do you miss your office?

We often think of working from home as a perk (you can work in sweats! with a cat in your lap!), but with so many people switching to remote work because of Covid, lots of them have discovered they don’t much like it.

Part of that is because of the circumstances, of course: we’re in the middle of a highly stressful crisis with no timeline for its end, and lots of people are trying to juggle child care along with work. But some of it is that people just aren’t liking working from home full-time as much as they thought they would.

Do you miss your office? Are you surprised by your reaction to working from home? Are you sick of working in your kitchen and overhearing all your spouse’s calls? Let’s discuss the dark side of working from home in the comments.

{ 847 comments… read them below }

  1. ElizabethJane*

    If I didn’t have a three year old also at home I think I’d like it more. Or a different house. I don’t mind the solitude and I love the flexibility but my current set up leaves much to be desired. If I’d have planned for a work from home job (and we weren’t in a pandemic) I think I’d like it more.

    1. katy*

      I totally agree – if my house were set up for all three of us to work from home full time, it would be a lot better. But when you can’t go to a cafe or anywhere else, it’s hard with everyone home on top of each other. A lot of what I used to like about my job was traveling and meetings with clients, so all of that is gone now. I don’t love the office, but some variety would sure be nice.

      1. AVP*

        This really resonates with me – I was WFM before the pandemic and don’t miss having an office at all, but I desperately miss going to coffee shops and my co-working space and the occasional client office. Turns out just getting outside was an important part of my work ritual, and now I have no reason to!

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Yup, I too was full time WFH pre-COVID, and the inability to just go somewhere, anywhere else during the day like I used to suuuuucks. I still wouldn’t want to go back into anyone’s office anytime in the future, but man, do I miss (briefly) interacting with people other than my coworkers and family during work hours.

          1. Emdash Enthusiast*

            Same same. I’ve been WFH for more than a decade, but now with no coffeehouse meaning no change of scenery, nothing easy about a quick dip out to do errands, and a sidelined creative endeavor meaning no fun distraction, I feel like I’ve become a fusspot like I never was before.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            It’s ridiculous really how much I’ve gotten to like taking the dump run on a long lunch once a week. Saturdays there are lines of cranky people and many who get too close… Wednesdays there are conversations from opposite sides of cars and dumpsters.

        2. Liz*

          I found I actually enjoy walking; where I hated it before. But just being able to get out and walk at lunch or after work really helps me a lot! i get pissy in fact when its raining or like all summer when the weather was way too hot!

        3. iliketoknit*

          My current job doesn’t lend itself to working anywhere other than home or office (security issues), but in a previous life I used to work in coffeeshops a LOT, and I missed that even before covid! It makes a lot of difference in the day.

    2. regular reader, rare commenter*

      My now-4-year-old has been back in daycare about a month now (and 6-year-old back in school) and I like WFH way better now that it’s just me solo. It really does make a difference when you aren’t constantly being pulled away from work to deal with your kids.

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        My kid is back in daycare too – and strangely I am doing more driving now than if I worked from the office. Daycare is near my work so I have to drive out there and back twice a day, rather than just once if I was in the office. But, sweatpants and I can do laundry while home, so there are perks.

    3. Businessfish*

      Every day it is that video from a few years ago of the professor giving a live TV interview where his 2 kids bust in and then his spouse army crawls in to extract the kids shut the door.

    4. BridgeNerdess*

      Same here. It was great when I was working from home and my kids were in daycare/camp. Now I have a kindergartener and a second grader who are 100% online and it’s no fun. For anyone involved. They don’t understand “important” and will pester me while on the phone. Meltdowns, loud noises, all normal kid stuff but it makes it really hard for me to work. I’m tech support and tutor, while managing a small remote team and responding to clients. I’m working odd hours to catch up, taking calls and meetings through Teams on my phone. I’m frustrated and short with my kids. I feel like I don’t get a break. I’m “on” from the moment the kids wake up until they go to bed, then I have to play catch up.

      Basically, it feels like I’m failing everyone. I’m dropping balls at work and I’m not the patient, helpful mom I want to be. When all this is over, I will need a serious vacation to decompress.

      1. Penthesilea*

        I so feel you on this. My kids are old enough that the virtual school thing is going pretty well, but dealing with the stresses and frustrations of work in front of an audience makes everything harder. My kids know a lot more about my work stresses than they did six months ago! The mixture of them into my workday has just doubled the frustration level because I can’t get away to vent to a coworker, even on the phone.

    5. Happy Pineapple*

      The only company I have is my cat, and even for someone introverted like myself it can get really lonely. I loved it for a little while in the beginning, I was desperately unhappy and had cabin fever for the next few months, and now I think I’ve accepted it as the new normal. I do love the flexibility, but also miss the motivation and separation of work and home life that comes with having a routine.

    6. Jane*

      A different house definitely would make things better. I live in a tiny apartment, a lifestyle choice to free up money for travel and hobbies, but not at all suitable for WFH. No study/spare room, and I’ve had to purchase a desk and install it about one meter from my bed. When all this is over, I’m going to appreciate the physical separation between work and home so much more.

    7. Kelli*

      I miss my office since I am such an extrovert. I need to see and interact with people. Yea I have my family here but the office atmosphere is different. I’ve been at my company for 11 years and essentially could work at home when I wanted and was doing one maybe two days a week from home. Being thrust into employee, teacher along with chef, mom, wife and all the other titles we hold…I’m exhausted. I also miss my commute which was my decompress time.

  2. 867-5309*

    I don’t miss going to the office everyday but do miss being there sometimes. There is more energy when collaborating with colleagues – do you know how difficult it is to white board on video?! I also miss the side chats, walking to get a coffee and so forth.

    We’re going to return just two days a week when appropriate to do so and I think that’s the right amount.

    1. Julianna*

      I agree with this—I actually love working from home, the only point of the office was the collaborative environment. But I do miss being able to collaborate with my coworkers.

      Once we do go back, I definitely want to try a wfh/office split.

      1. Hazel*

        I agree about wanting a WFH/office split, too, and I never thought I would feel that way! I used to work from home a lot, so when we first started having to work from home, I didn’t love it. At all. I was, however, grateful that I could continue working and earning an income, but then I got laid off. I got a new job, and I really like my new colleagues, and I appreciate that just about everyone turns on their camera when we have meetings. It helps me get to know who’s who. Now that I finally have a good setup at home (comfortable seating, second monitor, good lighting, etc.), I’m getting used to working at home, and I actually don’t hate it. It’s nice to avoid commuting/get more sleep when I need to. But I’m an extrovert, so I really need to be around people, and I get a lot out of being with coworkers in the office, so I’ll appreciate that when it’s possible.

        1. Betho*

          I’ve been doing a WFH/in person split since May and I really like it. WFH days would be even better if I didn’t have to help kids with school in the mornings. But I can sleep in a little and wear comfy clothes on WFH days, I try to schedule most meetings with outside people on WFH days and work on focused projects in the afternoons (when I’m not teaching my kid). When I WFH all the time in the spring I was getting bored and depressed, but a lot of this was Covid anxiety.

          On in-person days I have a really long commute but also get more exercise walking around at work, am really busy, I interact with my trainees, and have in person outdoor meetings with my main collaborators. I troubleshoot things in person or look up paper files that I don’t have access to at home. I get home late and am physically tired and tired of wearing a mask but the change of scenery is really helpful. I love the balance.

    2. Legal Beagle*

      I’m with you. I switched jobs (same employer, different team, different area of practice) 3 months into working from home and the transition has not been the easiest. While I knew most people on my team socially already and everyone is available by IM (and phone if necessary), I wish I were able to just pop into someone’s office for a question. Simple requests to my assistant seem like such a hassle or burden because they come off as demanding over email, no matter how much I try to soften the language. I find myself having to be really careful with my messages because some of my coworkers don’t know me and my sense of humour that well. The team meetings, which I find usually fun, are such a drag because there’s no energy.

      I don’t miss my commute at all but seeing humans once or twice a week (and being able to buy lunch!) would be fantastic.

    3. Amykins*

      Yeah definitely this. I quite like working from home (I get SO much time back not having to commute, saving a decent amount of money because its easy to make lunch during lunchtime and harder to pack a lunch in advance so usually I went with takeout at work, my fiance is quite delightful to be around and we don’t get sick of each other and are surrounded by our fur family all day), but my coworkers are pretty awesome people and I do miss occasionally stopping by someone’s desk to wrestle with a problem, and we had treats and parties on a pretty regular basis and it was nice to just socialize with them sometimes.

      1. Quiet Liberal*

        I love WFH, too. I am set up in our family room that, since our kids have left home, we never use. It’s a good separation of work and home. My job is nearly 100% online and I never left my office much anyway. I miss my co-workers, though we FaceTime if we need to collaborate. The commute is awesome and I love not having to worry about clothes and makeup. I thought I’d be bummed or feel less productive not getting dressed up for work, but I don’t miss it at all. I’m grateful I have an awesome employer who allows me to do this and that my job can be done this way. I think the suggestion by another commenter of taking a walk outside during lunch is an excellent idea! I never could do that at the office because it’s in a busy traffic area.

    4. RabbitRabbit*

      This. I didn’t realize how much I really missed the train commute, or being able to bounce ideas off colleagues just by wandering over to their desk, or looking out the window on occasion (I have a window here too, but it’s just that was my office window), or going to work in that building.

      Maybe it’s because I work in a hospital and got out of patient care a few years ago, and now I can work totally remotely, while so many of my colleagues have been going in daily and doing the hard, sometimes dangerous task of being there in-person.

      So maybe some of it is guilt and some of it is how I view my work identity. I’m proud of how we’ve been doing with the pandemic, and it sort of feels like being on-site is “better” than staying at home and doing the work there.

      We were going to have to do some work-from-home in my particular office right before the pandemic hit; our office was overcrowded and we were hiring more people and were out of space.

      I think I would have liked to have it as an embraced option (previously our department’s view of WFH was reluctantly allowing occasional use, now they’re saying we’re not coming back at least until 2021) and done WFH at least two days a week. Now, it’s required to stay home and our office is crowded and poorly configured; not many people can fit in our space.

    5. MusicWithRocksIn*

      I miss the fast response time from the server. What’s killing me at home is every time I save a document it takes so long and I can’t do anything else until its done, so I check my phone real quick, then get distracted. I can work much better in the office when saving something is instant and I can move right along to the next task.

      1. JustaTech*

        Me too! Oh hello every document, spreadsheet, slide deck taking 45 seconds to open and a minute to save. Absolutely enough time to get distracted by the internet or the cat or frankly anything. Or just plain lose my train of thought.

        And when I’m using technical software that’s doing a lot of computing, oy! For a while I would just go do crunches or plank while I waited for a graph to load.

        1. Annie Hanson*

          JustaTech, I am in complete agreement! I was unable to bring home my computer tower and two monitors my last day in the office, as I was using public transportation to commute (light rail and bus) and it would have not been feasible. So I solely work from my laptop. This is my first job where I have needed to work from home, and it’s been an adjustment. Especially with the equipment and technology elements.

          Additionally, most of our agency is now working from home and we have to connect to a VPN in order to have access to email, documents, servers, etc. It gets really overloaded and on some days boots us off with no warning. Last Thursday it took me 4 and a half HOURS to successfully connect! Arrgh!

          More generally, I am saving money (I cancelled my bus/train pass, I eat out less, I suspended my gym membership, I drive less because places are still closed or don’t have inside seating, and so forth), and enjoy wearing pajamas all day if the urge hits, but I really miss the teams in my division and colleagues from other divisions. It’s very isolating working from home alone (no pets, no partner, no kids).

          1. TardyTardis*

            I actually had that problem for a little while in the office–ten years ago my computer had 64K of RAM, and I am not joking. It would take five minutes to open a pdf. I think once I had a replacement, the IT department just shot it.

      2. Dave*

        YES! The VPN speed is soul crushing sometimes. I have started some large files that I reference frequently to my desktop after saving to the server which is typically a no no but I can’t wait five minutes for a file to open all the time.

      3. Teapot Librarian*

        A half hour to open a power point. (Not always, but it’s definitely happened.) Slow internet plus slow computer, and I’m ready to throw the thing against the wall several times a day.

      4. Toothless*

        I’m a software engineer and I get those 1-5 minute gaps all the time while waiting for something to build, and what really helps me is treating those as a reminder to get up from my desk and walk around for a minute or two! I’ll do stuff like tidy up a couple things, wash a dish, pet the cat, and so on.

        1. BeenThere*

          This so much. I always have a list of small tasks I can take care off and getting moving is so important right now.

          I envy your build time, pulling down the latest code daily and building takes routinely 20 minutes. It’s now the first thing I do when I get up then I jump in the shower.

      5. iliketoknit*

        Oh I feel this. Some mornings it takes 20-25 minutes just to get my computer logged in to where it needs to be, and while I sat down ready to work, it completely destroys my focus.

      6. Seeking Second Childhood*

        If you’re allowed to have copies on your local hard drive, and just aren’t willing to risk having them get out of sync, look for the utility “Beyond Compare” from Scooter Software. I have no connection to them except as a customer. Open two folders and it color codes any differences. A few settings makes it one click to copy only the new & updated files from one side to the other. Supports various operating systems too.

    6. ThatGirl*

      Yeah, I miss the socialization, the energy, the shared baked goods, going out for lunch occasionally, things like that.

      I also do miss my actual desk sometimes – I have a nice set up with two monitors, full-size keyboard, mouse, and all sorts of fun knick-knacks that reflect my personality. We decorated for Christmas last year as a group and it was a lot of fun. Working on my laptop at home isn’t quite the same. I think 2-3 days a week in the office would be ideal.

      (Technically I COULD do that now, but it’s not worth the covid risk to me and none of my other teammates are there anyway, plus some of the small perks are gone for the time being.)

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I miss the socialization and the ability to rapidly collaborate. I started a new job about five weeks before we all went home, and I miss the team. We have had several other people start while we are remote!

        It was a contract to hire job and they ordered me a laptop (because my job is expected to WFH anyway) and came through with the set up – not just the laptop, two power supplies, mini dock, and case that I requested, but two monitors to go with it. I’m back in the two monitor club now.

    7. Cedarthea*

      I was in the office last week and I only meant to stay for a couple of hours to do some set tasks, but once i was there it took up my whole day because I realized there were a dozen things I needed/wanted to do once I actually saw people and got started into what we were working on.

      That was fun.

      I am taking on a totally new responsiblity in October and it will require me to go to the office a couple of days a week, and I am looking forward to it more than I would be willing to admit. I am single and live in the country and my extended family are 2-4hrs away, so its nice to just be around people.

      1. Boring username*

        Yes and no.

        Going from full time commuting to an office to total wfh was a shock in March, although it’s great most of the time as I’m an introvert and feel so much calmer.

        We very briefly returned to the office part time for a couple of weeks in early September before the rules in my country changed again and I was not looking forward to returning to the offie at all, but once back I actually felt lighter emotionally and just delighted to see my colleagues. We were hoping to carry on part time but now that’s been cancelled again I’m really sad as it was the best of both worlds. I don’t think I had realised how very depressed I’ve become until we went back.

        I love my colleagues, enjoy my job and my company has been decent about letting people work from home and have managed all the furlough and distressing layoffs we’ve had as respectfully to people as situations like that can be.

        I hope we eventually return to 2 days office and 3 from home as that actually felt really nice. It was easy to plan quiet work and private meetings on wfh days and social (distanced) contact on the office days.

        My husband’s work stress has been a bit much at home, normally don’t have to deal with that, and stressed out colleagues in the office are exhausting but don’t feel like my personal problem. Working at home with someone who huffs and puffs all day long about everything omg he becomes my annoying coworker every weekday morning at 8 and I’ve had to wear headphones to drown out the sound of him doing a massive sigh and groaning “ohhh no” every time an email pings on his laptop. Still love him despite this and he probably knows that it’s me and not the fictional coworker I invented who keeps annoying him by leaving half drunk mugs of tea everywhere.

        Ultimately I’m just very grateful to have a job right now and would do it anywhere required to keep employed.

        1. Boring username*

          Sorry this comment nested when it wasn’t intended as a reply.

          And I DO NOT MISS WEARING A BRA. that’s perhaps the best thing of all.

          1. Mme Defarge*

            I was just wondering today whether the observable fact that more women wear masks out and about than men (at least where I am) is because women have been used to wearing bras and dysfunctional shoes (and tights! sanitary towels!). We have already had to absorb uncongenial wardrobe requirements into our lives.

    8. Hapless Bureaucrat*

      Oh gosh, yes. For solo work I like working from home, now that I have dual monitors set up. Great not to have to commute or worry about lunch. Wonderful for the days my vertigo is acting up. Cats. Cat interruptions are lovely.
      But for meetings and collaboration? Ugh, I want back in the office. I need people’s body language for full context in meetings, and I miss the pop-in chats. And a Skype whiteboard is not the same.
      I also think it would be harder if I were trying to onboard staff right now.
      My team has talked about doing a hybrid schedule once we’re allowed back in. (And assuming my agency has finally gotten over its weird fear about telework.)

    9. Been There*

      This is what I’m doing now, going into the office once or twice a week for brainstorming meetings and wfh the rest of the week, and I love it. It also gives me the social interaction with coworkers I had been missing and face time with my boss, which seems necessary to get her attention.

    10. RedBlueGreenYellow*

      I feel the same way. I like my comfortable home office, and the quiet generally helps me be more productive, but sometimes it would just be so nice to get a few people together in front of a white board and work through an issue, rather than having multiple, semi-productive Zoom meetings an a way-too-long email thread.

      My company is still figuring out its return to work plan for those of us who are WFH through the end of the year, but a lot of us have asked for the flexibility to come in when we need it, rather than having a fixed schedule. I can see coming into the office once or twice a week. (This situation has shown me a potential use for hot desking, which I previously thought had no redeeming qualities. If I could sign up for a desk on the days when there was collaborating to be done, and work from home the rest of the time, I’d be pretty happy.)

    11. some dude*

      I’d be down for working in person one or two days a week and then remote the rest of the time. I do miss the side conversations and it is easier to collaborate in person. It is also easier to feel like a team when you are engaging in person. But i am so much happier remote than I was having to schlep to the office every day. My commute was an hour each way, and I have a job where I’m not always busy. It is easier to manage downtime when I don’t have to be in front of my computer “looking busy.” I think I am actually more productive.

      I do miss having my own space, and being in the hustle and bustle of where my office is. I live in a suburb and commute to a city, and I miss the city, and that phyisical separation of having a different work life than normal life.

      We are lucky though, because our home has an extra room that we converted to an office, and i am able to work in our dining room in a comfortable set up with my pets, listening to music and eating my own food. I imagine many people aren’t as privileged to have the space that my family does.

    12. Insert Clever Name Here*

      Same. My cubemate and I actually schedule a call once a week to talk about the random stuff (some work related, some not) that we’d talk about if it was just turning around in our chair. I also miss hearing work-related conversation from other groups who sit near us. We support the Llama Groomers and the group near us supports Llama Feeders; some of the things that overlap between the two groups are obvious, but some aren’t and we only discovered it because of overhearing conversations. Like, we changed Percy’s conditioner to Peruvian Petunia and in hearing us talk about the price of Peruvian Petunia, the other group was able to connect that the change in conditioner had resolved Percy’s allergy, which is why he was suddenly eating so much more.

    13. Yet Another Consultant*

      I agree – I have been working from home since 2017, but this year has been different for me, too. I think working from home is completely different without the option to get together when it would be helpful for the work or even for coffee and walks with others as a break. Working from home in 2020 is much more isolating than it was in 2019, in my opinion.

    14. PennyLane*

      Completely agree. I love my team and extended teams and I miss interacting with my colleagues. Having in person meetings are just so much easier in person to collaborate and I like being able to just easily drop by someone’s desk to ask a question because it’s not the same digitally.

      At first I wasn’t loving working at home, but I’ve actually come to really enjoy it. I can work out during the day when I have energy, I can go from bed to work in 10 minutes instead of 2 hours (or 30 if I need to do hair and makeup), I don’t have to sit in gridlock morning & evening so my mood is better, I’m at a comfortable temperature all day! and there’s more, but these are some top perks.

      The ideal situation would be to have my coworkers all work at my home lol.

      However, I live alone and have no kids, so it’s easy for me to be at home.

    15. Ann Cognito*

      Just last week I said that I don’t miss the commute, but I miss having spontaneous conversations with coworkers, while having lunch, grabbing a coffee or while walking from one area to another.

      I was already WFH 2 days/week before COVID, and I really think hybrid is the way to go, and hope it becomes the new norm, but I’ve learned that a few days a week onsite is actually great!

  3. New Job So Much Better*

    I like it, but I don’t have kids or pets at home. Plus, I already had a complete office in my home from a prior job, so it’s easy to adjust.

    1. JokeyJules*

      Same here. We already had a home office setup in the spare bedroom, so the transition was pretty seamless. My partner has to leave for work for a few hours in the middle of the day so i try to get all my meetings in then. I have no idea how we would have managed with kids at home, though I thought about getting a pet, but didn’t want to put it through separation anxiety when we both go back to work all day.

      1. Batty Twerp*

        Ditto. We have a three bed house, but it’s just the two of us, so the second bedroom was already an office. When we went into lockdown we had to do some rearranging, but now we have two little offices.
        I have regular calls with my manager and coworkers, and since a couple of them were already remote, using Skype etc., is not a novelty. I’m not missing the office *at all*.

        We still keep to the same routine – our commutes were under half an hour, so we’ve not really gained all that much in the day. The biggest difference is I no longer wear shoes. I put trainers on when we grocery shop, but that’s once a week, and it feels weird!

