job. If you’ve had a long Sunday night and you’re heading to sleep for your 9-5 on Monday morning, you’re free to wake up any time before 9 a.m. No more commuting, no more pulling your hair out that you have to walk past your boss’s office 10 minutes late because your train wasn’t on time. Or if you have a high-stress, client-facing job that requires you to meet clients at their own office locations, there’s no more worrying about finding transportation, getting there on time, or having a comfortable workspace. The only thing to stress over is whether or not your Zoom meeting will load (and trust me, we’ve all had our fair share of fails with Zoom. It’s part of the process). Overall, your work from home life will take away all the extra stress from heavy workloads and travel.
Your Wallet Will Thank You
Asking for a friend on this one. When I had my first internship outside of Boston, I was starry-eyed at everything there was to spend money on. The coffee, the lunches, the tours of Fenway park, the high-end gyms - you name it. While these things are all a part of the city-life experience (and they’re so fun, don’t get me wrong), you will save so much money by working from home. The $5 Starbucks coffee you used to buy on your way into the office turns into your Keurig you use for your morning fuel. The overpriced gym membership you pay for turns into free at-home workouts that are just as effective. I’m not saying to not go out and have a night on-the-town when you can (as long as you’re safe!), but limiting these excursions to only a few times a month will go a long way if you’re someone who’s trying to save money.
You Spend a lot of Quality Time With Your Computer and Your Desk
I hope I didn’t surprise you with this one. There’s no getting around the desk-bound nature of a WFH job. This is true even for in-person jobs, but there’s something about sitting at our desk in our own home that leaves us feeling stiff and tired. We don’t have our pod or cubicle, we don’t have our fancy meeting rooms, our cafeteria, our basic forms of human interaction. This can be really hard to look past for some people when considering a WFH job. Socializing with others and being stimulated by a new place can help people be more productive and produce good work. If this sounds like you, make it a habit to schedule meetings with colleagues during the day to chat about your career, life, basically anything! These can be colleagues you already have a relationship with or someone you haven’t met yet but have been itching to learn more about. Splitting up your day to talk with others can really help recharge your mind to improve your focus to get through the work day. And of course, don’t forget to stand up from your desk and take active breaks!
Everyone is a lot more focused on your well-being
With everything going on in the world, it’s becoming difficult to start a conversation with someone and not ask “how are you doing?” While some people like working from home, for others this is a non-negotiable decision. Working from home and balancing your personal life is hard - and your manager knows this. I noticed during my remote internship that I had a lot more check-ins with my team than I had at any other internship or job. If you’ve been working at a job that’s very focused on output rather than employee wellbeing, odds are your management is finally taking a step back to check on how its people are doing. If you’re someone that cares about frequent check-ins and building a personal relationship with your manager, there’s probably no better time than to make a relationship than now.
Overall, WFH has its ups and downs, but it’s important to focus on the bright side since it’s definitely here to stay for some time. If you’re starting a new WFH job soon, what do you think? Are you nervous, anxious, excited? Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve already wrapped up your remote job. If so, do you think these points are true? What are some of your thoughts? Let me know on Instagram @ashleyguertin. I’d love to hear from you!