        1. allathian*

          This is pretty much me, although luckily we have enough rooms that our 11-year-old can also do remote learning from home if necessary. Our internet connection is also fast enough that we can all be attending different video conferences at the same time without too much trouble on our end. (My employer’s VPN is another matter). That said, I’m really happy that my son is back at school. He did very well in remote learning last spring and reached all his academic goals and got good grades, but he prefers being at school. His class is great and he needs to be around other kids, they have social distancing rules in place and there’s no sharing pencils etc., they wash their hands at the start of the day and after every recess and before they go to lunch, my son’s very diligent at that for his age.

          All that said, however, cases are going up again in my area, from a handful of cases every day in a population of 5.6 million, to about 100 cases per day. Currently most new cases affect people who are between 18 and 30 years old and who are sick of the restrictions and want to travel and go to bars again. I suspect that the bars will close soon… Masks are strongly recommended on public transit and in enclosed public spaces, but they haven’t been made mandatory yet.

          Earlier this week I attended an in-person seminar for a professional certificate. We wore masks except when eating, although I wonder how futile that was because there wasn’t enough space to keep 6 ft away from other people while eating… Anyway, my question is for those of you who work in an office and need to be masked while there, how do you deal with wearing it for so many hours in a row? My face itched like there’s no tomorrow and I bet I kept touching it more than usual against all recommendations, and as soon as I got out into the fresh air at the end of my commute, I took the mask off even if I had no sanitizer on me.

          So, while I miss our informal, spontaneous chats at the office, especially talking to people I don’t work with regularly, I won’t even consider going back if mask wearing at the office becomes mandatory, or even strongly recommended. I would not want to endanger other people by refusing to wear a mask if it’s strongly recommended. WFH is strongly recommended for anyone who can do it, although we’re allowed to go into the office occasionally. Some of my coworkers live alone, and they’ve all said that going to the office even once or twice a week has been great for their mental health. We have a few employees whose jobs can’t be done from home, so they’ve been coming in even during the worst of the pandemic.

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      Yeah, not having kids or pets has been a plus for me right now as well. I don’t have a separate home office since I live in a studio, but at the end of my lease, I will be moving somewhere bigger (knock on wood) and will finally get one. I’ve been working remotely full time for a year and a half now from my dining room table, and this just isn’t it.

    3. KnitsOnZoomCalls*

      Yeah, I literally have a full room as my craft space, so it was easy to make it into a work office.

    4. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

      Same here. I’ve been WFH full time already, and I have a dedicated office in my home so that hasn’t changed much for me. The only difference in my job is that I haven’t been traveling. All meetings are now via Zoom, etc. While I also enjoy going to the office from time to time, I prefer to WFH. I’m very productive, collaborative, and effective WFH, so it works for me.

      I wish some people would stop making a preference to WFH a character flaw and stop making it their mission in life to get those of us who prefer to WFH to work in an office.

    5. Silicon Valley Girl*

      Likewise! I did dress up my home office a bit more — making things more ergonomic, improving the lightint, hanging art, etc. These were just little things I’d been meaning to get around to, but when I was WFH once or twice a week, I didn’t notice them as much. Now I appreciate it.

      I like the focus I can get WFH vs. in the office. My company had huge open-plan offices & had recently switched to hot-desking, so it felt chaotic & noisy. Plus, I already work on a distributed team w/ppl around the US & sometimes in Europe, so it really doesn’t matter where I physically sit. I like getting together w/my local coworkers, but more for social things like coffee or lunch. It’s perfectly fine working with them via technology.

    6. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      Same here! I just moved my office (back into) an even bigger room and really cleaned up, removing more distractions.
      My boss asked me if I’d consider coming to the office once a week, which is fine by me. I’m more productive at home (no kid or or pets, perfect environment, no commute, easier to work around multiple time zones plus and minus seven hours from where I live) but once a week seems a good compromise.

  4. BigSigh*

    While I love the flexibility of working from home, it’s very hard to focus. It’s nice that I could break to switch the laundry over, but that’s one of ten things I could take a quick break to do, you know? I can do make tea, but if I notice someone knocked over a plant, suddenly now I’m re potting and sweeping and vacuuming….

    1. MissMaple*

      Haha, you literally just described the “5 minute” break I took to make toast…put the toast in…oh wait, nobody brought down the baby’s dirty bottles…pass the full laundry bin on the way to the bottles…put the laundry in…ugh, there’s water all over the floor by the sink…etc :)

    2. Riblets*

      Inability to focus is also a side effect of the mass trauma lots of us are experiencing right now (especially in the US). Every few hours or so I just stop working and think to myself how pointless it all is since we will be underwater or on fire (or hell, both somehow) in a decade anyway.

      1. Riblets*

        Like, I have never experienced clinical depression, but I imagine this is something like what it feels like. Except there’s no therapy or meds that will help me forgot that our president is a dangerous maniac and we are all slowly poisoning ourselves.

        1. StrikingFalcon*

          Therapy can help you cope though. Things are distressing right now but if you are struggling to focus, or feeling like everything is pointless, or otherwise feel like the distress or hopelessness is interfering with your life, that’s the space that a professional can help you with.

          1. iliketoknit*

            Honestly, that’s part of the reason I just started therapy. I’d been thinking about it for a while but this world is just so hard to deal with.

    3. Kiki*

      YES! I think I lack the discipline to not get distracted by the million things I can do around my apartment. Especially because each of those things only takes a minute, tops, but cumulatively it ends up taking up a lot of my time. Additionally, my work requires deep focus and with everything going on, I’ve just been finding it so hard to get my brain into that zone, especially since it will be several days before I get the reward of completing the task. I’m really drawn to the immediate gratification of cleaning, simple paperwork, responding to emails, etc. now more than ever. Unfortunately, none of that is really what I get paid to do :P

      1. Former NonProfit*

        Ahhhh, you just made something click for me—“the immediate gratification of cleaning.” Like, of course, I can clean something and then it’s done, it’s noticeable, I don’t have to collaborate or hop on a call to do it.

      2. kicking-k*

        Yes, all of that.
        I have returned to working in an office because the nature of my job is very difficult to do remotely. And I did find working from home distracting (and practically impossible while schooling my children). But I’m the only one in the company in my role, and almost nobody is here. I recently switched from a job that was almost all lone working to one which I hoped would have a more collegial atmosphere, and I think it will eventually, but in the meantime the office is peaceful but lonely.

    4. kbeers0su*

      Same here! What I do like about all this, though, is that I feel like my evenings and weekends are more free. Because instead of going to work and coming home to then manage all this stuff (cleaning, cooking, laundry) it’s getting done during the 9-5. So that’s an added perk.

    5. MayLou*

      I keep mentioning it and it’s not because they pay me to do so ;) but I am the same and Complice has made it possible for me to work at all. I’m acutely aware of how much time I spend not working, whereas in the office I think having my colleagues and managers there helped me focus, and time spent doing not much for workflow reasons didn’t feel like skiving. My employer is incredibly supportive and my manager, who is shortly becoming our grandboss due to promotion, has made it clear she is very happy with everyone’s work, but it stresses me out.

  5. NYC86*

    I very much missed it for the first three months, but at this point – I hope to never have to go back, at least for five days a week.

    The time I save on a commute, wasted time chatting just to chat, and sitting around waiting is just not worth it. Being able to work flexible hours (12 hour days when it’s super busy and a calmer day the next) is a huge benefit.

    Also being able to make lunch, spend time with the dog, it’s just a better quality of life and it works.

    1. Hello, I'd like to report my boss*

      Same here. It took me ages to get used to it. Now, apart from the fact that I have a crummy set up (recently improved) and my home is really tiny (hopefully moving soon), I never want to go back to being in full time.

      I’d like to be in two days a week. My bank balance is so much better.

      1. Master Bean Counter*

        Yes! The hubby is actually looking to build me my own little office in the yard now. I think he just wants the living room back at this point.

    2. Admin Always*

      I’m in agreement. I’m getting more sleep and able to really rest and disconnect when I need to take a break. There are periods of time when I’m just waiting and now I can use that time to get home tasks completed like dishes and laundry. I’m saving money not paying for daycare too.

      I missed my commute for months because it’s the only time I was ever alone but I’ve adapted to having my four year old at home without daycare and adjusting my sleep schedule to get that alone time. We play, run through our therapy homework (ASD3), cuddle, and have tantrums and meltdowns, and it all fits into my day because my boss understands that I’m a solo parent and WFH requires flexibility.

      And the bonus is work has realized we can do this and is looking at bringing us back in for two days a week (client facing things) instead of five.

    3. RiriWFH*

      I agree! I had this horrible LA commute at least every 2 weeks if not once a week that made me feel like I was wasting my time. Now that its eliminated, I’m not using my car as much. My only issue is I have my husband working from home, a kindergartner, a 8th grader, and a 10th grader all at school from home which has been a major distraction. Although when I told my self they were my “co-workers and staff”, I realized that they probably dont bother me as much as the distractions at work!

    4. KnitsOnZoomCalls*

      Yes!! I save an hour a day on no commute alone. It’s better for the environment. And the dog and cat both love having more people time (well, the dog does, the cat makes a habit of disappearing for a few hours at a time.)

      And being able to do laundry in the middle of the week is a plus (Loading the washer takes 3 minutes, and I fold after work.) And I’m eating healthier and cheaper because I have time to cook and no fast food options nearby.

      All of which is why I got a fulltime remote job that will continue after the pandemic. It’s such a lifestyle improvement.

      1. Birdie*

        I really did not realize how amazing not commuting would be. I’d never even considered the possibility but now I’m dreading having to start it up again. Luckily, we’re WFH for the foreseeable future, and I think that even after we go back, my boss would be open to remote 2-3 days a week. It would be better if I had an actual office space in my apartment and MUCH better if I could go out and do stuff after work, but I’m definitely liking WFH a lot more than I ever expected.

    5. Joanna*

      Same for me as well, I really thought I was going to hate it, but once I adjusted, I’m loving it. Just losing the commute has been a huge improvement in my work life balance. I’ve also realized that some of my anxiety about work has gone away. We don’t use video, so I can fidget and play mindless games on my phone during long meetings and I can focus so much better. And, since everyone now uses a cell instead of the office phone, no one is expected to just pick up the phone and chat. Instead, you reach out through IM or email and schedule a call. It’s made all of my phone anxiety go away. I do miss some of the social aspects of the office, but not enough to make me want to go back in.

      I also thought I would hate being stuck at home with my husband and son all day. It turns out that we are all good about focusing on work and school, and I actually enjoy when they come out of their spaces to chat. I’m enjoying getting to spend this extra time with my son. He’s growing up so fast, and won’t be around much longer.

      The cats are still needy attention hogs who walk over my keyboard, stick their butts in my face, and throw up during important meetings. So at least one thing is going as expected.

    6. GothicBee*

      I’m back in the office now, but when I was working from home, I was sleeping better, eating better, and just overall able to make my life feel more balanced despite the stress of the pandemic. Plus my productivity as far as work was higher than it is when I’m in the office despite having to let the dog in and out every two seconds. I do appreciate going somewhere every day now, but all the benefits (better sleep, saving money, etc) have gone back to what they were before the pandemic (not good, maybe even worse because we’re still in a pandemic).

      The only real downside for me was that I didn’t really have a setup for WFH so I used either the kitchen table or the couch, but even so, I really appreciated being able to just spend time actually living in my house. And honestly, I appreciated being able to sit on the couch to work. I hate traditional office furniture.

    7. Bikirl*

      I feel similarly. I miss my colleagues and my old routine, but I don’t really want to go back, either. It would be really hard to give up the personal time and privacy and better quality of life I’ve gained in this work situation.

    8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I ate worse when I had an entire kitchen to aimlessly roam. I’ve put on almost 30LBS during quarantine.

      I’m fascinated by the amount of folks who get better sleep! I don’t wear off my energy and had to resort to a lot of medications to put me out at night. It was a wreck on my formally contained insomnia.

      1. allathian*

        I’ve been forcing myself to get some exercise every day to at least make up for what I miss just by using public transit to get to work. The weather’s been pretty good so I’ve been walking and riding my bike pretty much every day. If it’s raining, I do 20 minutes on the stationary bike in our basement instead.
        I’ve been pretty sedentary my entire adult life but I’ve realized that while I’ll never run a marathon, I need to get some exercise because it’s really great for my mental and physical health. I also sleep better if I get some exercise after work. Leave it too late and I’ll have trouble falling asleep, though…

    9. PennyLane*

      Same. Now when I have to go to the office I feel like I’m wasting so much time just getting ready and commuting. Plus I’m working out (I’m always too tired after a full day and 2 hours of commuting, plus everything I have to do once I get home) and not cranky from traffic, so agree about quality of life.

      I think it was harder when the closures first happened because, at least for me, business was really slow and I felt like I had so little to do, plus the anxiety of not knowing if my job was secure. Once business picked back up, I’ve been enjoying working from home much more.

  6. JXB1000*

    I’m fortunate to have lots of space and a fully appointed home office. Used to work 2 days a week from home. Now 100% since March. I’m one who has a hard time pulling away. Will find I’ve worked 10-12 hours straight at my desk. Too easy to sit back down in the evenings or weekends for “one more thing”, “just take a quick look”. I heard the BEST quote recently:

    It feel more like I live at work than work from home.

    LOL. That’s me. Trying to do better.

    1. norma rae*

      I’ve been feeling that too (the living at work thing)! I used to be a lot better about not checking my work phone in the evenings, and it’s so much harder to not do that (and subsequently get sucked into something or stress out over an email) now.

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      You may need to start breaking down your office equipment and putting it away. At the end of my workday, my laptop goes back in its bag, which gets shoved into the back of my hall closet. The external monitor gets tucked away in a dark space between my couch and a display case. Once that stuff is out of sight, it’s truly out of mind for me.

      1. Liz*

        Like you said, I work from my DR table too. For me, its kind of a pain to take it off every day, and set it back up. BUT, every friday, or today, as i’m off tomorrow, i take it all down, and put it out of sight, and don’t set it back up until Sunday night, so I’m ready to go Monday am.

        I’d love more space, but not in the cards right at this moment.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          I break my stuff down every evening because my dining room table set up is too cute to be obscured by my laptop/monitor, lol. It’s annoying though to have to put everything back together in the morning. I pray that I still have a job come the end of my lease and I can afford to move to a bigger apartment – I need a dedicated desk so that this isn’t an issue. Preferably in a separate room with a door.

          1. Chinook*

            If you can’t get a separate room, a desk with a roll top hutch or a cabinet with a pull out desk that you can close the door on. I have seen a version of this from Ikea and do not doubt that they will make a come back with all the WFH.

            1. Diahann Carroll*

              The cabinet wouldn’t work because of how much work stuff I have and the size of everything, but I’ve certainly been looking into secretary desks as a possibility if I end up in a loft space (which is my first choice for my next apartment).

    3. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah, you really have to learn to pull away and turn it off. I don’t mind working a bit later since I’m gaining 3 hours per day by being WFH, but you’ve gotta turn off at say 6 or 7 pm and just be done.

  7. Dr. Rebecca*

    YESSSS.

    I miss the office itself, and the resources, and my colleagues, and my boss, and being somewhere other than my apartment on the regular. And I really, really, REALLY miss my classroom/being there with my students.

    1. Alexander Graham Yell*

      YES. I miss my office and my friends and the ability to get out of the apartment and eating lunch with my colleagues and the jokes and having the ability to see when my teammates are stressed to see if I can take something off their plate. I miss knowing whether or not somebody is too busy to answer a quick question vs. interrupting them by accident. I miss running to get coffee or snacks or the amount of things I learn just by overhearing conversations.

      I hate working from home and I moved cities when I joined this team specifically so I wouldn’t have to work from home, and then COVID happened. I cannot wait to go back into the office and it’s a constant struggle to not just give up and go back now because I’m so lonely and miss it so much.

    2. Jane*

      Yes! Lecturer here, so teaching online this semester. No chat with the students at the front of the room before the lecture starts; no internally smiling at their youthful confidence and lack of common sense (shorts in winter!); all just serious teaching. So dull.

  8. Damn it, Hardison!*

    I would like working from home if the rest of my life was back to normal! I really only miss the in-person interactions but if I had more of those in other parts of my life I wouldn’t miss the office. I do miss my dual monitors and bigger desk. I don’t miss the commute.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Agreed. I was WFH before the lockdown, and what made it great was being able to work in other places like coffee shops and courtyards. Can’t do that anymore! I mean, I could go to the building lobby now (since it’s reopened) but still, it’s not the same and that’s what I miss.

      1. knitter*

        Yeah, I agree.

        In a past job, I could WFH or just go to the coffee shop down the street when I felt like it. I also visited various partner sites so I was on the go a lot. Being at home now is just claustrophobic…even though I’m a WFH proponent in general.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      I miss my dual monitors the most! We were allowed to take one home to use with our laptops, but I don’t have space in my tiny apartment.

    3. Quill*

      I would love never driving in again but I’m still only half (if that) WFH because the mail needs sorting. I do not like the loneliness of home OR the office at this point, but at least home has my plants… and way too many distractions in the realm of snacks and chores to do.

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I miss my chair the most! I have had so many problems with my neck and shoulder that cause headaches since I’ve been home. I am waiting for a new chair but apparently everyone else is buying them too so I think it’s going to take almost 2 months for it to arrive.

      2. Teapot Librarian*

        The weird thing for me is that my back hurts more now that I’m back in the office, despite having a better chair!

    4. knitter*

      I agree–When my school first shut down, I had a zoom meeting with some colleagues and we talked about how much we missed all the friendly smiles and greetings as we walked down the hallways.

      And due to the lack of in person interactions, I have SOOO MANY MORE EMAILS. I’m not great about email anyway, and now I’m even worse. And add google classroom notifications…so much.

      Though I will say I’m seeing one positive–People don’t just go to their work friends or classroom neighbors for help. They do share it with the whole group. My school is huge and people have their groups. I’ve observed more equity in who is getting access to information and being invited to join things because it’s just as easy to email someone as knock on the room next door. And since everyone is struggling, even 30 year teaching veterans, there is more of the “we’re all in this together” mindset that is building community. I hope it translates once we’re back in the building.

    5. lemon*

      Yes, agree with this so much. I don’t miss working from the office, per se. I just miss being reminded of the world outside my apartment. I’d like WFH a lot more if I could go sit in a coffee shop or use my building’s co-working space. But, as it is, I live alone in a tiny studio apartment, so my days are blending together into a haze of “wake up, roll out of bed, walk four feet to my desk, and sit at desk for the next 10 hours.” It’s literally been weeks since I’ve had an in-person conversation with someone, and my mental health is really taking a toll from the isolation.

      1. Fried Eggs*

        I’d also say being in a studio apartment is the biggest challenge for me. I just started a new job. Have a company laptop, and my boss has been pushing me to get monitors for home. But then I’d have to have my kitchen table permanently be a desk now. I don’t even like working in my kitchen area. It’s dark, and the floor is cold.

        I also don’t think I could unplug from work at the end of the day if my desk was always just sitting there right in my line of sight. At least with the laptop I can close it and put it away. I want to feel like I’m working from home, not living at work.

        On the other hand, working from my couch is getting old fast. Today my “commute” was closing one laptop and opening another without even getting up.

        We do go into the office once a week, so that helps with the isolation. I’m in Germany, so it’s a little safer. With each team having one day in the office, we’re only exposed to 10 people, not 50, and can collaborate kind of face-to-face (with a few empty desks in between).

        Tl;dr I pulled off a miracle getting my studio apartment to somehow work as a bedroom, living room, and kitchen. Now it has to somehow be an office too????

        1. lemon*

          I feel you about it being hard to turn off work when you’re computer is right there, out in the open. I started off WFH using a laptop with a convertible desk– it folds up when not in use. That was okay for the first four months, but then I started having terrible neck pain from being hunched over a 13″ screen all day. So, I got an iMac, but that necessitated buying an entirely new desk, because it wouldn’t fit on the convertible desk. It’s a much better set-up in terms of ergonomics, but now that my computer is out in the open all the time, I feel like I should always be working (plus, I’m in an evening master’s program that is 100% remote right now, so I really do have to be on my computer all the time). I miss being able to close the laptop and fold up the desk to signal the end of my working day.

          And it really was a challenge figuring out how to fit another desk in here! I still can’t believe I managed to cram a kitchen, bedroom, living room, and *two* offices into 235 square feet.

    6. kbeers0su*

      OHMYGOSH yes. I don’t have any social outlet since our social life is nonexistent. It doesn’t affect my kids (little one is in daycare and older one goes to school in-person 2 days a week) or my husband (introvert who would happily live off the grid) but it’s SO HARD FOR ME.

      1. Jane*

        I never thought I had a great social life before this, but have been out with another person just twice in the last six months. I’m now taking the risk of going to a coffee shop maybe once a fortnight, just for the pleasure of a cup of tea and a sandwich made by someone else.

  9. AnonInTheCity*

    I miss the office cafeteria and not having to think about keeping food in the house for lunch! I don’t miss how much money I used to spend on lunch, though, so that’s a tradeoff. For me the huge, huge benefit is getting to see my son throughout the day. We have in-home childcare for him but even so I get to spend so much more time with him than I would if I was commuting into the office and dropping him off at daycare.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I miss mine as well. According to someone who actually ventures outside from time to time, a lot of mine didn’t make it :(

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I have my fingers crossed for my favorite spot next door. I do not miss the office, I do miss my soup, salad, and sandwich place and the lovely people who run it.

    1. Can't Sit Still*

      Yes, this! I miss not having to decide what I’m having for lunch and being able to decide I want pie for dessert without having to buy or make an entire pie.

      I only go to Starbucks once a week before work instead of daily, and that’s through the drive thru to keep my car battery charged.

      OTOH, I’ve found that I can make lunch and dinner during my lunch break. Since I used to be too tired to make dinner, this is a nice change.

    2. Zuzu*

      This. I am so sick of making lunch! I think it’s also because I have small kids at home and I’m preparing them snacks…often. So by the time lunch rolls around I’m just staring blankly in my fridge wishing someone would make my sandwich for me, and then I could throw the plate into a trash barrel I don’t also have to empty myself.

    3. Silicon Valley Girl*

      OK, yeah, the office cafeteria was pretty sweet! Tho’ my favorite thing was the extensive salad bar, & I feel like even when things open up again, we won’t see those around for a long time :(

  10. Admin on Duty*

    I deeply miss working in my office. As an admin, I find it harder to support my officer because their style is geared more toward ‘drive by’ information dropping, which hasn’t translated well to this virtual environment.

    Also, I’ve always been a strong supporter of the concept of keeping my work life and home life separated to help with anxiety and stress, which is now basically impossible. Although I do have a home office, it feels very isolating and lonely to be there 8-10 hours a day with nothing to keep me company but the sound of my instant messenger going off every few minutes.

    It’s a lonely experience, but I am grateful that my issues are what they are given the alternative.

    1. Libby*

      As a fellow admin, I so relate! It is very hard when the exec you support is back to back all day and you can’t just walk down the hall with them to the next meeting to ask your 10 questions. But I hated working from home for other reasons as well and we have been allowed to come back with management approval if needed for productivity so I have been back full time for a couple of months. My boss comes in a few days a week so I am so much more productive now. Not many people are working in the office though so I still feel safe.

      1. Admin on Duty*

        Hallway meetings and cafeteria meetings were about a third of the way I was able to catch people to get answers for my officer and/or myself! I never realized how much I relied on ‘random chance encounters’ to get things done until I couldn’t do that anymore.

    2. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      I’m not an admin but I similarly miss being able to overhear my boss’s conversations from his office across the hall. While we were in the office I found it annoying, but I’ve since realized how much more productive I could be by using information I overheard. I’ve lost at least 10% of my productive ability from working remotely.

      1. Bostonian*

        Yup. Having way less access to my boss and her boss has been a huge miss. And it’s not even that I *need* that much interaction (which makes it more difficult to do it deliberately virtually), but the chance encounters that led to really useful discussions is way down.

      2. Lily C*

        Legal assistant here. Not being able to listen in on my attorney’s calls has left me feeling very out of the loop about some of our cases. We’ve always emailed each other constantly, but I miss being able to overhear conversations and anticipate requests, and just pop my head into his office to ask a quick question.

        And I miss my friends in the office. Chatting in the kitchen, stopping by another assistant’s desk for advice, venting about an irritating counterpart at another firm, and standing in the reception area looking out at the city skyline. Email and text isn’t the same.

    3. Lurker*

      I relate this this. I absolutely HATE working from home. I don’t care what people say, there is something lost when people aren’t in the same space. It’s so much easier to get a quick answer to something, to know what’s going on. It’s very isolating; I started a new job a few months ago (remotely) and I don’t know if it’s the co-workers themselves, the stress of the circumstances, something else, or a combination of all these things, but it’s been very hard. They haven’t been friendly and haven’t made any effort to do things I’ve asked of them to make my job easier. (I was hired to clean up a huge mess and implement professional standards.) I’m grateful to have a job but am looking for something else because it’s so lonely.

      1. Anononon*

        I think it really depend on the office culture. Before work from home, my office used intercom systems on our phone where we could quickly get people without needing to fully call them. A couple months into WFM, we finally got an office IM program, and I feel like the responsiveness is almost equal to or better than in the office. For example, with my boss, who is notoriously bad about responding to emails, IMing him has been great.

        1. Lurker*

          We have an interoffice chat feature in our email. I get maybe one every few days. I think my new co-workers just suck.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          One of the best things about WFH is EVERYONE is now on IM. My boss scoffed at it in the office and refused to turn it on, but now she couldn’t live without it. It’s so easy to get in touch with someone, and I also use it just to say hello or touch base with people I don’t work with often. They can respond if/when they have time – so much more convenient than calls or drive-bys.

    4. Can't Sit Still*

      It’s been an adjustment, but my exec was constantly traveling before, so this isn’t much different than that, except that I always know what time zone she’s in now. I’m also still buying her lunch, just delivered to her home instead of the office. I do appreciate being able to order something to be delivered instead of having to run out and get it myself.

      She’s traveling for the first time this year next month, and the prices are so low, I keep thinking I’ve made a mistake. $325 for a 3 night stay, when it’s normally $349/night. Less than $500 for nonstop round trip cross country airfare. I certainly understand the temptation to travel.

      The downside is that I can’t troubleshoot my team’s tech issues, so they have to go through the help desk. At least it’s full employment for the help desk folks!

  11. HailRobonia*

    I do not miss my office at all. Shortly before COVID hit we had moved our office location and the new setup was horrible. Smaller cubes and no privacy. And lots of wasted space (extra unused cubicles “for growth”).

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I vastly prefer WFH. My team is distributed across the globe so I don’t work in person with anyone on a regular basis. I have a nice desk setup and bought a good office chair so the ergonomics are solid. I sit right next to a window so I can have a few plants. I control the temperature, lighting, and ambient noise. We don’t do video calls so I don’t have to spend time on choosing an outfit and looking presentable. And the single biggest stress reduction is that I have no commute!

      Conveniently, during this fall while everyone is still at mandatory telecommuting, my whole division is moving to a different building that would mean a shorter commute, a cafeteria, and cubicles (vs the windowless open office setup we had), so if/when we return next year it won’t be so bad. However, I hope to continue a pattern of mostly WFH and just go in 1 or 2 days a week for face-time with management.

    2. SpaceCactus*

      Agreed. There has never been a single second where I have missed being in the office. I am seriously considering just looking for a job that will let me wfh full time when this is over, even if it’s in another field, because it’s such a better fit for me.

      1. Jules the First*

        I am so glad I’m not the only one! Have been feeling very alone…I am so much more productive, so much more relaxed, and so much happier working 100% from home. Unfortunately the rest of the company is champing at the bit to get back in the office, so I’m feeling very much the minority of one…

        1. All the cats 4 me*

          I also love working from home, and would be happy not to go back to the office.

          My desk at work is in a cube with *constant* background noise, loud conversations, frequent interruptions (to just !chat! – I haven’t seen you ALL DAY, where have you been? Um,. Working?)

          I have a lot of ‘deep thought/high concentration’ work and I found the office to be mentally draining and soooo much harder to get things done.

          I am able to put more mindful thinking into my work now, and feel like I am growing my capabilities.

          I don’t miss all those repetitive conversations (and what are your plans for the holidays…. several times with the same people over and over, because nobody actually cares and so they don’t listen or remember the answer).

          I do not miss having to hear almost every conversation in the office and trying to block it out so I can concentrate. I don’t miss my cube being near the lunch area where a group of guys play cards (loudly) at morning and afternoon break and watch youtube with NSFW content while they HOWL with glee. At lunch they watch tv game shows with annoying music. Nope, don’t miss that at all!

      2. I can't pick a user name*

        Same. It feels like I was made for working from home. I can work out at lunch and have time for a quick shower, I can eat real food, and I get a lot more done.

        I am hoping to work from home for at least the next year.

        (no kids and one cuddly cat, so I am not juggling multiple full time jobs like parents are)

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      I don’t miss it and have absolutely no interest in going back. Working from home is fabulous – I have a 30 second commute, a fully-functional coffee pot, and a great setup at home. (I have said repeatedly that I’m so glad we moved a few years ago because all of us working/schooling from home in our old place would be so much harder. I have no idea how people in small spaces with kids, especially the younger ones, in virtual school manage.) I have joked (kidding not kidding) with my boss that I am never coming back. I get so much more done, and it’s forced everyone onto the IM platform.

      We are going to be moving offices early next year, and our new space is the dreaded open floor plan for over half of the team. There is no privacy, and everyone’s space is smaller. I hate it, and I know a whole bunch of my senior staff will, too, particularly the ones losing offices. And the CEO has a thing about headphones, so I have no idea how this new space is going to work from a noise and distraction standpoint. I would happily stay home.

    1. DataGirl*

      I brought my chair home. Felt a little like stealing, but it’s not like I won’t take it back when I go back.

      1. Researcher*

        I wish I had done the same. Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, right?
        Some snuck their chairs home before management put a stop to it out of concern that “employees may be injured while loading it into their vehicles”.

      2. Justme, the OG*

        I did too. I was using a dining chair and it was not comfortable at all. I felt so weird wheeling it out of my office and across campus to my car, though.

      3. Ann O'Nemity*

        I went back for my chair after the first couple months. At first I thought my home office chair would be fine; it wasn’t.

        1. Anne of Green Gables*

          Yes, I also went back in for mine maybe 2 months in? My supervisor knew I was taking it home; I’d been having a lot of back pain at home when using the kitchen chair. Whenever I’m back full time, I’ll take it back in.

    2. Ali G*

      Can you go get it? When it became clear no one was going back any time soon, we were allowed to go in and take anything that would help us work at home. I took my standing desk, a monitor and some other things. I bought a chair because we needed one at home anyway, but I could have taken mine if needed.

      1. Quill*

        Wish I could get some access to a printer. I could work from home so much more often (and more efficiently) if I had a printer & scanner.

        1. Mouse*

          Scanner apps for phones have really come a long way! I use one for my iPhone and it’s made things so much easier. Then you could buy a basic printer without scanning functions, which are shockingly cheap–maybe your employer would cover it?

          1. QED*

            It depends on how much you have to scan–if you have large packets of documents, the printer/scanners at most offices just allow you to put the whole packet in and it scans the whole think at once. On your phone you still have to turn pages and line up the camera, which for 50+ pages can get very annoying.

            1. JustaTech*

              The first thing I went back to the office for was to spend the better part of a day scanning 12 binders worth of stuff. That was full of dividers, paperclips and staples.

              At least there was no one else there to hear my mask-muffled cursing.

              There’s no way I could have done that without a office-sized copier/scanner.

              1. Quill*

                Oh, I hate staples, but the staple and seal is a… staple of the documents I process.

                Everyone in the office building can hear me alternately cursing at and sweet talking the printer. some day I’m going to get IT to extend the sign in time out to a full minute because it’s like 20 seconds of printer inactivity currently.

          2. Quill*

            My main problem is that I need to do a lot of print, sign, scan, email… and unfortunately I’m a contractor. Despite you know, being armpit deep in the covid management system.

            1. JustaTech*

              One good thing that’s come of us all being WFH is that we’re finally being allowed to e-sign internal documents.

              I don’t know if that’s allowed for the external documents or not.

            2. Lavender Menace*

              Could you use a program like Adobe Fill & Sign? Instead of printing it out, signing it electronically and then sending it back?

      2. QED*

        I wish I could get mine, but even if I were allowed to, I think dragging it on the subway would be way more trouble than it’s worth. Or getting in the back of a cab…I’ll just live with the slightly crappy plastic rolling chair I have at home currently.

    3. FeelingUncreativeCreative*

      100% the chair! And weirdly my office desk seems to be lower than the one I have at home, so it’s really comfortable for me (I’m short haha!)

      1. Researcher*

        How interesting! I’m a fellow short person, and I feel you!
        I tried a Herman Miller Aeron chair, size A, over the weekend and it was amazing! Now I just need to win the lottery….

        1. Roy G. Biv*

          Yes! The Aeron chair is what I have from work, and I was allowed to take it home. It’s adjusted to the “just right” setting for me. I also had to officially sign it out of the office, so they know who to hit up for a large sum of money if I don’t return it some day.

        2. Damn it, Hardison!*

          I bit the bullet and ordered a refurbished Aeron chair (I had one at a previous job). It’s taking forever but I know it’s worth the wait.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          My office chair is a lower-model HM chair, and I miss it so much! (That and my white board are the *only* things I miss.) I sprung for an office chair, though not a hundreds-of-dollars chair, and it’s helped but it’s nowhere near as nice as my actual office chair (which we were explicitly instructed not to remove from the office).

      2. DataGirl*

        as a fellow short person, I bought an ergonomic foot rest on Amazon for about $20 that allows me to put my chair up higher to reach the desk top properly, and not have my feet dangling in the air. It’s really helped with my posture.

    4. merp*

      This is the first thing I thought of. I don’t have a home office set-up at all and deeply miss my chair and desk when I’m at home. On top of that, remote work is very much temporary for my job – there is almost no way we will be allowed to continue even a day or two a week after all this, so I struggle with the cost of investing in something I will only need for an unknown, possibly short, amount of time. Currently working from my couch, which is a disaster for my back.

    5. Anax*

      Chaaaaiiiiirrrrrrrrrr. I wish I could go get mine, but we did ask if we could, and they said they were “working on it” weekly for four months and then dropped the issue. (Ugh.)

      I feel like sudden missing chairs would get … obvious, since we made such a fuss, but man, my back hurts. Dining chairs have no lumbar support, and my improvised solutions aren’t great.

    6. CatCat*

      Literally the only thing I miss at this point. If we could get some clarity on the future of WFH at our organization, I’d go ahead and invest in a better chair at home.

    7. The Ginger Ginger*

      OMG YES. The only purchase I’ve made so far in relation to my computer set up was a better chair. I waited WAY too long to do it.

  12. Anon4This*

    As a mom of teenagers and wife of a man not currently working, my biggest challenge is interruptions. It doesn’t seem to matter how often we talk about the fact that I’m working (and no one else is) means I am not available. Yet my mere physical presence means I’m constantly being asked to do things that they are all perfectly capable of doing for themselves. It’s exhausting. I’ve started going in to the office 2x a week even though I don’t have to just to get away.

    1. KimmyBear*

      I hide in my basement. Seriously. I turned a closet into an office. My 4 year old doesn’t come down on his own and my husband (also not working) only comes down if he really needs something from storage.

      1. Anon4This*

        I wish I had a basement or someplace I could close the door, but our house is REALLY tiny. My options are the living room or kitchen. I finally set up a desk in the living room after 6 months at the kitchen table which has helped a little- at least I’m further away from people getting food- and I plan to buy a room divider to further separate my ‘office’ from the family.

    2. Ditto*

      So much this. I have two college students and a spouse also doing remote work from our fairly open plan small house. And one is studying voice for Opera performance. Concentration is just… not a thing anymore.

    3. Observer*

      Start saying no, even after work. And when you are at work, feel free to stop them and ask “is this an emergency?” and if the answer is no, end the conversation.

      1. Anon4This*

        If only it were so easy. But then I get told I’m a bad mother for not caring for my family. *yes I realize we have way bigger problems than office space*

        1. tyrannosaurus vex*

          “True. During work hours I am a terrible mother who does not care about her family, so you’ll have to manage on your own from 9 to 5.”

    4. Dr. Rebecca*

      Ooooh, I’d be severely tempted to use a spray bottle, like for naughty kittens.

      “…hey honey?” *SPRITZZ*

    5. Amy*

      I hope this isn’t overstepping, but your comment reminded me about this letter to Captain Awkward: https://captainawkward.com/2018/08/24/1137-theres-no-room-in-the-room-of-my-own/
      Unfortunately, it was pre-COVID and the advice is to go out and it was only for an hour once a week. Do read the comments though, there might be helpful things. The commenters helpfully highlighted this one: https://www.thecut.com/article/ask-a-boss-i-work-from-home-and-my-mom-wont-stop-talking.html which talks more about boundary setting.

      1. Anon4This*

        Not overstepping and thanks, I’ll take a look. I do have a therapist and we talk about boundary setting but I also live with incredibly manipulative people who know just how to work my mom guilt, so it’s tough.

    6. Libby*

      Yes, I had a similar situation at home not so much them asking me to do things but forgetting to be quiet when I am on calls, etc. I am so much more productive at the office and it was just easier to go back full time vs a couple days a week due to monitors, chairs, files, etc.

    7. Megumin*

      I get annoyed when my 5 year old keeps interrupting me for things she can do herself…..it would probably drive me batty if she was teenaged, because they are typically capable of a lot more than a 5 year old!

    8. Elbereth Gilthoniel*

      Yes! I miss my office. I think what I miss most about it is having a door that closes, and signals to everyone that I need uninterrupted work time. I work in my bedroom, and closing the door at home seems to just signal “feel free to open the door and waltz on in whenever you want to” Sigh

    9. Sled dog mama*

      I’m with you, I have a 6 year old who just can’t seem to leave me alone and uses “but mommy I love you so much that want to be with you” to mean I want to hang on you and ask you questions and generally interrupt your work. I also have a 42 year old kid who can’t quite seem to grasp that working from home means I do have actual work to get done and I don’t just get to twiddle my thumbs. Best one yet was the day he walks up to me, hey you said it’s a quiet day, wanna go to the furniture shop 40 minutes away and look for a bench for the entrance?
      Um no I’m working.
      But you said you don’t have anything to do and you took the puppy to the vet last so why is that ok but furniture shopping isn’t?
      If I really have to answer that we’ve got bigger issues. (Also because I cleared it with my boss to take an hour to take the puppy to the vet just like if I’d been working in the office, I am not asking if I can go three counties away to look for an entry bench during work hours when we’re supposed to be working from home due to COVID!)

    10. Ampersand*

      You must have boys! My son will interrupt me in a meeting to ask/tell me something when his dad is sitting right there not doing anything. Sympathy here!

      1. Anon4This*

        Nope, two girls. Even when I was in the office they would call me to ask questions even though their dad was right there in the house. I know *not all men* but based solely on my friend group’s experience, dads are pretty useless.

  13. Lugan Locky*

    I miss having my own space where I could close the door and be alone. I also miss sitting in my car and singing loudly each morning. My commute was only about 15 minutes in the morning, but I liked having my ME TIME. I love wearing what I want, my new two hour lunch break, and fewer interruptions by coworkers.

    1. Justme, the OG*

      I also miss the me time in my short commute. I would switch over to NPR as soon as I dropped my kid off at school and I don’t really listen to it now that I’m not in my car.

    2. Rachel*

      Yes! I miss my 25 minute commute. I would often call my sister or mom just to talk while I drove, and I really liked driving home because the evening view is so pretty.

    3. TW*

      After 7 years of cubicle work, I was finally getting an office with a door AND a standing desk. (There weren’t inside walls, previously; the entire space was open-concept.) And then the pandemic.

  14. Ali G*

    I don’t miss the commute, but I do miss my interactions with coworkers. I’ve gone in a few times here and there and it does give me a recharge. I am not comfortable going back a lot yet, but even though I eventually have the choice to stay home for good, I will go in a few days a week.

  15. Chainsaw Bear*

    I really really miss having a separate space, as well as interacting with coworkers. My apartment was a perfect size for myself and my roommate before this, and now it just feels cramped and I don’t have space for a desk anywhere outside my bedroom – which I’d rather not barricade myself in all day. I also only started my job in January, so the learning curve became quite a bit steeper once we started working remotely.

    1. F.M.*

      I miss interacting with coworkers too. We have a Slack, but it’s nothing like casual chat once in a while. The animal parts of my brain miss just SEEING people; I spent months in this apartment with no other humans around, and while my housemate is back now, I still miss just… being near people. I’m an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I want complete isolation!

      I also miss the separate space. It was good for work-life separation, and I also had a proper cubicle, with room for books, for writing spaces, for a mouse and a laptop riser and a larger keyboard… The only place I can effectively work in my apartment is on my bed, and sitting on the bed with my laptop on my lap 98% of my waking hours is a nightmare for my posture, and for my ability to focus. Plus now I can’t really do anything on paper, which is making my executive dysfunction reaction to the constant stress even work. And have you tried propping open three reference books around you on the bed while writing on your lap and fending off the dog? NOT A FAN.

      …also, I commuted by a combo of bus/train/walking (depending on the weather and time of day), so now I’m getting no exercise. And getting a lot less reading done, since most of my leisure reading was done while on the bus or train. It’s a significant downgrade in almost every way.

      I guess the only positive I can think of is that I can get to the kitchen easily for snack breaks, and spend less time commuting. But… I liked my commute for both exercise and leisure reasons. And I had a nice little kettle at my cubicle anyway. So it’s not much positive. I wish I could go back.

      1. Cat lady*

        I really miss seeing and interacting with my colleagues too! There are a few that I am close with that I text (which is not the same) and my boss but I miss all the other people was a casually friends with.

        Now most days I only see my partner and it is driving me pretty crazy! I miss having more work/life separation.
        I also miss reading on the bus or biking to work as a way to start my day. I feel like I didn’t mind/miss all these things for the first few months but new 6 months in a really see how much I like those parts of my day.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      I feel your pain. I’m actually back in the office (small company, only 3 employees physically in the office and we can be distanced from each other). I volunteered to go back as fast as humanly (and safely) possible.

      I live in a small house with a roommate. She runs a small business from home, so we agreed that she could have the two smaller bedrooms and I would take the “big” bedroom with the in-suite bathroom (it’s really not my bigger than the others). She gets an office, I get a bigger closet. Win win! Well…pre-Covid it was…

      When I went to working from home I had to bring my desktop computer to my house. The only place to set up a small table for it was in the living room (which luckily is large). That meant I had to be out in the common area for at least 5 hours a day. I had to do video meetings from there, so I would always give her a heads up. Well, even with trying to be as considerate possible, I guess I was driving her nuts. She was NOT happy about the situation and started being very passive-aggressive and disruptive to my meetings. I don’t know what she expected me to do differently…it’s not like I could go anywhere else! I had talked to her before putting the computer area up in the living room. I would have had to completely rearrange my bedroom to find wall space for it. Everything I had done to make my workstation had been discussed with her and done with the intention of trying not to be inconsdirate. Even so, she was being pretty unreasonable about the whole thing.

      So, long story short, I went back the office as soon as my boss ok’d it and I felt safe to do so. Luckily I had that option. Home life has been considerably better since then, but I still plan on moving out when our lease ends!

  16. Boopers*

    Not really, honestly. I miss seeing people in person and enjoying the unplanned connections with them throughout the day, but otherwise no. I’m an introvert and would book phone rooms to work in constantly so as not to be disturbed; now that’s the norm!

    We went public recently, and it would have been great to celebrate and share the moment in person with coworkers. A Zoom celebration was not the same.

    I will however concede that it’s been difficult remotely training a new hire when I’m more comfortable with them shadowing me as I go about my day.

    Okay, I guess I do miss the office.

    1. Wine Not Whine*

      You’ve hit my main worry: training. I loved WFH with my old job, largely because I had an ebb-and-flow of work and I didn’t have to “look busy” when I was at a slow part of the cycle.
      But now that I’m job hunting (COVID-related layoff), I know it’s going to be exhausting getting up to speed with a new company, new industry, and new role. And double all that because it all has to be done by phone and video.
      I know it’s doable – it’s just not gonna be easy!

  17. ThinMint*

    I miss the time in the car to and from work. It was a good space to decompress. I had nothing to accomplish except driving to pick up the kids. Now, when I leave my desk, I’m immediately home and see all the stuff I need to get done.

    I miss wearing my fun work clothes, but can’t bring myself to get ‘dressed up’ to go into my basement.

    1. Kate*

      I totally relate on the drive home- my drive was only 10-15 minutes but to have that time to decompress and have a few minutes after work-mode before you have to go into mom-mode was more crucial than I realized.

    2. Boopers*

      The commute is actually the part that makes me not want to go back the most, because it’s a 30 minute public bus ride in SF and I do not miss being a sardine with no personal space between myself and the guy doing crack behind me. Or the woman coughing without covering her mouth. Or the street dog who’s sweet but smells like sour garbage and now he’s rubbing against my leg. Blerg.

    3. KimmyBear*

      Yup. I had a 40 minute commute so I would listen to music, call my mom (hands free), and decompress. Now my commute is up the stairs.

      1. Kimmy Schmidt*

        Me too! Yoga pants and sweats are comfy and all, but I like clothes and shoes and fun jewelry and finding cool pieces in bright colors. I always feel like I’m a little bit of an actor putting on my costume and it gets me in the right mindset. I haven’t been able to replicate that at home, and I now have this closet full of stuff that isn’t being worn.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Same (except I have TWO closets packed with goodies I can no longer wear/play in). I was dressing up at the beginning of COVID lockdowns because it was a habit from before; however, with restaurants shutting down and stores being packed and me being terrified to even leave my apartment building for fear of contamination (thanks, OCD!), I no longer had a reason to get dressed because I wasn’t going outside at all during the day like I used to to pick up lunch or run quick errands.

          I also discovered that doing my in home exercising midway through my work day instead of after hours energized me, powering me through the last few hours of work. So I began changing from pajamas to work out clothes in the morning, and now that’s all I seem to wear *sigh.* I do occasionally put on makeup, though, when someone schedules a meeting with me and asks me to turn on my camera in advance (my company isn’t really big on video – we only use the audio portion of Teams). Still, I miss getting dolled up every morning and having somewhere to go during the day.

    4. Caramel & Cheddar*

      There was definitely a day where I put on the sparkly dress I wore to our holiday party last year. I have absolutely nowhere to wear it, so any random day was as good as any! :D

    5. Megumin*

      I’m surprised that I miss my work clothes, too! I’ve always been pretty averse to wearing anything much more than jeans and t-shirt but I don’t even want to pull out my “nice” t-shirts while I’m working from home, because I have 2 small children around, and EVERYTHING gets messed up. So I’m basically just wearing the same grungy leggings and tees on repeat. Even though my work dress code is really casual, I miss being able to put on the nice jeans and t-shirts….

  18. Kate*

    I was full-time in the office pre-pandemic and as an introvert I thought I would love working at home, but I really miss the interaction with my coworkers (just being able to pop in with a quick question, or taking a break to just chat for a few minutes). I’m definitely struggling with that, and miss getting dressed up and going out a bit (as a mom with small kids, that was my only time to put on makeup and heels and athleisure wear has been nice but I’m starting to miss my old wardrobe too!)

    1. FeelingUncreativeCreative*

      Hi fellow introvert! I thought the same. First 2 weeks of lockdown, I was like YES, CANCEL ALL THE PLANS. And now I really miss the balance of being social and having the casual chats, and the downtime I really need.

    2. A Cataloger*

      I agree, as another introvert, I thought it would be awesome and for a large part it is, I can now indulge my desire to stay in. But I find I am missing the balance of casual chats and seeing other people occasionally with my desire for isolation. Sometimes I wonder how much of it is that I live alone (with 2 cats who are great, but they don’t really talk back in a sensible manner, it’s all about food or cuddles with them). It’s been a little better a few women from one of my knitting group formed a pod and meet for dinner and knitting once a week.

    3. Data Nerd*

      Oh thank goodness, I thought that was just me! I’d be perfectly happy with one or two days a week in the office and the rest WFH, but the total day-in-day-out of being inside my house all the time was really draining. Although I kept up a lot better with the laundry.

    4. Kat*

      As an introvert and also shy person, I felt like work provided a very low-effort way to socialize and build relationships. Work comes with people you have something in common with, built-in conversation topics, and natural conversation-enders (gotta get back for a meeting!). I don’t actually miss it, but I had gotten pretty good at it and my friendly relationships with my co-workers was beneficial to my career. It takes a lot more energy and risk to try to maintain those relationships remotely so I worry that it will hurt me professionally not having easy space for those interactions.

    5. Bostonian*

      I hear you on the wardrobe part. I just switched over my closet to fall clothes, and I was putting away into storage so many summer clothes that I love but I didn’t wear this year because I wasn’t going into the office. :-(

    6. Grace Poole*

      As an introvert who lives alone, being at home used to be my way to decompress from having to be out and about and on all day at work. Spending a quiet day/weekend at home was refreshing. Now every day is a quiet day at home.

    7. JustaTech*

      Yeah, I’m surprised how much I miss having lunch with coworkers, or even just chatting around the coffee machine.

      That said, the bosses having lunch parties where we’re supposed to come in and eat in the (very large, generously spaced) lunchroom stresses me out more than anything right now. I guess it’s where I’m putting all my 2020 anxiety. I did it once and I refused the next invite and have already planned my escape from today’s “happy hour” (I have to go in to scan more stuff, wee). If I’m not taking the risk to eat with my friends, why the heck would I take that risk with my coworkers?

    8. Anxious Cat Servant*

      Saaaaaame. I’ve been a student forever, including finishing my masters with mostly online classes and I thought I’d be the perfect candidate for WFH. Even our house is perfect – a bit too large for just DH and I with plenty of space for me to setup a home office.

      Turns out I like the idea but I CANNOT focus. Even with all the tricks, no kids, no valid reasons to be distracted I’d still end my workday realizing I only actually worked for a small portion of it and still had lots to do.

      Fortunately our office was able to reopen to those of us who want to be back since we each have our own private office and plenty of room to social distance. I’m back and productive again and with a new realization that I will not be doing any WFH again if at all avoidable.

  19. AurynGold*

    I would attribute 100% of my desire to return to in-office work as a desire to return to normal life. It would be one way for me to get some social interaction… not to mention Vitamin D!

    But if I had a genie in a bottle, I’d wish for:
    1. Everyone’s dependent care needs are met
    2. Everyone has enough social and emotional support
    3. I get to wear my coffee-stained college sweatshirt while working.

    1. Faberge Otter*

      I would second this. I’ve noticed that what so many people are complaining about are how I felt every working day of my life pre-pandemic: frightened, lonely, stuck somewhere they don’t want to be. It was physical torture dragging myself out of the house every day. I was nearly at a breaking point at the beginning of March, and the pandemic was not even on my radar as I cried all the way home from work every day.

      I am happier working from home than I have been at any point in the previous six years, and I never want to stop. But I know it’s trashing some people’s mental health, so I really hope what we can all take away from this year is: Everyone has different needs. Some people die a little inside when they’re stuck in the house; some people die inside when they’re forced to leave. Since we’ve now all experienced what it’s like to be unhappy/happy doing what we don’t like/do like, I hope we can all gain some empathy and patience for others and be more generous about finding solutions to people’s dream ways-to-work.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I can relate to this somewhat. I have severe anxiety and I finally (after years of trying meds that were ineffective and being shamed by doctors for wanting/needing controlled substance medications) met with a psychiatrist who suggested my current medication, and that I take it every day instead of “as needed”, and so I had a little under a month of good mental health before the pandemic hit.

        And honestly…as hard as it is navigating the mental health ramifications of the pandemic, it’s a huge weight off my shoulders that I don’t have to navigate the hell that is being a person with social anxiety in an open office. Before I was trying to figure out what combination of retreating to the bathroom or nursing room to meditate or have a panic attack, staying home to work on some days vs coming in, forcing myself to go to happy hours knowing I’d need a day or two to recover vs. missing out and becoming more distant from my team…

        I sorely miss in-person social interactions, hard as they were, but having them be something I need to actively seek out now rather than something that’s forced on me by my job (and that uses up all my social spoons I’d prefer to use with friends or family) has been sort of a silver lining.

        I think my ideal situation once the virus goes away is to have one or two days I go in to work and do the rest working from home; I was kind of doing that before anyway but my boss wasn’t happy about it.

  20. tazdevil*

    I miss the mundane chit chat, coming into the office on Monday morning and saying “good morning” and wishing everyone a great weekend when I leave on Friday evening.

    1. beanie gee*

      YES! Since I now only chat with my coworkers when we are actually in a meeting, we don’t get the more informal interactions. MS Teams just isn’t the same.

      1. allathian*

        This is the reason I love our Friday “coffee break”, 30 minutes of completely voluntary non-work chat.

    2. pancakes*

      If there was good camaraderie in your office I bet other people miss it too — maybe an optional Monday morning and/or Friday evening zoom chat / coffee break / happy hour would be well-attended? I’m thinking 30 minutes where people could pop in and chat with whoever else is on.

  21. Web Crawler*

    I was working from home 90% of the time before COVID, so I thought that 100% would be easy. It’s not. I deeply miss having the option to be around coworkers.

    1. MissGirl*

      That’s how I am. I miss interactions, lunches, getting out. I never want to go back to full time but I would like to go back to one or two days.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, me too. But only once the pandemic is behind us to the extent that we no longer have to wear masks in public. I can deal with it for a 45-minute commute, but not for a whole working day.

  22. a username*

    Would love to hear others’ takes on the loss of a commute. It’s really the only thing I missed – I’m a bike commuter and I took for granted how much getting my blood pumping in the morning helped get me going. I also realized how valuable the physical delineation of the day was in helping me check out from my work and enjoy my evening without thinking about it. I think I’ve found a way that works for me (I walk or jog with my dog right after clocking out on days I’m still remote), but in general would love to hear the discussion – are you reassessing the way you commute? How has losing your commute improved or negatively impacted your work / life separation?

    1. Anna*

      I’ve talked to a few people who have kept their pre-Covid schedules, including “commuting” by walking or biking for the same amount of time their commute used to take, at the times they used to travel to and from the office. Seems like a nice way to schedule the day, if you can swing it.

    2. Jellyfish*

      I don’t miss the driving and parking, but I did physically walk around far more before we went remote. It was about half a mile from the parking lot to my office alone, and I usually walked at lunch too. My neighborhood isn’t great for walking, and I haven’t found a way to make up for that loss.

      1. Colette*

        When we first started WFH, I realized how much walking I did to go to the bathroom or kitchen; that kind of activity went way down.

        1. Ama*

          Yes! My desk is on the complete opposite end of the floor from the bathroom and the copier, and I really didn’t realize how much walking I was getting in on a normal work day (much less going to fetch lunch every day, the 15 minute walk from the subway to the office, etc.). I’ve had to take up running to make up for how much less I move around in a work day.

    3. londonedit*

      I’m still keeping to my normal running schedule, but what I have lost is my 15-minute walk to the station every morning and evening, and walking around at lunchtime. I’m just not walking as much as I did! I try to get myself out for a walk, but I find it hard to motivate myself as I’m not going anywhere, just ambling round the park! Now that it looks like WFH might go on for at least another six months here, I really do need to make an effort to fit more walking into my life (difficult as we’re heading into winter – lunchtime will soon be my only option if I don’t want to wander around in the dark!)

      1. Quill*

        A couple summers ago I took what I jokingly called the “pokemon go excercise program” and I really need to get back to it.

        There is no way to get me exercising without a reward because my brain does not produce enough “this is a good idea” juice to do that on its own.

        1. londonedit*

          Running does that for me, but walking doesn’t unless it’s a walk in a lovely park on a glorious sunny day. Which is not the weather we’re currently experiencing!

    4. Matilda Jefferies*

      I used to do most of my reading on the commute, and I haven’t quite been able to carve out the time to do it at home. (Kids, yanno.) I miss reading.

    5. Matt*

      I had this discussion with someone — as a bike commuter, I think I’m the rare person who misses their commute. 100% agree, even a 15-minute ride into the office did more to energize me for the day than any cup of coffee.

      As a non-morning person, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to start my WFH days with some kind of exercise. I have been able to run or bike more after work (or sometimes during) which is great, but I’m really dreading the Upper Midwest winter that’s looming on the horizon… that might be the catalyst that gets me to go back to the gym.

      1. Faberge Otter*

        I love biking, so I also have to put in here: where I live, it is literally impossible to bike anywhere meaningful. Freeways, no bike trail, no sidewalks, half the time no shoulder even. So no commute actually means more time to be on a bike, since biking requires driving somewhere to do it.

      2. SarahKay*

        I have the same problem as you. I walked to work, 1.5 miles each way, and making myself fit that sort of walking in now is not easy. Especially as I, too, am not a morning person.
        In addition, I haven’t actually gained any time by cutting out the commute. Previously I’d eat lunch at the (heavily subsidised) work canteen and just have toast or something similarly light and easy in the evening. Now my walking time is spent making a main meal and washing up after.

        1. JustaTech*

          I keep asking myself where my morning commute time went. I get up at the same time, take the same shower, wear the same clothes, eat pretty much the same breakfast and yet even without my drive I’m still logging in 5-10 minutes later.
          My only guess is that making and drinking my coffee before I start my “work day” (I used to drink coffee at work instead of at home) is making me spend a little more time with the newspaper in the morning.

      3. allathian*

        Do you feel safe going to the gym? I wouldn’t… I also wouldn’t feel comfortable exercising with a mask on. That said, I’m really happy we have both a stationary bike and a treadmill in our basement gym…

        We’re not rich by any means, but my husband and I decided early on in our marriage to invest in a big house, so we have the space. We’ll be paying off our mortgage until we retire. Especially in these pandemic times, I think we definitely made the right choice. Some of my friends who live in tiny apartments so they could afford to go out to restaurants weekly and concerts monthly, and to travel to the other side of the world twice a year, are currently rather miserable…

    6. Faberge Otter*

      I’m getting about 90 more minutes of sleep per day without having to commute, and consequently feel more awake and alert. It’s also saving me money on gas, oil changes, and I can’t even calculate how much longer my truck is going to last now that I’m only driving it a couple of times a month. I’m also spending more of the day standing and walking. It’s been all good news for me (and my cat, whose mental health is 100% better not being left alone all day every day).

      The big problem was going from “work screen” to “home/play screen” and in the first weeks, I was having tremendous trouble sleeping until I started making myself take at least an hour after work and half an hour before bed (minimally) to cook, take a bath, read, just anything other than looking at a screen. And without a commute, I suddenly have two hours free for hobbies and have rediscovered my love of making miniatures, carving lino stamps, working with clay, and I’ve also started carnivorous gardening! I dread the inevitable return to commuting like a monster waiting to devour all my mental health.

      1. allathian*

        I’m a morning person by nature, and I love being able to start working by 6.30 or 7. I get up around 5.30 as I normally would. There are some distractions at home, especially in the morning before my son leaves for school or in the afternoon when he gets back home. Unless there’s an afternoon meeting scheduled, I’ve usually stopped working by 3.30 or 4. I love it!

    7. Nicki Name*

      I used to bike to transit, and I really miss that! I’ve replaced it with a walk in the morning and evening. I was worried about not being able to stick with the routine since I didn’t absolutely have to go somewhere, but somehow I’ve kept at it for six months. We’ll see how it goes during winter, though.

      I’m still able to get on the bike about once a week for errands, at least.

      1. Waiting to be Future Endeavored*

        I love WFH. It’s been a dream of mine for awhile. My setup is not ideal because I’m in my bedroom and there are children and a sitter here. But in a couple weeks, the younger kid will start back at daycare and it’ll be just me, my husband (who already was WFH 4 days a week before this), and a first grader. She does interrupt me sometimes, but it’s still better than when I was in a cube with poor HVAC overhearing other people’s non-work conversations, including awkward spousal phone calls.
        I was able to get my work desktop and work chair. The home desk serves its purpose.
        I don’t miss the rush out the door in the morning. And I’ve gotten better at stopping at the end of the day. And making use of my exempt status where some days are longer and some are shorter.
        I don’t miss traveling between locations for meetings because it turns out we can do all of this remotely!
        I miss the built in physical activity — walking from the train, biking, or even walking between meeting locations.
        I miss seeing work friends at the rec center for lunchtime classes.
        I miss seeing work friends for lunch.
        I live in leggings and shirts, often no bra and no shoes. I try to walk in the morning and build in workout time during the day.
        I message with work friends and some people are on Slack. Teams is also being used more.
        I meet up with people outside wearing masks for socialization.
        We also have a lot more family time in the evening, so in general everything feels less rushed. We even went down to one car.
        Once it’s only 3 of us, I hope to use the laptop more and sit at the table or the couch when I want a change of scenery. Or maybe even outside.

    8. F.M.*

      I miss my commute too! I had a lot of flexibility on how to do it–bus, train, walking, some combination of the above, and in each direction–so I could take a leisurely ride while reading a book on my phone, or get some exercise, and then change my mind and do it the other way on the way home too. It was a great line between Home and Work, and also, as it turns out, 95% of my exercise. And about 80% of my leisure reading time.

      I’ve been trying to find a way to get that back into my life, but it turns out I’m really resistant to exercise just for the sake of exercise; I love walking places if I need to be there, not so much just walking for the sake of walking. Especially if I don’t like the weather. It’s doing a number on my health.

      1. Nicki Name*

        Yeah, it took a couple months for me to start reading regularly again because I did a lot of my reading on the transit part of my commute. I’ve gotten back in the habit by making it part of my no-screen time for the hour or so before bedtime.

    9. Jackalope*

      I miss my bike commute as well! I’ve tried to keep riding every day, but it’s still down somewhat. I would commute every day by bike rain or shine, but that’s a bit harder when I don’t *have* to get on my bike.

    10. lemon*

      Also missing my commute. I usually do a mix of walking and public transportation, and it was great to just have time in the morning to zone out and listen to music or read on my way to work. Plus, I was getting a lot more exercise. I was trying to go on more walks and bike rides over the summer to make up for this but got kind of bored constantly walking/biking around the same areas. I found that I had to stick close to home for bathroom breaks, lol, since a lot of public restrooms aren’t available right now. And also, what made walking around work fun was the fact I worked downtown– I liked seeing the hustle and bustle of the city. My neighborhood is pretty quiet and residential, so definitely not as fun.

    11. Ginny*

      I don’t miss spending > 1 hour in the car most days, but I did bike commute sometimes, and I miss having exercise built into my routine.

      The physical delineation thing is huge for me! It’s usually a mistake when I work in my bedroom, and try to at least go to other parts of the house to work. It also helps me to have a separate work computer that I shut when I am done with the workday, so I don’t get lured into tasks during off hours.

      I’ll be starting a new job in a new city this winter, and this experience has reinforced that I want a mid-length commute that gives some separation but doesn’t eat up all my free time.G

    12. kathjnc*

      Agreed. My bike commute was about an hour round trip and somehow that time seems to have evaporated from my day rather than being available for some other activity. Motivation is also hard – previously it was just how I got to work and home, not something I had to actively choose to do each day. I’ve been much more sedentary since working from home, and I’ve noticed the difference to my mood and energy level. (I also, a little bit, miss the evil glee of shadenfreude mixed with ecological self-righteousness I would get from passing cars at rush hour – I know, I know, I’m a terrible person ;) ) Definitely something I need to create a new routine for, as it’s going to be awhile before I get that commute back!

    13. Mademoiselle Sugar Lump*

      I miss the radio shows I listened to on the way to work. Nothing’s stopping me from listening to them now, though I don’t have to get up as early and they’re not on later.

      1. pancakes*

        Have you checked the station’s website? I’d be surprised if the shows aren’t available for streaming later via podcast or some other format.

    14. Anxious Cat Servant*

      Back in grad school a move for DH’s job put me almost an hour away from school so switching to online classes when possible was fantastic – I saved so much time and money plus it gave me more flexibility.

      I thought it would be the same now with work, though my commute is far shorter. And I think that shorter part is the problem – if I had a 45min or more commute then I’d probably be thrilled to have that time back. However a 15min commute is, it turns out, just right to get me in work mode. If I ever had a job that required me to work remotely or from home then I’d have to find some way to add some sort of ‘commute’ into my mornings.

      I am jealous that you were able to bike to work. That’s not a safe option here (I don’t feel like battling overcompensating pickup trucks for road space) so I have to commute via car and get my cardio in elsewhere.

    15. Trekker*

      Missing my bike commute is the hardest part for me too, and top of it the summer club rides I’d have been doing were cancelled too! I end up just working later or sitting around unmotivated. I’m working on getting into a rhythm of drifting for the winter, I’ve signed up for a training plan so I’m hoping I can commit to carving out that time for myself at least 3 days a week.

    16. Kristobel*

      I don’t miss the drive – it was usually 30 minutes to go 7-ish miles (you can guess one of three cities I live in), which was stressful. But it was nice to have that time to clearly separate home life from work life. Like leaving the house in the morning, listening to NPR, getting my brain working and then on the way home, listening to music and just decompressing. I really miss the clear break between work and home, and having time completely to myself. I used to work from home one day a week, and it was such a treat because I didn’t have to drive and I got the house to myself. Now it’s just home all the time.

  23. Mel_05*

    I adore working from home. The only thing I’m not a fan of is that my home computer set up is not nearly as nice as my work computer set up. And we weren’t allowed to bring those home. They’re not laptops, so that would have been complicated anyway.

    I do sometimes miss more casual conversations with the people in my office suite, but we still chat some on slack, so it’s not as if I don’t chat with them at all.

    1. Faberge Otter*

      Our company sent extra monitors home with us, but the laptops are so tiny, I pretty much can’t use that screen. I’m making do all right on it, though. I am the teensiest bit tired of my work space clogging up my dining area–not a lot of extra room in a 900 sq ft apartment–but if 98% of every work day was irritating to me in the office, I’ll gladly exchange that for a 2% annoying thing in WFH.

    2. Mayati*

      Same here. My work is solitary by nature and requires a lot of focus, so pop-in conversations just didn’t happen that often in the office. It’s actually much nicer to chat on Teams, because that way we’re not bothering the person in the next cube over, and if we’re busy, we don’t have to answer “so how was the weekend?” until we have a free second. I miss physically being around people sometimes, but in normal times I could just go to a coffee shop.

    3. AnonEMoose*

      This is pretty much where I land. My husband’s job is considered essential, so he’s still going to work. Which doesn’t make me super happy, but they are screening people, requiring masks, and encouraging as much distancing as possible.

      So during the day, it’s just me and the cats at home. I invested in an additional monitor and a docking station for my laptop, so I have dual monitors. Still futzing with my setup, but it works well enough.

      I bought a small stepping machine, so I try to get 10 minutes on that around lunchtime, and another 10-15 minutes after I log out, so I’m getting at least a little exercise.

      I do miss the casual chats with my coworkers, and I miss bringing in baked goods from time to time. And I do miss the occasional lunch with a couple of coworkers from other departments that I consider friends.

      But…fewer interruptions is nice, and I’m spending a lot less money on lunch, and I’m not running to the bakery…or Caribou…or the convenience store. So it’s helping my bank balance and I’m actually mostly eating healthier.

      1. Mel_05*

        Yes, my husband also has to go into work. And we don’t have kids, so I can work undistracted.

        We already had a dedicated office area, but my work requires a lot of processing power and my home computer struggles to keep up.

        Also saving tons of money not grabbing snacks or swinging by Target on my break!

  24. West*

    My commute was over an hour each way, and I work 8:30-5:30. I would only be home for 12 hours a day, most of that time was sleeping. I love working from home and can’t imagine going back to the old way.

    1. Faberge Otter*

      Yes, yes, yes. My commute wasn’t usually that severe, but if you started the clock when I walked out the door, I was working 8:30 to 6 most days and obviously the aggravating time on the road wasn’t paid. My life was a grind of waking up, going to work, coming home, and squeezing a few hours of relaxation before showering and collapsing into bed to do it again. I’ve actually rediscovered hobbies, reading, and sleeping the full 8.5 hours my body wants. I never, ever, ever want to go back.

    2. Clever username goes here*

      For me it’s the sleep, too – getting up at 7 as opposed to 5:15 makes a HUGE difference. Right now I’m WFH twice a week, I am thinking of stretching it to 3 if work allows. Plus, the two hours I don’t spend commuting are often spent working, so I’m getting way more done.

  25. Jolene*

    I miss going in to the office. I miss seeing my colleagues. I miss being forced to take a shower and put on a bit of makeup each morning. I miss my company gym and cafeteria. Given the circumstances, it doesn’t feel so much like we’re “working at home” right now but instead we’re “living at work.”

    I think my ideal in the After Times would be to WAH 2 days per week and go to the office 3 days per week.

  26. chocolate lover*

    I hate working from home with a passion. I didn’t want to do it before pandemic, and the last 6 months have absolutely confirmed everything I feared it would. I’m essentially trapped at home by myself while my husband goes to work, and I’m stuck with his obnoxious pet. I don’t own a car, so I’m dependent on public transportation, which I’m still reluctant to take that often because I’m in a high risk population. So now I’m wallowing in my anxiety and depression, and eating my way through the house.

    I’m physically uncomfortable. I’ve bought various pieces of furniture and accessories like a standing desk converter to have a designated place to work and make it semi comfortable without completely disrupting my feeling of home and sanctuary, which hasn’t been all that successful.

    I’m sick of staring at the computer screen for zoom meetings. I even miss my lengthy work commute on public transportation.

    The day I was told I’d be working at home at least through December, I crawled on the couch and cried. I’m pretty sure I’ll be working from home in the spring, too, but they haven’t officially confirmed that.

    1. SpicySpice*

      Ugh, I’m so sorry. I don’t have any useful advice but I hope you get through it. We’re all rooting for you!

    2. Archie Goodwin*

      I’m with you. My team was working from home for three months – I hated it. I can’t get used to it; I’m not comfortable with it. Never have been. I don’t know why; maybe my home setup isn’t conducive to it, maybe my old work habits are too ingrained, I’m not sure.

      We got the all-clear to come back to the office on at least a modified schedule at the end of June. I’m here every day, which I can get away with largely because almost no one else is and I’m alone in the office. Which is great; I have some peace, but enough other people in other offices to interact with once in a while. I can keep my lunch routine, and my commute. It’s not perfect, but it’s allowed me to have some semblance of normalcy.

      I like having work-from-home as an option, so I don’t have to take vacation time when there’s bad weather, but otherwise I like my office arrangement.

      1. Shan*

        This is me exactly. We were never technically banned from coming in, but it was heavily discouraged. And I was miserable! When our province began gradually reopening at the end of May, I started going in once a week and loved it. After about a month I upped it to two days, and then at the beginning of September I switched to three days. My mental health is SO much better. Having a distinct routine, being able to chat with my barista while getting my morning coffee, interacting with the handful of colleagues who also come in – it gave me a sense of normalcy that was missing when I was WFH 100%. I also find that my anxiety around everything has really gone down. I’m still careful, obviously, and mask/sanitize/social distance, but going to the grocery store no longer feels like shipping off to war.

        With winter coming, I appreciate that I’ll have the option to stay home when it’s -40 or the snow’s so thick you need to tunnel through it, but I like it to just be that – an option.

    3. Jackalope*

      I hear you. I do have things I like about working from home, but I miss my co-workers, and I don’t have a great at-home setup. Plus you alluded to one thing that’s hard: the uncertainty. We have NO IDEA when we will be going back into the office, and that’s been the case since we left.

      I also find that… I struggle with depression, but getting into the office gives me the chance to be my professional self, who is perkier than my at-home self. It’s not like acting a part; I honestly just feel different at work, like I can set aside personal worries and focus on work. I don’t get that right now. I’m stressed and frightened about politics right now, and normally I would be able to forget about that for 8 hours a day. Which right now… I can’t.

  27. FeelingUncreativeCreative*

    Yes! I didn’t think I would, but I definitely miss the office.

    I miss the casual interactions, when I email or request a meeting with people now, it feels like I’m escalating an issue, when before it would have been an informal chat.

    I’ve also noticed how much of my work does NOT involve a laptop or screen. Going from an office environment where I’m in meetings, hosting workshops and working with other people in my team, to sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day has been a huge adjustment for me.

    I’m also finding it really hard to concentrate and I’m having a bit of a crisis of confidence. I work in a creative role, and I’m really, really not feeling inspired or creative at the moment!

    I think my ideal would be a couple of days a week in the office, and the rest from home, I appreciate some bits of the flexibility and perks, but definitely miss the interactions and office environment.

    Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest! I look forward to reading other comments, I’m sure I’m not alone!

  28. old curmudgeon*

    I don’t miss the setting – a tiny space in a huge grey cube-farm with major HVAC problems is in no way preferable to my sunny home office with cats lounging on the cat-tree next to my desk. The kitchen table where I started out was not great, but since acquiring a desk and converting an unused spare bedroom into an office, the space at home is vastly much better than my office. I also don’t have anyone else at home while I work, which I know is a major difference from many folks; my kids are adults in their own homes, and my spouse is considered “essential” so goes into his office daily, and as a result, the only sounds I hear are classical music and an occasional feline squabble.

    But I really miss being able to run ideas/questions past my coworkers in a quick convo between other tasks. I miss seeing faces, sharing laughter, brainstorming together, all those things that are easy in person but really challenging at a distance. My employer doesn’t use any of those teams or zooms or slacks that others have mentioned; we can use skype for meetings, but that’s about it. And that is not an ideal medium for spontaneous conversation.

    1. Matilda Jefferies*

      Yes! I’ve been working on a 13-inch laptop since March, after having 2 x 17″ monitors at work. My husband upgraded his computer recently and we attached his old 19″ to my laptop, so now I have my dual monitors again. It’s like working on a movie screen!

    2. SpicySpice*

      I actually broke down and bought a cheapo $25 monitor online so I could have dual monitors at home. It really does make a difference! One screen is obnoxious when you get used to two.

      1. Quill*

        I lucked out at the beginning of all of this: my brother and I both raided my dad’s stash of lightly used electronics for previous computer setups and went home with an old monitor apiece, and in my case a USB keyboard – desperately needed given how teeny the ones on laptops are.

        1. allathian*

          I hear you, I really dislike my laptop keyboard and I can barely remember my PIN for logging in if I don’t have the keypad. My PIN muscle memory is tied to that keypad, I don’t actively remember the numbers themselves…

    3. Bostonian*

      Me toooo. My home desk isn’t big enough to fit 2 monitors and have room for everything else. My home office isn’t big enough to fit a bigger desk. I at least have 1 large monitor, though, so I don’t have to work off the laptop alone!

  29. Spaceball One*

    While I like a lot of things about working at home — it is generally quieter, with fewer distractions and interruptions, it has allowed one kiddo to do full-time-online school and another to do a hybrid — I am also finding some difficulties with it. It’s TOO quiet, which turns into feeling very isolated. Sometimes there are hours of silence while my son is doing online school in the office across the house. My teammates are a few clicks away in Teams, but it’s not quite the same. I also find that I work through what used to be my commute! So I am actually working longer hours. (We are super busy, and without the built-in buffer of a commute, I just… don’t stop working.) And because we are so busy, I get tunnel-vision and I don’t do laundry or load dishes or whatever other quick chores would benefit from me being home. I should do those things. But my work ethic says, it’s work time, so work!

    Overall I still like working from home. But I am also burning out on some aspects of it.

  30. Anonym*

    Not in the slightest! I’m so much more productive at home (granted, no kids or other care duties, just my partner). The office I left was totally open + hotdesking. It SUCKED. I do occasionally miss running into people and having spontaneous, informal conversations, but on the whole this is so much better for my sanity, stress level and work output. I thought I needed the peer pressure/paranoia (ADHD/inattentive) but turns out I don’t.

    1. Formica Dinette*

      Same! I think I’ll enjoy working from home even more when the pandemic is over and I can go to the local café to work for a few hours here and there.

  31. Charlotte Lucas*

    For the most part, I like working from home, but I miss certain people. I think I’d be fine going in once or twice a week once this is over. I love to bake & I really miss bringing in treats for the office. Also, the fitness room & all the restaurants & food vendors near the office. I hope they survive the pandemic.

    I’m a bookish introvert with no kids, so I know I’m doing better than a lot of people.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      We’ve been told not to expect a return to the office until summer of 2021. But we can go into the building as needed. I haven’t been there since March.

    2. JimmyJab*

      I hear you on everything here, but especially the baking and bringing in treats – now I have to bake less or eat more! I also miss being downtown in a city and having access to all kinds of conveniences like a grocery store, drug store, Home Goods, and other fun stuff.

  32. SpicySpice*

    I’m one who hated working from home until I was forced to, and now I love it. I’m lobbying my manager to let me stay this way full-time. However, one thing I dislike is that I am working a lot more. Before, I had a really excellent boundary between home and work. When I walked in my door, my brain switched to “home” mode.

    Now I never get to fully do that switch. It’s just so easy to pop into my laptop and get a little more done, and then a little more, etc. My husband isn’t thrilled and neither am I, to be honest. And my boss must have subconsciously noted it because she used to be good about not bugging me after hours, but now she has no problem at hitting me up at 6 pm because she knows I will be there. I know that’s on me for not enforcing boundaries, but who wants to say no to the boss during a pandemic? I don’t want to be the non-team player when the next round of layoffs happens.

  33. Matilda Jefferies*

    I really miss spontaneous conversations. Those little things that are just a quick one-off thought, or a little joke – too minor to make a phone call or even necessarily an IM, but they’re a key part of my satisfaction at work.

    I started a new job this time last year, and went from an environment where everyone worked separately and mostly silently, to one where there were little jokes and chats going on through out the day. I almost cried when I realized it was happening – I hadn’t realized how much I was missing it before! I was in my happy place at the new job for six months, and now we’ve been WFH for six months with no return date in sight. As much as I like to think of myself as a hermit, it turns out I do miss working with other people around!

    Also, lipstick! I really miss red lipstick, a lot. The colours I like are really Too Much for online calls with video, which is like 80% of my days most of the time. And of course there’s no point in wearing it out of the house under a mask, so no lipstick for me.

    1. Dr. Rebecca*

      I adored my boss and liked my colleagues very much, and I miss that too–I miss being down the hall from some of the brightest and funniest people I’ve ever known.

      Also, I wear the red for zoom meetings and encourage being “Too Much” at all times. *grin*

      1. Matilda Jefferies*

        I wear the red for zoom meetings and encourage being “Too Much” at all times.

        This is *excellent* advice. Thank you for the reminder!

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I had interviews on Zoom yesterday and this morning and it made me realize I miss getting dressed up and putting on makeup. I may start doing it a couple of days a week just for myself.

    3. drpuma*

      A week or two into quarantine it suddenly felt Very Important that all the other people on my video meetings know I have eyelashes. Ever since then I’ve been wearing mascara more consistently than I have in years.

  34. Ptarmigan*

    When I was looking for a job I also needed to move, so I rented an apartment next door the office. My commute is (was) a 10-minute stroll on a sidewalk along a lake. I don’t even have to cross a street! And after a couple of years, I was finally upgraded from a cubicle to a window office. I love my office, love the separation between home and work life, and enjoyed my little walk to and from every day. I’m so grateful we’re allowed to work from home (and my company has even guaranteed this through next June), but I miss working in the office a lot.

  35. Southern Academic*

    So I don’t have a designated office per se (the wonders of being a grad student!) but I really miss the kind of serendipitous, ran-into-you-outside-the-mailroom chat with colleagues and faculty. That kind of conversation is valuable, I think, for establishing rapport and thinking creativity in a way that planned Zooms cannot be.

    (That said, I just opted to teach all-online again in the spring. I miss seeing people in person — but until we’re much further along the road to being out of the pandemic, the strictures on and burdens of in person interactions outweigh whatever benefits there are.)

    1. Blackcat*

      Yeah. I used to just chat to random colleagues about their problems (science), and I really miss that! I still talk to my research group all the time, but I miss the far outside my wheelhouse stuff. Sometimes the input from people with a wildly different background is really helpful! And sometimes there’s a underlying math problem that you just need to discuss with others. I miss talking to other folks about my work, and I miss them coming to me with their random stuff, both in research and teaching.

  36. Fiona*

    There are a lot of things I enjoy about remote working (mostly the flexibility and lack of commute), but here are the things I miss:
    – The *feeling* of everyone around me working. My office is not particularly noisy, but there’s sort of a low, general hum of quiet conversation, phone calls, typing. Some find it distracting; I find it energizing and focusing. Like a very subtle, positive peer pressure.
    – The ability to just swing by someone’s desk to quickly work out an issue. I work in a creative field where solving problems can mean adjusting things incrementally on a screen, testing it out, helping each other with technical quirks. So much easier and faster in person.
    – Seeing some of my colleagues by chance, in the hall, exchanging pleasantries. It makes me feel part of a larger community. Now I only see colleagues outside my team if we’re on a large company video conference.
    – Having an end to my day. Deciding that I’m done, packing up my stuff, getting on the train, and leaving work behind. The line is VERY blurry in my current home setup.

    In a perfect world, my return to work will be 3 days in the office, 2 days at home, with the ability to flex it as I see fit. Time will tell!

    1. SomebodyElse*

      I’ve suggested it before, but ambiant noise apps are my favorite. Ironically my office used to be so quiet I would use them there, but since working from home they’ve been a lifesaver. I like ambiant-mixer because you can alter existing ones and add the sounds you want to hear or take out the annoying ones.

    2. FeelingUncreativeCreative*

      I feel exactly the same. I work in a creative job too, and working out a problem with someone is so much easier when you can just sit beside each other and get it done. Screen sharing on Teams is such a rubbish substitute!

      I think 3 days office, 2 at home would be a great balance too. I’m with you!

    3. Grace Poole*

      Definitely agree on the 2nd-to-last point–I never realized how many of my favorite work acquaintances were not people I work directly with until we realized that we *never* see each other anymore. There’s no chatting in the break room or passing in the hallway.

    4. cleo*

      I really miss the positive peer pressure part of being in an environment where everyone else is working too.

  37. Do I even go there?*

    I miss my colleagues, and the chance to talk to colleagues in different teams. I don’t work with them closely, but we sit nearby in the office so I miss that interaction.

    I also really miss my work computer, I work off my laptop at home which is fine and a better spec, but my work computer has two screens and easy access to all the systems. Home working is mostly a workaround for those, although it has got better. Aspects of my job also require physical access to records, that’s not feasible from home so occasional trips into the office in recent weeks have been invaluable!

  38. Alissa*

    I am currently at my kitchen table listening to my husband talk on the phone….and yes, I really miss my office! I am fortunate enough to have a short commute to a very pleasant office with coworkers that I truly enjoy. My company has been extremely responsible regarding COVID and I will likely be working from home until next summer. I have been intentional about emailing one coworker per week that I usually socialize with in the office but don’t actually work with just to say “hi”. This has been a great way to stay connected.

  39. Faberge Otter*

    I have actually been begging my company to let me work from home for about four years now (I’ve been there 6). Everything I do is online. I hate the commute. I hate the lost hours of sleep arranging my schedule around a commute; I hate driving; I hate crazy drivers; I hate winter and trying to decide whether to risk Level 1 snow emergencies or call in sick (all our department’s vacation has to be scheduled in advance, so sick time is the only “emergency” off). I hate my office chair and my desk, which, no matter what efforts are made, aggravate my scoliosis to the point I have 3 crippling muscle spasms per year. I hate the noise of our bullpen setup–which was about to be redesigned to be even more open and even worse. I hate skipping lunch in order to leave at a reasonable hour because we’re not paid for lunch and I’m not staying in the building if I’m not paid to be there.

    I was homeschooled and my dad worked from home the whole time I was growing up. I know how to manage myself, so driving into work has always felt so pointless when everything I do is on a server anyway. Out of all the disasters this year, I consider WFH my lifesaver and potentially will get our Scrooge management to soften up about WFH during bad weather and minor illness in the future. I haven’t had a single health issue or muscle spasm since they sent us home in March; this is the happiest I’ve been in 6 years O:) They are going to have to drag me into that building kicking and screaming.

  40. TooTiredToThink*

    I realized I am lucky in this regard – I don’t have kids or a spouse. Or roommates so I don’t have competition for space or peace. I am LOVING working from home full time. I work in the dreaded open office environment when I’m in the office. This has been the best 6 months of my working life (not my personal life, of course).

  41. jmkoni*

    I’ve been working from home for three years and I love it. I’m still talking to people all the time, so my social needs are still met. Granted, this is still different than pre-COVID wfh because, then, I could go out and still see other people in person. I do miss that. I also got a cheap treadmill off Amazon to put under my desk so I can walk while I’m working to make up for the fact that we aren’t walking to restaurants anymore. If you have a standing desk, I highly recommend this option!

  42. PeteAndRepeat*

    My whole company was fully remote before COVID, but I miss my pre-COVID remote working life soooo much. I used to regularly work at coffee shops or the library for a change of scenery and just to be around other people. It’s hard to be so stuck at home with no change. And now I’m sharing space with my spouse and young child, which makes it a totally different WFH experience than I had before.

  43. londonedit*

    To some extent, yes. I live in London because I love London, and I (ordinarily) work in the middle of the city, with all the culture and shops and food options right on my doorstep. I really miss that. I also like the people I work with, and I miss seeing them face-to-face. But at the moment the risks of going on the Tube and mixing with other people far outweigh the benefits of getting to spend time in town, and my personal philosophy is not to make any unessential journeys. I can work perfectly well from home, and I’m fortunate to have a setup that’s quiet (no housemates or children) and where there’s enough space for me to separate work and home life. I also have to say that the savings on travel costs have been an enormous help! So while I do miss the office, and I miss my life in London, that life isn’t really there at the moment for me to enjoy in the same way as I did before, and I think it’s best to stay working from home given the fact that I’m able to.

  44. AliceBD*

    I like it when I thought I wouldn’t but only because I moved right before the pandemic and I now have dedicated office space. It would have been very difficult to find office space in my previous place and it would not have been right next to a big sunny window, actually the sunniest window in my home. I also don’t have a spouse or kids to distract me or interrupt me while I’m working. If I didn’t have the ability to physically “leave the office” at the end of the day this would be MUCH more difficult.

    I’d be fine to be permanently WFH and only come in for meetings when being in person is safe again.

  45. It’s not a vacation*

    I work from home the majority of the time, but my partner physically has to be at work every day. I’m really struggling with the expectation that I’ll take on 90% of the housework and meal prep because “I’m here anyway”. I love that I can throw a load of laundry in between zoom meetings, but we’re developing a really big product for a US government customer and I need to get it done! I’ll be absorbed in my work and my partner will come home and immediately complain that there are dishes in the sink and the dog clearly hasn’t been walked enough, how long u til dinner is ready and why is my work stuff spread out all over the table?
    It’s frustrating, and I feel like if I was in the office all day the expectations would be more equal, but right now he just doesn’t see why I can’t get things done around the house and also do my work.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I’m so resentful of people who act that way. Both my parents worked full-time as I was growing up, but my dad retired pretty early and started a small part-time business he was able to do from home after retirement. He would be home all day and then get so annoyed at my mom if she didn’t rush home to cook dinner after work. She could hardly go to the gym after work or run a few errands, which all was perfectly fine before he had retired (because he would do the same thing). I was still in high school at the time, so I witnessed the retirement transition first-hand.

      After a little while she put her foot down and told him she was tired of being at work all day, in a high-stress job running a government office, and then come home and be expected to baby him. I respected my mother for standing up for herself, but I lost a bit of respect for my father when I saw him be unreasonable towards her. It was mainly because he was more bored than he had been when working full time, and really seemed to have a hard time with the transition. Of course, none of that was her fault! She didn’t force him to retire.

      So, I would encourage you to speak up and try to find equity in responsibilities, or as close to it as possible. It’s not fair to you, and it’s probably not sustainable in the long term. Of course, the pandemic isn’t fair to anyone! But you don’t wan to get burnt out on work AND home life! Good luck!

  46. Oreobabe*

    I’m a therapist at a community mental health agency on a very cohesive team, and I miss the office and my team *every day.* I miss having lunch together, being able to walk down the hall to say hello or debrief about a difficult session, and I miss having my work space separate from my living space. At the same time, I’m in no hurry to go back until it’s safe.

  47. Alex*

    Overall I do love working from home, but I have to admit there are some drawbacks.

    It’s harder to troubleshoot stuff with people. I used to go to my coworker’s desks when they were having a problem, see what they were talking about, and walk them through it. That is much harder to do effectively since we’ve been remote.

    I also have many fewer spontaneous discussions about stuff with my coworkers. Sometimes those discussions were productive. I didn’t think I would miss those discussions, but I find that I do.

    But….I still don’t want to go back.

  48. who knows today*

    I used to bike to work everyday and it was my main workout. I know I COULD get up in the morning and bike for 30 minutes and then do it again after work but with nowhere to go…. I just can’t can’t summon the motivation anymore.

    1. Calanthea*

      Ah, same. I really miss just *having* to get on the bike, now it feel like a Proper Event/Workout rather than just part of my day.

    2. F.M.*

      I keep telling myself that I really COULD go walk on my own, the way I used to walk to/from work, if I wanted to.

      But it turns out it’s a lot harder to convince myself of that when a walk is completely optional and I’m on the computer already and the dog would be sad if I left (or whiny and slow if I took him along), compared to “That meeting starts in half an hour, I’d better leave now!”

    3. SovereignSF*

      Same. Can’t muster the motivation to bike because I have nowhere to go! And I have gained 5 pounds. :(

  49. HGS*

    I NEVER want to go back to the office! I love being home. I got a dog, I can knit to help myself focus in meetings without distracting other people, I have time for my hobbies since I don’t waste time commuting, this summer I could pop into my yard and eat black raspberries straight off the bush in between meetings to decompress… it’s the BEST. And in a weird twist- I’ve made several close and wonderful friends at work, so even on bad days at least I got to see them, stop by their desks for a chat, etc, but now that I don’t have that benefit, it’s forced me to realize the job itself is making me miserable, and the joy of seeing friends at work was masking that. So now I’m job hunting and really looking forward to escaping my very stressful and toxic job.

      1. HGS*

        I should say I’ve left off all the bad stuff- like yesterday, when my one year old turned off the power strip my internet router is plugged into in the middle of a meeting and then got into the dog food while I was getting the internet back on and scrambling to rejoin my meeting lol

  50. Caramel & Cheddar*

    I love working from home. There are small, insignificant things I miss (e.g. being able to blow off steam with a trusted colleague after a frustrating experience without first having to arrange a call) but otherwise I’m surprised by how much I love it, because I was sure before this that I’d be awful at it. Turns out I’m not! I don’t have the same kinds of interruptions a lot of other people have by virtue of not having children or a spouse, so that helps.

    1. HKS*

      This is the same way I feel! I miss the photocopier and the printer and the mailroom. I do miss casual chats with a couple people but overall I like working from home much better than I expected.

  51. Jennifer*

    Honestly, I’m starting to feel a bit lonely. My husband works outside the home all day and I’m just here alone with the dog. I’m an introvert so it takes me a while to get there, but I’m there. I like the convenience of no traffic and no rushing in so I won’t be late. But I wouldn’t mind one or two days in the office at this point, or at least in a co-working space with other people around.

  52. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I’m job-hunting and specifically looking for jobs that want me in the office two or three days a week post-pandemic. I like the office most of the time, for human interaction and quick collaboration, but I also like being on my own, which I have been for over a year. I also find a lot of pleasure in getting dressed for the day and even commuting (not a long one!), and I miss that.

  53. EveryDayIsARugbyDay*

    I’m a Special Education teacher with 3 kids at home. My “work from home” experiment was absolute chaos. The district changed the plan every 20 minutes it felt like and my elementary school students struggle without devices and internet at home.
    I’m scared to death to be back in the classroom but its so much better for my students. We did a hybrid 50% of students at a time schedule for the first quarter and will go to 100% in person M-Th starting the middle of October.

    1. Teacher Lady*

      I’m also a special education teacher, and I could not agree more. Remote learning isn’t working well for any of our elementary students, and especially not for my students. (I will say, having started at a new school within the same school district this fall, that I think given the failure of leadership at the state and district level, being at a school with strong in-building leadership helps enormously. I am very grateful for where I ended up.)

      I am also really worried about the safety of returning to school (we are fully remote at least through early November), but for my students, it can’t come soon enough.

    2. Flower necklace*

      Also a teacher but ESOL, not SPED. I am in an ideal work from home situation: I live alone with my cat, have quiet neighbors, good wifi access, etc., but I absolutely hate it. I miss interacting with my students. I miss casually chatting with my coworkers during planning or at lunch. I miss moving around at work. And staring at a screen all day is straining my eyes.

      I hate how the pandemic is affecting my students: how they’re struggling to learn how to use technology and often don’t know who to ask for help. At the same time, I’m scared about going back. I know that there is a real danger in going back too soon – not just to the students, but to their families, to the school staff, and to the greater community. But I still miss being in the classroom so much.

  54. Cool and the Gang*

    I miss it so much! It’s actually not quite as bad because I have a kid at home this whole time, and while difficult (he is 7), it is someone around and many things going on (like crazy, but I like crazy). And there are definite benefits I could see if he WEREN’T here because yes, it’s stressful trying to put a day together for him.

    I miss people. I miss coaching in person. I’ve realized since we’ve been out that I don’t really have any FRIENDS at work. Like I used to talk about personal stuff with many people, but that’s because we ran into each other and shared then, we don’t connect now. Our meetings are SO dry. I miss the cross talk and even heated discussions.

    I am a single parent, so if I am by myself all day, I’m pretty much by myself all night too. And I don’t well being alone. I’m not a homebody at all.
    I have some personal struggles too that makes it difficult for me to be at home all day. So, yes, it’s cool I can throw in a load of laundry, but I’d rather be at the office.

  55. SomebodyElse*

    I miss my office. I largely didn’t work directly with anyone there, but it was nice to have a little separation between work and home. And to interact with coworkers who report out of that office.

    I also miss my plants and will owe someone dinner or something else for being willing to take care of them for all this time (luckily I bought the big container of plant food before all this happened).

    I miss traveling to see my team. I have a new employee who I haven’t met in person yet and who hasn’t met their team in person.

    I miss wearing nice clothes and cute shoes. (This is the longest period in my adult life that I haven’t worn heels!)

    As it stands right now we have a 10 week phase in once the green light is given. I’m in the last wave, so at this point even if they started on Monday I won’t see the office until after the first of the year due to planned vacation during the holidays.

    1. Lily Rowan*

      Yes! I miss the people (especially those I don’t work closely with) and the dressing up (although my feet are happy about it).

      I also hate making my own lunch and hate having to make an effort to get any exercise at all.

      And I’m anticipating hating paying for heating my apartment all day long this winter.

        1. SomebodyElse*

          This is one thing that I have found that is nice about work from home. I downloaded the TEAMs app to my ipad so on nice days for meetings that I’m more of a spectator for I can flip back and forth between my ipad and laptop and take the meeting from the porch.

          I’m too lazy to disconnect my laptop from my monitors and computers so I’d be stuck in my workspace without the ipad.

  56. Roscoe*

    Yes, 100%. I live alone, and while I like my space, its pretty isolating. I like leaving my house for the day and having to get up and do something besides move from the bed, to the couch, to my kitchen table. I miss human interaction.

    I recently, by choice, went back into the office. There were only 2 a couple of people, each had their own space, and it was nice to feel like it was somewhat normal again.

  57. Casey*

    Now that I have a decent setup, I don’t mind taking classes virtually, but I definitely miss my lab. It had worktables and a couple of us would set up in there for the day, with a rotating cast of classmates coming in and out…. it could be distracting but also broke up the monotony and let me spontaneously collaborate with people I don’t necessarily reach out to proactively. Also I miss seeing professors I had in the past around the building.

  58. Bookworm*

    I don’t miss stuff like having to dress up, having a commute (I liked this commute though, because I walked to and from work and that was nice), managing office niceties and politics, etc.

    But I don’t enjoy the meetings piled on meetings. I am not excited about “Zoom retreats” nor do I care for attempts to build “office cohesion” by having virtual events. Never liked those things before and having them via Zoom makes me want to scream now. There’s no “escape” from work in a sense because I can’t physically leave it behind.

    Overall, though, while I am super grateful to still have a job and have a workplace that is taking this very seriously and am glad this is opening discussions about better WFH policies/more flexibility, etc. I will forever resent and hate the WHY so many of us had to upend our lives.

  59. Deliliah*

    In an ideal world, I’d go to my office Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and work from home Monday and Friday. I miss having a proper desk set-up and I miss my page-a-day calendar I left behind. I miss the ice-cold water dispenser in the kitchen. I miss the free snacks.

    I do really love being able to take a lunch nap though.

  60. Erin*

    I miss going into the office so much. I miss the commute, since I got a lot of reading done on the subway to and from work, I miss wearing nice clothes, I miss seeing my colleagues in person every day, and I miss the actual separation between work and home. I’ve also learned that my manager is not great at sharing all of the information I need to do tasks, and that probably wouldn’t be as big of an issue if we were talking in person. Also nothing in the world is even close to normal right now, so the benefits of getting to sleep late and wear comfy clothes are kind of moot.

    1. londonedit*

      I miss wearing nice clothes too. I have a friend who’s still been wearing her nice things all through lockdown – she’s more client-facing than I am, but she could wear casual stuff if she wanted to, it’s just that she doesn’t want to. She rightly points out that it’s no more difficult to throw on a nice but comfy dress than it is to put on jeans and a sweatshirt, but for some reason I feel like I’d feel silly, or like I was somehow ‘wasting’ my nice things, if I just wore them around the house where no one can see me!

      1. UKDancer*

        I am the same as your friend. I like feeling I look nice so I have been wearing my pretty work dresses through the summer while working remotely. I know I don’t have to but I feel better and more professional when I am wearing work wear and have put my lipstick on.

        I know nobody can see me (except for my head and shoulders on zoom calls) but it makes me feel good about myself. I guess in lockdown there were so many things I couldn’t control but I could at least control making sure I looked good and my nails were varnished.

      2. SomebodyElse*

        I was like this in the early spring. I stopped wearing my nice sweaters because it felt odd to wear them over a t-shirt and not a blouse. I have amended my opinion of this and will start wearing them as it gets cooler out this fall.

        For some reason I felt better on the days that I would randomly wear one than the days that I wore a sweatshirt or weekend sweater.

    2. JustaTech*

      I don’t wear particularly nice clothes to work (lab work can get unexpectedly messy), but I do have “work clothes” and “weekend clothes” and even while WFH I’ve been sticking with that schedule.
      I learned that from my dad, when he was first self-employed. If he didn’t get at least half way dressed up for work (button up shirt but skip the tie and suit jacket) he just couldn’t get into the right mindset.

      My husband and I both apply the “if I’m working I’m wearing shoes not slippers”, but we’ll see if that holds when the weather turns cold.

  61. D3*

    The office part, no, don’t miss that. But I do classes and trainings and I do really miss doing that in person. Online is just not the same.

  62. Katniss Evergreen*

    It’s a toss-up… my regular commute is long so I don’t miss that, but I do miss the thinking time I got in the car. I also like the people I work with, our office atmosphere, and the environment because it’s really interesting (I’m in public health operations in the U.S., at a gov’t org that does research on this…). We had also gotten improved furniture in my workspace only a week before lockdown started, replacing the desk and chair that had probably been there since 2000, so I miss the nice space!

  63. Justme, the OG*

    I do love being able to work form home. I have a kid who’s not quite ready to be alone all day, and virtual schooling does not always go smoothly.

    But. I miss my office. I miss the physical space, and the separation of work from home. My office is a lot quieter, right now I have one neighbor getting their house painted and the other has something going on in her back yard.

    1. Tricksieses*

      “Virtual schooling does not always go smoothly” has GOT to be the understatement of the year!! I literally LOLed.

      1. Justme, the OG*

        I realize it’s the understatement of 2020. But even in previous years (I’m an online grad student) things went wrong. Her teachers are great and the virtual classroom is really good. But a few minutes ago she had wifi issues.

  64. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    My office is in a great location in a historic downtown area. Within a 3-block radius, there are a half-dozen coffeeshops, 4 brewpubs, 2 bakeries, and probably 30 restaurants. And my 20-minute commute is just the thing to clear my head before and after work.

    I don’t miss the office itself. I miss all the stuff around the office.

  65. many bells down*

    Yes, because I only got the job a year ago, after a decade of being a SAHM. I was just getting out of the house again and wearing nice clothes and talking to adults. Zoom is exhausting.

    It is nice to be at home with my husband all day, though. Especially since both our kids moved out just before the lockdown so it’s just us.

  66. cubone*

    I hope I never have to go back, tbh. I don’t have a great home office space so if it is a more permanent thing, I’d seriously consider moving for a bigger apartment. I also do a lot of trainings and while the pandemic makes it clear trainers have to expand their online skills too, there’s nothing to me quite like an in person workshop or training session.
    Otherwise I think not having to stress about commutes, packing a lunch, flexibility if I need it (a nap over lunch, laundry) has improved my quality of life, which in turn improves my productivity as an employee.

    Also would love if anyone else has this experience, but I’m kind of realized how unbelievably exhausting and distracting my office was! I don’t know if it’s a focus thing, or a social/introvert thing – I thought I handled noise and social distractions well in the office (mostly thanks to good headphones) but the PRIVACY and lack of constant social interactions gives me back an incredible amount of energy.

  67. Hello, I'd like to report my boss*

    This is very timely, as I’m stuck with a bad back and the first twinges of RSI in my thumb from using a trackpad for 6 months! Also ‘scholar’s elbow’ probably caused by me resting my elbow hard on my working surface.
    I don’t miss paying £350 for a monthly train ticket or my colleagues’ smelly food, but I miss having a proper ergonomic set up.
    Took it for granted for years, now I’m using an ironing board as a desk and didn’t have a proper chair for four months.
    My body hates me!

  68. waytothedawn*

    I worked from home before the pandemic, but our team would meet in person at a coffee shop once a week for a few hours. I really, really, miss that in person time together! It was a nice way for me to get out of the house and socialize a bit, and it was much easier to discuss some work issues in person. I have realized since I started this job that having some sort of in person connection is pretty important to me.

  69. Christina*

    I don’t miss my office at all (except my desk chair), but I do miss talking with my coworkers and it’s getting frustrating feeling like I’m out of the loop on things – and I’m not usually the super social person at work!

    About 2/3 of our staff are still at our in-person locations (we’re an essential service) while our business office is closed, and I think some of the in-person staff feel like those of us who are working at home are just sitting around doing nothing or aren’t struggling – when part of it is that those of us staying home are protecting our staff and the vulnerable people we serve.

    It’s also challenging because we don’t have a particularly good/consistent chat tool that we use (we use Slack a bit, but not consistently or across teams), and we didn’t have a department/team meeting for 4 months, so I’m miss things I would normally overhear in passing about projects or just in regular chitchat. I think those at the top think things filter down to staff, but they don’t really or it’s like playing a game of telephone, and I’d rather hear directly from those in charge about what’s going on.

    I’ve tried getting our team to schedule a weekly optional zoom lunch (just whoever wants to join on any given week) and that seems to have been a bust, and it’s really demoralizing.

    1. Christina*

      Also, I bought a really nice new work wordrobe when I started this job and I barely got a year our of it and now things likely won’t fit when I ever get to wear them again.

      I also miss on the days I’d work in the city, going out with friends to get a drink at a fun restaurant or going to see a movie or just generally appreciating this awesome city I live in.

      1. SomebodyElse*

        Don’t get me started on the work clothes. I was losing weight before the shutdown (intentionally), I’ve gotten to the point now where I think I’ve stabilized. I haven’t tried on any of my work pants for over 6 months and things weren’t fitting then, I’m going to have to buy a whole new set of work pants when this is over. Luckily my blouses are forgiving and of the ‘flowey’ cut so I’ll be good there.

  70. Will*

    As an extremely introverted person (I’m the kind of person who rejoices when plans are cancelled…), I’m most surprised by how much I genuinely miss my co-workers and boss. We still meet often over the phone and the occasional video meeting/HH, but it’s not quite the same. I also miss being able to walk a couple of steps to bounce ideas off of someone. We can chat through Skype/Teams, but having that face-to-face interaction and reassurance that I’m heading down the right path is hard to replace through text.

  71. TotesMaGoats*

    I miss my office and my colleagues so much. Mostly I miss just not being at home all the time. My husband is a homebody and is able to work away from home, so come the weekend he just wants to chill in the house. I want to be out of the house as much as humanly possible. I kind of lost it last weekend and he finally understood that the weekend is the only time I really get away from the house and he needs to make sure that happens for my well-being.

  72. Jzilbeck*

    Nope, nope, and nope. Quarantine was a dream come true for not wanting to physically be in my office(s). My commute wasn’t bad, but it’s not missed….more time has been given back to me for sleeping since I was so sleep deprived pre-quarantine. And strangely enough I feel like I’ve gotten way more done at home because I’m not traveling to different offices for useless meetings and I’m actually able to sit and do my work. I missed my equipment but about a month ago I was able to go back and retrieve all of it so that’s no longer an issue. I miss happy hour with coworkers…but prior to quarantine that seemed like that was the only time I had available to interact with them. One of them organized an in-person happy hour a few weeks ago, which was super nice. We were outside so it was all done safely.

    One thing I do miss though is hugging people. Basically I’ve only hugged my husband and my dog for the last 6 months. thankfully neither one seems to mind but I do wish I could hug more of my friends and family. ;)

    1. Jzilbeck*

      All that said….when things go back to “normal” I’m hoping for at least 3 days/wk I’m allowed to work from home. Our director is very much against work from home setup for non-sensical reasons, but obviously Covid forced his hand. And my organization I feel has singlehandedly written the argument for allowing this setup to permanently continue. So hopefully he will acquiesce and give us our wish.

  73. Wfh forever*

    I never want to work in an office again. However, I do miss my kids going to school while I work from home. Everything in this pandemic has been hard but missing out on a 3 hour round trip Bay Area commute is not one of them!

  74. Fiona the Baby Hippo*

    I already was full-time WFH for over a year when things shut down. First as a remote worker and then as a freelancer. Friends and colleagues would say to me, ‘well this isn’t much of a change for you!” But it’s surprised me how much it has been! I’ve realized how much I relied on going to coffee shops for a change of scenery a few times a week. I would also do things like go to the library or coffee shop for a specific project – no leaving until XYZ task is done!, and that could keep me focused. My days also used to be more broken up – I volunteered at our local library once a week, I might go meet a friend for lunch, etc.

    I can try to maintain some of those routines- I volunteer remotely, and try to call my sister throughout the day when I need a quick break- but I think the actual moving around + change of scenery was what invigorated me. I also live in Tennessee and it’s just been too unpleasant to go outside for breaks until recently. I’m hoping I can make myself talk more walks now that the weather is better for more of a ‘break up’ to my day.

  75. miss edmund*

    I miss the office SO much. I’ve been WFH since mid-March (floor desk until August, now I finally have a good setup). We’re likely remote through spring. I miss my coworkers, I miss work trips, I miss our overpowered air conditioning… We have 2-3 people in the house WFH every day, plus a dog and a cat. We all have phone/zoom-heavy roles too. We’re in a good rhythm now, but as much as I love my housemates I miss having the 4-6pm period every workday where I was home alone!
    My office was in a complex with a couple different cute cafes/restaurants, and my commute was only 10mins, so it was a pretty sweet setup. We often had food and snacks, plus the requisite bad coffee. But genuinely I mostly just miss my coworkers! I only really interact with my team now, when I used to get to see everyone. It was such a great office environment :(

  76. Ros*

    I miss the exercise of walking to work and back, and of being in the area as it’s a beautiful area of the city I work in which is very vibrant and interesting – but I’ve found I don’t miss the company all that much, I can work at my own pace and find it much easier to concentrate. I think it’s laid bare for me that I was quite under-valued at work and not very included in other groups, so I’ve forged my own way at home (and actually been accepted for a new job).

  77. AnotherAlison*

    No, I don’t miss the office. I’m sitting in the office right now. We’ve been back for about a month.

    I didn’t like WFH that much. I think I could, but my work wanted to keep things the same as much as possible, so I didn’t have a lot of flexibility during the day and we were supposed to be dressed for work on video calls. I also had too many family members in and out throughout that day, and my house was crowded with my post-college son back home. I like being back in the office, but like many others, I think 1-2 days at home might be the best arrangement. Some people in my office are still doing things like that because of family/kid arrangements that are still not back to normal. That’s a bit of a problem because some people don’t think that’s fair. (I mean, no one wants to WFH with a 6 y.o. hanging over their shoulder, but if we can get by with some people doing it, can’t we get by with everyone doing a little WFH?)

    1. AnotherAlison*

      The other weird thing about being back in the office is that we’re still doing most meetings online. Some people are still remote, and then only the largest conference rooms are big enough for social distancing with 5+ people. So, some days, I am dressed up to sit in my office by myself all day.

      For my projects, though, I think it is a net positive. Even if only half of them are back full-time, they all sit near each other and coordination is a lot easier. There are only 3 people in the seating area that were there pre-pandemic and the rest are new or transferred to our group, so it’s nice to see them in person.

  78. JSPA*

    Office overall? No. Office quality internet and amenities? Yes. Bike / walk commute, necessary regardless of weather and motivation? Sort of. Hobby cooperative space and facilities? Yes.

  79. RowsOfCorn*

    I’ve come to really enjoy it. No kids, pets, or other housemates and relative quiet helps with that, and I haven’t had any problems getting work done at the level I would have at the office. No commute has also greatly helped my anxiety (my first winter in my new state gave me a panic attack because of all the ice on the roads). I feel like I have more time in the day to get things done, both during work hours and outside of it.

  80. Dust Bunny*

    We’re back in the office 2-3 days a week (we all have our own workspaces, and we’re not all going back on the same days) and it’s great. Apart from the fact that I need to go back to keep generating more work that I can do at home, I need the change of scenery. I think I’d actually need it less if I lived alone but I’m holed up with my parents and, even though they leave me alone during the work day, we’ve all had just about enough of each other.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        The shift back to the office was a big negative for my exercise routine and sleep. With WFH, I could get up later, workout, and shower 5 minutes before starting work. I could occasionally squeeze in a lunch workout (not much because that seemed to be when other people started pinging me online). Now I have to get up around 5 am or earlier, and at the same time we returned to work, I ended up with phone calls 4 nights per week, which sucks up all my evening time, too.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I tried sleeping in but I have cats, so now I get up at the same time, go for walk, shower, eat breakfast, and start work at about the same time I’d have started, anyway, if I were commuting. I think it made transitioning back to the office easier because my timetable was less disrupted.

          1. AnotherAlison*

            Smart, but I just wanted a few months of my life to not get up at 5 am, ha! I have been doing it since high school, and I’m so tired of get up early, rush, rush, rush. . .

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I did miss my two giant monitors at work. I have an add-on monitor at home–we use Surfaces–but it’s not the same, and I *loathe* touch-pads.

      1. IStealPens*

        Whoever invented and or designed Touch Pads (bot Mac AND PC) are the devil. Luckily I thought to grab my mouse on my way out that last day.

  81. Meredith*

    I found I didn’t like it. Like Allison said, the factors that contributed to that conclusion (I started working from home in March, when the world was on fire and Bill Ackman quite literally said ‘Hell was coming’) I found I got distracted. I had no formal set up – was working in my den with a card table as a desk, was trying to work and watch a 7 month old…you get the idea. I’m back in the office now – have been since June, and what a relief. I chose to come back. We never had a lot of people working here to begin with (8 total), and the nature of our office layout is actually pretty conducive to social distancing. No one twisted my arm about coming back in – totally my choice. I feel like I have my routine back, which has done WONDERS for my mental health. I might give it another go, in more normal circumstances, but for now, so not for me.

  82. CTT*

    I desperately miss it. I don’t have a great WFH setup (one bedroom apartment, across the street from a car repair garage that does a lot of very loud business from 8 to 5), and I miss the people. Not just that I genuinely like most of my coworkers, but I miss the benefits I got from being able to see others in person and have more in-depth discussions of issues than one can get over the phone or email (and getting people to respond! In the Before Times, a few people I worked with were horrible about responding to emails, but always welcomed me coming by to discuss in person).

  83. 80HD*

    I have ADHD. In some ways working from home has been great, because I am always on high alert around the office and forcing myself to focus for 10 hours a day and to sit rigidly upright in a chair, in work clothes, is draining. I am always focus or at least trying to act like I am, so there are perks to working from home.

    But I’ve found that my self discipline is slipping. I was in an amazing routine of getting into the office by 8, working until about 5:15, going to the gym at my apartment, and then showering, having dinner, and working about an hour or so afterward. But now that’s in the toilet…I watch tv until midnight and don’t get down to business until 9 or 10 and I wear my gross sweatpants all day. I’ve found that I need *some* external accountability to show up and do quality work. I even converted my dining space into my work space and try to keep work there, and to sit upright for so many hour a day, but it just isn’t the same.

  84. SunnySideUp*

    I miss the camaraderie of the few close work friends I had at OldJob. Honestly, that’s ALL I miss.

    At the end of March, I started a new, fully remote job. I absolutely LOVE WFH. I’m fine being on my own (except friends/see above) with my dog for company. I love my house and I’m basically a homebody anyways.

  85. Chrissimas*

    I already worked at home 2 days a week and that was the maximum I wanted. I miss my coworkers, my standing desk, my extra monitor, chair, and even sometimes (rarely) the commute. I live entirely alone and I rarely need to talk to my coworkers (email is sufficient) and I’m just lonely. I’m kind of 60/40 extrovert/introvert and I miss connecting with people. I also miss the opportunities for networking, problem solving, and the little tidbits of information you get just by running into people in the hall.

    After 6 months of going it alone I went to live with my mom (w/ boss’s permission and a ton of precautions for the travel) for a couple months so the loneliness has eased but I still miss a lot of the coworker interactions.

    Whew! Sorry to be a downer! Apparently I really needed to get that off my chest :)

    1. Jen*

      Same, it’s been pretty lonely. I also live alone but was seeing family and a few friends here and there to help. I’m excited to re-enter the world a little bit!

  86. Jen*

    I MISS IT SO MUCH! Over 6 months out has been too much. Finally going back on Monday after being delayed due to my own covid diagnosis. Doing one week in and one week at home, so hoping to kind of have the best of both worlds.
    I’ll get to wear regular clothes and socialize a bit, not to mention to conveniences that the office brings, like a printer and face to face communication. Then the following week I can wear my PJs and work out on my lunch break while ignoring everyone I don’t want to talk to!

  87. Coco*

    I miss the double chocolate chip muffins in the cafeteria. And having a in general cafeteria that I can walk to and not think about making my own lunch.

    I miss knowing less about my spouse’s work persona. i am tired of hearing him and his colleagues complain about THE SAME THINGS. If in our personal life he were to say ‘ I don’t want to interrupt you but I need to’ I’d be tempted to smack him. With teams/ zoom you can’t judge body language and the eye contact you have in in person mtgs. So it’s more difficult to interject when a conversation goes off the rails.

    Sigh. Rant over

    When this all ends though, I’ll prob complain about the commute and wax poetic about working in leggings all the time

    1. Coco*

      Also, I miss not being able to celebrate milestones with colleagues/ friends. A couple of them recently had their first children. Would liked to have had a small party (cake and a card type of thing) for them

    2. JustaTech*

      I know my husband misses his cafeteria – he misses it so much we bought vegan sausage patties like they had at the cafeteria for breakfast, and we’re not vegans!
      I miss his cafeteria because I would meet him there for dinner one night a week: one night I didn’t have to cook or do dishes!
      (I do appreciate that he’s finally helping me eat all the dinner leftovers for lunch.)

  88. very very happy*

    NO!! Working from home is wonderful. Without my daily commute and without needing to worry about re-doing hair and makeup afterwards, I can basically work out whenever I have a free hour. I can cook my own hot lunches. I’ve lost a bunch of weight this year because I finally have the time. I do miss being able to go to coffee shops to work for a change of scenery, but I do not miss my office one single bit. I work in an industry that embraced WFH right away and I hope I never have to work in an office full-time ever again.

  89. voluptuousfire*

    I don’t miss the commute to the office, thats for sure! I do miss my colleagues and the little conversations with people throughout the day. We also had catered breakfasts every morning, which is probably what I miss the most. The caterers were fanastic people, a husband and wife team. They ended up closing their business in June due to the pandemic, which really stinks.

    1. voluptuousfire*

      I also worked in Manhattan so there was always the option of being in the city to go for dinner after work or an event or just being in Manhattan on a night with good weather.

  90. Cafe au Lait*

    My cats are jerks. The “trying to sit on my keyboard” behavior was cute the first few months. I need my hands free. My cats disagree.

    It doesn’t help that I told my husband I want a divorce. The behaviors that bothered me before COVID I’m not able ignore anymore. It was easy to ignore my frustration when I could mentally and physically leave my space. Now that I can’t get out of the house for long periods of time, I’m realizing these behaviors aren’t going away by asking in a different tone of voice, or using different words. COVID WFH orders is a glimpse into my future when we’re retired. I don’t want to live my retirement years like we are right now.

    We’re doing marriage counseling (my insistence) because I don’t want to divorce him, I just want to divorce our marriage the way it is right now.

    1. IStealPens*

      I’m sorry youre going through a rough time…I wish I had more words of wisdom.

      Cat snuggles are always helpful though…maybe not when youre trying to work tho. Trust me – I know. Mine is on my lap at the moment and I have to pee…

    2. UKDancer*

      I think you’re not the only one who has found lockdown as a couple led to the end of the relationship.

      Two of my friends have split with their partners due to the pressures of being together under lockdown exacerbating the problems the relationships already had.

      I am so glad I split with my ex in November because I would have found lockdown with him intolerable.

    3. Christina*

      I broke up with my long-term live-in partner right before this all blew up and (stupidly, in hindsight) told him not to worry about moving out until things settled down and he could go back to work (he’s high risk and was driving uber, so stopped when things got really scary in mid-March). Of course I thought “things settling down” would be a few weeks, maybe a month or two, not going on 6 months and likely into next year. I had to tell him recently that he needs to make a plan, but I still think it’s taking too long – but how do you kick someone out during a pandemic?

  91. Lena Clare*

    I much prefer working from home than being in an open plan office, but man am I more tired.
    Phone/video calls are so much harder than face to face visits.
    I don’t miss driving. At. All. At some point I’ll have to get back to that though.
    I hate having to transform my back bedroom to an office. It’s very cramped as it is.
    I’m cooking for my lunch! Pretty soon I’ll be the size of my own house. I never cooked my lunch when I was working in an office. I just used to grab a sandwich, so I’m sure I’m consuming more calories and moving less… recipe for weight gain basically.

    And I miss being able to vent to my colleagues. Today was a tough day and I’m so exhausted, and no one to talk to about it.

  92. El Diz*

    I miss my giant screens and having a real keyboard. I also miss the energy of feeling like we’re all involved in a collective project. I feel like if I just stopped working for several hours or even days, no one would notice.

    1. Chrissimas*

      Yes to the energy! I no longer feel like I’m part of a team and I just feel like I’m failing all the time but no one notices.

  93. UKDancer*

    I am currently working from home all the time. Previously I worked from home 1 day per week.

    I don’t miss the commute into London and enjoy having 2.5 hours of my life back. Also now I’m not buying latte from Starbucks and making my own lunch I am saving a fortune and I’ve lost half a stone in weight.

    I miss the interactions with my colleagues and the time around people. Sometimes I feel a bit lonely working remotely. To be honest I miss more the things I used to do while in London for work, e.g. going to the theatre or the tango clubs (all now shut).

    I think now my ideal would be 2-3 days in the office per week and the others from home. In making our office Covid secure though they could only accommodate about 25% of the staff so you’re looking at 1 day in the office per week for those who want it. At present I’m more worried about the risk of catching Covid on the train so I am reluctant to go back just yet. Luckily my company is happy for people to continue working from home.

    I try and take things one day at a time and not worry about when we might be back or what might happen. That way I worry too much.

  94. Riblets*

    I don’t THINK I miss the office, and I usually worked from home 2-3 days a week in the before times anyway. I do miss people, places, and things (nouns!) in general, and some of that spills over into office nostalgia. So no, but also yes?

  95. StressedButOkay*

    I love working from home! There have been some challenges, like trying to get my home office/desk set up just right and pulling away from work when I need to, but overall, it’s been great. I miss seeing my colleagues face to face but I don’t miss the 45+ minute commute one way or getting up at 6:30.

    My SO works from home now as well and we try to have lunch together every day.

    It’s not perfect but I can’t imagine going back 100% when this is all over. 2 days in the office, at most, if needed.

  96. IStealPens*

    THANK GOD SOMEONE SAID IT….

    OMG I don’t know how some people do this every day. I used to love the occasional snow day, or cable guy visit day, but this I can’t handle. I roll out of bed 5 minutes before I log in, and I don’t think I shower every day – how sad – I can’t even remember! I now have a dedicated work space, but I would rather sit at my dining room table, for what reason I don’t know. I was never as productive at working at home before, but now I am logged in later than usual because for one thing, I feel like everyone knows when you aren’t on all day and nights, but also because it takes me three times as long to do anything. And the day DRAAAAGS…

    But the worst? I left the house the other day to go to Target quickly, and it dawned on me that I couldn’t remember the last time I even left the house! It has been hot and rainy, so walking or running has pretty much been out of the question. Luckily I have a Peloton but still – the weight is creeping up.

    I have tried all the helpful hints for working at home, yadda yadda – they don’t work for me.

    And another thing – I spent the last 15 years building up a NICE wardrobe. I am at the point where I am ready to start putting on my Ann Taylor suit just to go to Wal-Mart. I need to wear normal clothes again. And yes – I see the women on LinkedIn who dress up for working at home. Yeah – I am not about to spend money on dry cleaning for nothing. Plus, i am far more spill prone and accident prone to wear those clothes around the house.

    I know businesses are claiming they are doing away with offices, but I think more people are done with working from home. AND there will be all this empty office space which will just lead to mad incentives to get their buildings occupied. And I am here for that.

    thanks so much for the ability to rant….I really needed it.

    1. anonykins*

      I’m not going to lie – I didn’t wear deodorant for about four months straight. It started out as an experiment to see what would happen if I gave it up since it’s just me and my husband (and pets). Maybe it would be like when you stop washing your hair for a while and it’s gross at first but eventually your body adjust. Spoiler: I did not stop sweating eventually. And toward the end, even my adoring spouse was like “um, hon, I don’t really want to cuddle at night…”

      1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        My spouse set a limit pretty early on that I had to shower at least every other day. On the other hand, I forget to put on deodorant more days than not and she hasn’t commented on it.

      2. londonedit*

        At the beginning of lockdown I decided to see how long I could go without shaving my legs before I got really annoyed. Turns out it was about 10 days.

  97. snarkarina*

    I’m one of those that was laid off and then started a new job all during this nightmare, and onboarding was so weird! I still haven’t seen any of my new coworkers or even my workspace in person!

    It’s also getting tiresome. I’m lucky enough to have a desk in my bedroom (as I’m also a part-time student) so that has become my workspace while my roommate has taken over the dining area, but being in my room 40 hours a week is getting tiresome.

    My dogs are happy though.

    1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

      You’re not alone on this one. I’m in mostly the same situation, and onboarding has been…different. My colleagues are great and supportive people, but this is challenging in ways that I didn’t entirely expect and are difficult to talk about.

  98. soshedances*

    I’m back in the office full time now, but I was working from home part time during the beginning of the pandemic- and I have to say, I didn’t like it. My job does have a lot of paperwork/file work that I can do from home, but the rest is very hands on, and I work WAY better in the office. It’s too quiet at home, and I don’t have the sense of urgency to get things done that I do when I’m actively at work and constantly putting out fires.

    This wasn’t surprising to me though- I’ve always been a hands on worker. I can handle desk and computer work to an extent, but I really need it to be interspersed with other things for me to keep my concentration and productivity high. And I didn’t realize how much I missed constant people interaction until I didn’t have it (my job is in a nonprofit community service type organization). Happy to be back at work now!

  99. Cruciatus*

    I work in an academic library so we have to go in, but on a rotating basis. The most I have to be in is 2 days a week. I actually like going in because I feel more productive (and have my usual tools to do things!).

    There’s not a lot for me to do when I’m actually at home and I find that affects me–an object at rest stays at rest type thing. I find it harder to get off my butt to take a lunch walk–which was NEVER a problem when I was at work fully. I was out there whether it was raining, snowing, sleeting, freezing, super hot, humid, etc. It’s now just so much more of an effort (and it doesn’t help to have food at my disposal all day as well. Before, I had my lunch and that was it. Maybe a bag of chips once in a while from the vending machine).

    It’s hard because on the one hand I’m lucky that my department/university is taking our safety seriously, but apparently my routine was in a precarious state for it to completely collapse, even after months of this being the new normal.

    1. J.E.*

      I work in an academic library as well. I’m on the technical services side so I don’t do public facing work and was able to do quite a bit from home, just not anything with a physical collection, but so much is digital now that I’ve had enough to keep busy. I’ve really enjoyed being in my home environment and find that it’s actually more difficult to stop working since I’m generally more comfortable and well rested. I love not having to get up as early to commute and I can turn on the tv for background noise while I do some of the more tedious tasks that don’t require as much concentration. My wish is to have flexibility going forward, like 2 to 3 days in the office and the others at home.

      1. Faith*

        Same situation here. Honestly, the only thing I don’t like about wfh is that my spouse is also wfh, and they are struggling with it, even with a dedicated office space, etc.–spouse used to get their extrovert/socialization at work, and now relies on me for it. If we didn’t have needy cats and a second floor to our house so I could have some physical space to myself, I might have lost it with them by now.

        Hopefully, when things get more back to normal, spouse will be able to go back to work and I will get to have half time WFH, half in the office.

  100. GoldenHandcuffs*

    Yes, I miss it which surprised me. But I work in a really cool and amazing building with a ton of amenities (including a subsidized cafe and a river adjacent walking path). I miss seeing my co-workers that I would just run into throughout the day. I miss my two screens and not having to listen to my husband on the phone. I miss my kids having their own life away from me (3 and 6.5). I also don’t have a home office and am sitting at the dining room table which is not great. The flexibility is awesome though and I don’t miss commuting even a teeny, tiny bit. I like being able to do small chores throughout the day and an errand if I need to. But overall, I do miss going into work. It’s just not the same at home.

  101. Spooncake*

    I actually love working from home- I have a long commute on public transport that’s both expensive and unreliable, and I have chronic pain conditions so it’s better to be home during a flare-up. But… I wish I hadn’t made this transition as a first-time manager. I’ve had a really steep learning curve when it comes to figuring out the right level of contact and monitoring for my direct reports, and I still worry about that now.

    Also, I miss having two monitors. I want to work remotely part time even when this is over due to the aforementioned health problems, so I should probably get around to recreating that set-up at home since I’m lucky enough to have the space.

  102. Tuckerman*

    At first when I was watching my toddler and working full time, I was a wreck. Since I was distracted all the time, I made up for it by answering emails at all hours, the moment I received them. That was not sustainable. Since then, we were able to structure our work week so my husband works around my schedule (he’s self-employed). And I love being home now. Trying to manage background noise is my biggest challenge (toddler & dog).

    The timing is good for me, too. I was recently diagnosed with cancer, which should be completely treatable but requires lots of appointments & surgery. It’s nice to be able to just inform my managers and not have to constantly answer questions about why I’m leaving work, is everything OK, etc. Working from home is making this much easier on me.

    1. allathian*

      Good luck with your cancer treatments. I’m glad you and your husband could reschedule his work so that you can work in relative peace. Of course, being able to leave for appointments without questions being asked is a huge thing.

  103. anonykins*

    The only thing I miss about the office is the on-site gym (I work at a university and it was literally in the building next door). But, I hear with COVID restrictions it’s super hard to get a workout time anyway :(

    1. A Poster Has No Name*

      Oh, the ice machine. I forgot about the ice machine. My office had free coffee, but it kind of sucks, so I don’t really miss that.

  104. A Poster Has No Name*

    Yes, I miss my office. I didn’t until recently, really, but I’ve started to in the last couple weeks. I mean, I don’t miss having to get up earlier and put on a bra and real pants and makeup, but I miss other stuff.

    I miss my commute (20 minutes on back roads, great for alone time and podcasts). I miss seeing something other than the walls of my house ( got way too excited when the neighbors across the street got new porch windows & siding, just because it was something new to look at). I miss being able to just pop over to someone’s cube. I miss the useful info you pick up by hearing passing conversations. I miss whiteboarding with other people in the room.

    I miss having someone make me breakfast or lunch from time to time in the office cafeteria (though I mostly brought from home, the variety was nice). I miss not having to pay for unlimited internet. I miss the built-in extra steps one gets walking around a big campus. I miss my more ergonomic desk setup with space for me to put things like notebooks and other supplies. I miss a better temperature-contolled environment than my home office (it’s an addition, so it gets hot when it’s hot out and cold when it’s cold because there’s only one vent in the room).

    It’s all small things, though. I’m immensely privileged to have my own home office space and a SAHD who does most of the kid-wrangling and cooks for me while I’m working and an office that is basically forbidding us to come back until there’s a vaccine, so I can deal with missing the office a bit for the time being. I used to think I wouldn’t really want to be full time WFH, and this has solidified that. I’ll probably WFH a bit more than I did before (maybe 1-2x a week), but I will go back to the office when it’s safe.

    1. Kodamasa*

      “I miss my commute (20 minutes on back roads, great for alone time and podcasts). I miss seeing something other than the walls of my house ( got way too excited when the neighbors across the street got new porch windows & siding, just because it was something new to look at).”

      Oh boy, the week I had TWO neighbors moving in at the same time was about as much excitement as I could ask for :D Oh, and don’t forget that week the mail lady took vacation and we had substitute mailpeople. Pure excitement!

  105. Dame Judi Brunch*

    I love being at home. I’ve got some digestive issues and it’s been significantly better to deal with at home. It’s quiet here, I’m more productive.
    My only issue is we cannot print to paper at home, for security reasons. It would be nice to print some notes out here and there. Sometimes you just like to handle paper. But overall it’s been great!

    1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

      Oh, good point on the printing! I am allowed to print stuff, but I can’t easily claim back the cost of ink and paper.

      1. Dame Judi Brunch*

        They’re giving us new setups that are supposed to allow for printing, but I have no idea how this is going to work. I’ll find out soon! Good thing I’ve adapted well to paperless.

  106. Not So Super-visor*

    I’m temporarily back in the office while we train new employees who will then launch remote. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed the energy of working with other people until this point.

  107. Cendol*

    Oh gosh, absolutely. I don’t miss the (one hour) commute at all*, or what sitting at a cubicle for 8 hours a day did to my back, but I do miss my coworkers! I’ve had dreams about the after-work meetups we used to have (shoulder to shoulder in crowded bars!). I regret skipping last year’s holiday party–if I’d known it might be one of our last in-person gatherings, I would have gone. In theory, we’ll be back in the office in 2021, but…who knows.

    *minus the nice mornings I walked to work (slightly over an hour, on foot, which tells you something about our transit system, lol). Those walks were lovely, and I miss them.

    1. allathian*

      Ouch! Is it safe to ride a bike where you are? You’d get to the office in half the time it takes to go by public transit…

  108. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    Nope!

    I used to work maybe two days from home per week before; I think when this is all over I’ll probably only go into the office one or two days a week. My commute, by bus, was long (often left the house at 7am and got home at 6pm or later to work 8.30 – 4.30) and expensive. My office is open plan and LOUD, meaning that as a trainer I was forced to spend forever looking for meeting rooms, which were like gold dust, to get peace and quiet to deliver webinars etc. The internet connection was pretty poor in the rooms that were actually quiet enough, and overall it’s easier for me to do my job effectively and efficiently from my house than from the office.

  109. Kodamasa*

    To me, there are only two drawbacks. 1- my internet is awful so everything takes longer to open, save, and edit. 2- I’m living with the constant dread of that unknown time I’ll have to go back to the office.

    To me, I’m a hermit by nature and don’t really care about the in-person social interactions; chat and zoom are more that enough to fill that bar. I didn’t realize until working from home that the act of going into the office was giving me as much anxiety as it did. Without that constant dread, I have felt infinitely better. But, of course, anxiety gotta anxious, so now I dread having to go back!

    1. Princess Scrivener*

      Agreed! I’m introverted (and ASD) and I write all day, so I’m much more productive at home. And happier. And healthier. I didn’t realize how much small talk and stress from driving 1.5 hours every day were wearing me down. My sleep is longer and better quality, I’ve picked up consistently good workout and nutrition habits, I’ve lost 20 pounds, and I’m producing way more / better work for my Team. I’m probably regressing in my social skills honestly, but I’m so, so, so content in my hidey-hole home office space.

  110. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

    I’m seeing a lot of folks who have no kids/spouse/roommates say they love working from home but for me its absolutely impossible to focus at home by myself without any background noise/other people nearby. Plus, I have so much more anxiety asking questions over IM/email than just popping my head in to someone’s office! I think part of that might also be because I moved a pretty significant distance away from friends and family for this job last year and the social stuff I was doing pre-COVID is impossible to do not in person, so when I was WFH all the time I had absolutely no social interaction and I felt trapped in my 1-bedroom apartment. I probably wouldn’t do much better with roommates but it is so lonely and suffocating to be in that situation. Because of this I was actually one of the first folks to go back into the office mostly full-time while my peers who live with people/have support networks nearby are coming in much less often, if at all.

  111. Brett*

    Ergonomics are a big deal. My work office is much better lit, has far better furniture, a technical layout designed by an expert.
    My company provide some funding to set up my home office better, but not enough to buy four figure office chairs, complicated monitor set ups, much less new windows and better lighting.

    The other thing is that it is much harder to know what is going on elsewhere in the company. I don’t interact with people at lunch any more. I don’t see random public meetings outside my business unit that I happen to see in the main hall, only the ones for which I get direct streaming event invites. No more poster sessions. No more lightning talks.

  112. These Old Wings*

    I personally don’t feel like I can focus as well at home. Of course, having a 6 year old here trying to help with remote learning doesn’t help. But I also feel like I get distracted more easily by household tasks and feel like I should fold laundry, or start dinner or wash dishes or whatever. I also hate working at the dining room table.

  113. A Hermit before it was Cool*

    I don’t miss the office in the slightest! Of course I was all in on the WFH bandwagon before all of this began. I think the various opinions all depend on your own personality type, your working set up, whether or not you have more distractions at home with you (child, pet, spouse, partner, etc.) and the type of work you do.

    Here’s my top 3 of why I LOVE WFH so much and will be fighting to keep it:
    1) The Commute: what should in reality only take 20 mins tops can easily turn into a 2 hour ordeal if even one accident takes place during the morning commute. Same goes for the evening commute home. The removal of the stress of dealing with the commute, worrying about the commute, etc. is AMAZING.

    2) The stress of being available to work over time but also worrying about the commute (see #1). Because I want to help out and be a team player, but I also don’t want to basically live in my car because by the time I make it home I sleep for 5 hours and have to do it all over again. WFH lets me say “sure I can stay” and be productive without the constant background worry.

    3)Finally being able to adhere to a sleep schedule that doesn’t have me fighting my natural circadian rhythm. I haven’t slept this well since I made my own class schedules back in college. This in turn allows me to keep to an exercise routine without being so exhausted.

  114. Learning As I Go*

    I’m a manager in a manufacturing plant, so while most of my actual work can be done remotely, there’s an expectation that I’m present in the plant fairly often as well. When COVID-19 first hit, I was pretty fearful and worked from home as much as I thought I could get by with. Eventually, duty and guilt won out over safety (sadly), so I returned to the office almost full-time by early May. I actually felt much better!! Not only did it ease my guilt of staying safe at home while my team had to show up and risk exposure, but returning to a normal routine – getting up, getting dressed, driving to work, and interacting with others – really improved my state of mind. As I’ve worked fulltime in the office for several months (even through COVID outbreaks at the plant), I’ve managed to stay healthy, which has done a lot of ease my fears. It’s hard for me to fathom now that there are people who haven’t set food outside of their homes since late March. Not judging, just saying…my sanity wouldn’t have survived it.

    We decided to adopt a second dog a few weeks ago, and she’s deep into the “puppy” phase, so working from home would be insanely distracting now. Let’s hope we’re not forced into it due to a second wave!

    1. pancakes*

      “there are people who haven’t set foo[t] outside of their homes since late March” — there are? I’m in NYC and don’t know anyone who’s that extreme, and we can get anything and everything delivered here. I stay in a LOT but still need to go out for routine doctor appointments and sanity walks.

  115. Reality Check*

    My only complaint was not having a home office space in my apartment & having to work at my dining room table, but that was more than offset by being IN CONTROL OF THE THERMOSTAT.

    1. Jackalope*

      That was one of my favorite parts about this last summer. Normally the office is FREEZING in the summer (my perspective, anyway; it’s not as bad as it could be). Working in temps that matched outdoors was lovely.

  116. Student Affairs Sally*

    I’m current on a 50/50 WFH arrangement (one week in the office, one week at home) because my colleague and I share an office that isn’t big enough for social distancing. I MUCH prefer the weeks where I’m in the office, although there are benefits to being at home (sleeping a bit later, sweatpants/leggings, more time with my kitties). It’s just a lot harder for me to focus at home. I don’t *try* to be lazy when I’m home, but I’m much more likely to fall down the AAM rabbit hole or spend hours reading articles about my field without actually doing any work. I still complete all my deliverables, but I’m not looking for extra projects or doing non-essential things. And I REALLY miss the camaraderie and being able to have conversations with my colleagues and the students I work with. We still have chat and frequent video meetings, but it’s not the same. Tomorrow I’m actually driving in to the office just so I can walk with some colleagues to a local market for afternoon caffeine – a Friday tradition that I don’t want to miss out on just because I’m WFH this week.

  117. kaittydidd*

    I miss the structure of being in the office. I’m struggling to keep track of priorities and stay focused without it, honestly. I think part of it is ADHD (I really do have this diagnosis), and a smaller part is the general world situation and some bad habits. I also miss the social element of working in the same space. Having to make a call or fire up Skype makes talking to coworkers A Thing, and we don’t have the kind of passing in the hallways chit chat that we would in person.

  118. indigo64*

    One thing I wasn’t expecting from WFH- back pain! My office has always had a flexible WFH policy so I’d work from home occasionally for doctor’s appointments, when I had a cold, etc. It was never more than a day or two. After two weeks of working from home, I started getting terrible back pain, numbness in my arms, etc. I realized it was because my desk and chair were at the wrong level! We finally invested in new office furniture, but I am missing my expensive standing desk!

  119. C in the Hood*

    At first, I didn’t like working from home too much, mainly because of what I was used to. But now when I go into the office a half day a week, I find I’m used to working from home now. The office isn’t the same as it was; there are SO MANY rules (some are good, some are a bit over-the top).
    I miss the faster internet, seeing my favorite coworker everyday, knowing what everyone in the department is working on, being right there for my manager (I’m an admin).
    I don’t miss the open office (though no one is in our shared room altogether anymore), how COLD it is, not being able to check personal email/FB during down-time, being stuck in the office when there is so much to do at home.

  120. TR*

    I’ve worked from home for 4 years, so I’m used to it. Well, partly from home, I guess. I did paperwork from home and then showed up in court for court appearances. Now court is on the phone, so I’m working entirely from home. I like being able to do hearings in my pajamas, but I don’t think it’s as effective for my clients.

    The biggest problem with working from home is that it’s destroyed my relationship with my roommate. She’s working from home now, too, and she’s so annoying. She has her own bedroom but she insists on taking conference calls in the living room. And she’s always home. She went back to the office 2 days a week recently, and I relish her days in the office. And she’s moving out next week, thank goodness. I’m not getting any more roommates until people are fully back to the office. And maybe not even then.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Ugh, I feel you.

      I have WFH for several years. We have a whole separate office in our house with a proper two-screen setup and good ergonomic chair etc etc.

      But now spouse is also WFH (six months down, at least six months to go, and he is making noises about going permanently remote). And for logistical reasons he has stolen my office – I am not looking for advice on this, I am sad but there isn’t another option at present.

      So I have to fit two-screen work around his inflexible schedule, and otherwise work on a single tiny laptop screen at the dining table. I am emotionally and physically devastated by the change.

      WFH worked brilliantly for me when I was WFH on my own. Until and unless I can have a proper setup again, WFH will *suck*.

  121. Let’s skip 2020*

    I moved across Canada right before COVID hit for a new job in my hometown. I didn’t feel comfortable hunting for a new place to live due to the virus so I have been working from home since March… at my parents house! Working and living in the same exact room is exhausting.

    I get my new place a week from today though, yay!

  122. Female-type Person*

    I disliked it very much at first, but once I established a routine, it was fine, and now I never want to go back. I had a dedicated hobby space that is a near-perfect set up for a home office, and I just go into my room and close the door and I’m “at work” during business hours. My daily work was all phone and email, and the in person and of-site training I did simply has pivoted to doing to by Zoom, although I will admit some things translate better than others. The nature of my work makes me somewhat “on call” and while waiting for someone to need me, I can do hobby things. Making actual, tangible things has really given me a way to manage my anxiety about world events. Recently, I bought a tempered glass chair mat, and that is so much better than worrying about ruining my carpet with my desk chair.

  123. maaaaaawp*

    I like being able to dress down, look after my cats, and cook lunch in my kitchen rather than reheating something.

    I also hated my commute endlessly – I work(ed) in a major city and live very close to it, but the way the bus and train are set up means my commute was usually over an hour each way. I’ve driven to the office a couple times during off hours and it is a twelve minute drive. But usually there is more traffic than that, and parking passes are prohibitively expensive (to encourage transit use, which is helpfully subsidized.)

    Seeing how much my life has improved now that I don’t have to spend 2+ hours a day fighting with my city’s transit system has made me so mad at the decades of urban policy failures that have made it such a slog just to keep a job. So many cities have like two square miles containing all the jobs and very few homes, surrounded by rings of suburbs where everybody lives. It’s stupid! It does not have to be this way! And yet.

    All this said – I miss the office! I’m not cut out for working from home. I hate staring at a laptop all day. I’m a social creature, I miss coffee klatches and birthday parties, I miss doing physical work with my hands too.

    My goal post-pandemic is to find a job where I’m in the office 4-5 days a week, in a less expensive city where I can afford to live within walking distance of work.

  124. Kat*

    I only miss being able to have in person conversations to resolve small issues or questions. Those things just take longer now. I don’t miss the social interactions at all, but I was never a very social person to begin with. I’ve been going into the office twice a week and working from home the rest of the time since late March and working alone was really a relief. If the job market improves I’ll definitely be looking for a WFH or hybrid opportunity for my next job. Now that more people are in the office I find myself deeply annoyed with the noise and interruptions to my work and I’m not sure I am convincingly lying when people say “isn’t it so great to see other people in the office?”. Also my kids are teens so they don’t need constant supervision all day (just the occasional dragging out of bed in the morning) and its actually been a lovely opportunity to connect with them while having lunch together or chatting about their classes while they do homework and I work. I guess I just like my family more than my coworkers and I wonder if I’d feel differently if my kids were back in school and spouse back at work.

  125. KR*

    I miss my desk, my printer/scanner, and my 2 monitors. I have a desk at home but it’s too small for my whole set up and I don’t want to rearrange it since I switch between my office and my house frequently. And I miss my number pad on my keyboard.

  126. ENFP in Texas*

    I had a option to work from home for the past several years, but never took advantage of it, because I knew it wasn’t the best fit for me. I like the separation of work and home. I am usually more focused and productive in the office, and like the “shut down and go home” mindset.

    When COVID hit and we were all forced to work from home, I made the best of it and tried to set boundaries for myself. I have been reasonably successful.

    What has been wonderful about it in my case is the fact that it is just my dogs and me, and this year has been a bad one as far as their health. One of my dogs went through cancer treatment in August, the other is developing dementia, so being able to be home and having the flexibility of being able to go to vet appointments has been a blessing.

    The flip side of that is because it’s just my dogs and me, I have to make a conscious effort to interact with other human beings and to get out of the house.

    1. KR*

      I do love being able to be with my dogs all the time. I could bring them to the office with me before but it was a pain to bring the dog bed with me for my old boy and the parking lot pavement is too hot in the day time for potty breaks. But to be able to sit at home while my 14 year old good boy naps next to me and my younger girl hangs out outside (she’s silly, she’ll sit out there for hours and loves the heat and wants to be outside)… priceless.

  127. Shramps*

    I miss my coworkers, I miss dressing up, I miss my view, but I don’t miss how dirty our office building is.

    I like the privacy of my own home bathroom, doing little chores around the house, cooking lunch and my treadmill.

    I think when we go back (part time in November) I will have a hard time adjusting. I am just so depressed about everything. My heart hurts.

  128. Calanthea*

    I’m in my early thirties. Pre-lockdown, I was negotiating a payrise/title change based on my recent work and plans for the next year (ie, I’d be getting it in this September paycheck if I met those targets). I also had my eye on a couple of career moves in the next 2-5 years and was choosing projects accordingly.

    Lockdown was really hard at first, as 60% of my work became impossible/impractical. I took on a lot more administrative/processing work instead and initially felt very overwhelmed by it all. Gradually my attitude has changed from a “Growth/Improvement” focus to “get enough done and then switch off.” So I’m a lot happier in my life, but work has gone from being something I care about and want to do well, to something I have to do and want to get over with using as little time and energy as possible. I think a lot of that is because I cared about the people who my work was helping, and now I don’t see them it just doesn’t seem real. There’s also an element of “The world is burning, why do we need to groom llamas?”

    I’d find it really hard to go back to the office with my current attitude of “work sucks,” but I also don’t think I could progress in my career if I keep working from home. And whilst at the moment I don’t really care about career progression, I am not quite comfortable letting go of the plans I had for myself at 40.

    I’d be interested if anyone is feeling similarly now, or has felt similarly at other points in time, and how you dealt with it.

    1. Clever username goes here*

      Instead of letting go of those plans, can you do anything from home to keep working towards them? For example, I’m finishing a certificate in project management via a local university’s professional development department. I used to go on campus for classes but now it’s all virtual. Same certificate either way. :)

      1. Calanthea*

        Congratulations on your course! PM certification is really useful, so many job adverts ask for the certificate (rather than experience, lol).
        Your point would absolutely stand if I still wanted to follow those plans. The thing is, I just… don’t? Being “good” at work seems kind of pointless and unrewarding. I’d rather have a beautiful garden with lots of flowers and a home filled with interesting books that I’ve read and would pick up again, and the sports club I help run be super successful and all the stuff that I now spend more time and effort thinking about because I care more about it than whether I need to set up a new programme to deliver the Teapot Innovation Strategy 2030. Heck, I don’t care if teapots in 2030 are EXACTLY THE SAME as teapots now because I just don’t think it really matters.

  129. TiffIf*

    I do miss my office–I like a distinct separation between work and home–the only place I can work in my home is my craft table in my bedroom so I’m in my bedroom 18-20 hours a day which sometimes is very wearing.

    I had gotten kind of used to it after two and a half months and then summer hit, and I REALLY missed the office: the office has real air conditioning, my apartment has a swamp cooler–which if you are not familiar with them is only good for about 5 to 10 degrees of cooling so when the temperature hits 101 isn’t much help!

    I do also miss actually seeing my coworkers in person and even just going to a conference room for a meeting added variety to my day that I did not know I needed.

    Prior to all of this I would work one day from home a week which I liked and think I would still like, but I do actually want to return to the office at least part time.

  130. SomehowIManage*

    I don’t miss the office. However, I find myself doodling faces a lot while on conference calls. Previously, my doodles had been weighted more towards flowers and animals, and now it’s mostly human faces. I take that to mean that I miss people.

  131. swfgoesketo*

    I am actually surprised by how well I am doing. I was really worried at first (I have had trouble with it before), but it’s turned out great! The primary disadvantage is that I am way more sedentary. I always make a point to stand up and walk now and then. At work, I would go to the bathroom, the vending machines, a conference room, or even for a quick cruise around the office. Plus, there was walking to and from the parking lot (and I could take the stairs if I was really restless). All in all, I am missing out on over a thousand steps a day by not needing to move around the office during the course of a day.

    There are a few distractions (my condo walks out to a park, and there are almost always kids out there screaming, and many of the other people in the building are hard of hearing, so there’s occasionally very loud talking right outside my door), but for the most part, I have adapted.

  132. Megumin*

    I moved into a new house a couple months ago, and it greatly improved my WFH set up. When the pandemic hit, we were living in a rather small house with no office spaces, so I was sitting on the couch with my laptop – which was pretty awful. I got terrible tech neck and wrist issues. Now I have my own office space and a desk and a real desk chair.

    I’m still looking forward to going back into the office though. I have been home by myself with my two small children since March and it’s been challenging. My oldest daughter just started kindergarten virtually, and that adds a whole other challenge.

    When we return, my division will have a brand new building on campus. Our cubes are going to be significantly smaller, but it’s going to have way more windows and natural light! I’m looking forward to that, and also just casual chats with various people – I feel really disconnected from the other groups in my division, which is not a good thing in IT, especially because IT has a pretty bad history of being siloed and we’ve been working hard to break down those walls the past few years.

  133. 2legit*

    Absolutely not.

    There is no benefit at all for me to going back to the office.

    Everything can be done electronically. I don’t miss having to hear office gossip or being pressured to partake in forced fun, either.

    The colleagues I like and appreciate… we have stayed in touch remotely.

    The positive benefits for the environment… can’t be overstated… and for those who can’t drive and don’t have access to a good public transit system, WFH has been a huge blessing for us, one that we have been waiting a long time for.

  134. Tired of Covid*

    I worked at home exclusively for years before the pandemic. I absolutely love it and you couldn’t pay me now to go into the office. I have a separate room for my office and it is a comfortable setup, and I no longer have a long commute. I also live alone. Can’t say I would love it so much if my circumstances were different. I also have a minimal need to interact with coworkers, either for the job or personally. My workplace was pretty dysfunctional, so it’s a relief not having to see most of those people. I like quiet when working without having to wear headphones, and where I live is so peaceful. It’s the best, especially now, with so many workplaces not taking covid seriously.

  135. PseudoMona*

    I do not like working at home. I miss having a real desk and desk chair. I miss having two monitors for my computer. I miss having a clear separation between my work life space and my personal life space. I miss being able to pop into my manager’s office to ask a quick question.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’m sorry that your situation is so bad. It sounds like a nightmare. Your company had no emergency plan, it seems. I was always annoyed by ours. We practiced worst case scenario stuff twice a year. It was always a pain. 6 AM call, “you will be working from branch office today” “You will be working from home today.” Ugh, whatever!
      But when then crisis came, we had everything we needed, where we needed it.

  136. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    Nope.
    I’m one of the lucky ones. My company gave me the equipment I need. I have a separate space, with windows! for an office. SO bought a super comfortable office chair. A friend had (at the time) “pawned off on me” a giant work computer desk (inherited from a late relative) that she didn’t have room for, but I did. And my old one broke in my latest move, so I said I’d take it and thanks. Almost two years later, I set it up in my new home office and sent her a big thank you.
    So yeah, don’t care if I never go back.

  137. CJ*

    Surprisingly, kinda yes. I absolutely miss the weekly “have to shave” excuse from teaching in front of students, and as everyone’s finding out, Zoom is not a replacement for being in the same room for discussion content. (Humans are social monkeys. Who knew.)

    But what I _really_ miss are the copy room collisions or sharing _that_ look with the admin assistant at some student’s antics in the lobby or the down-the-hallway banter or the poke-your-head in doorway questions. (Especially since my schools both are apparently allergic to both Slack and Teams.) Meetings? Nah – it’s letting us see just how many meetings could be emails. But it’s the unplanned contact that’s the surprising absence.

  138. MediumEd*

    I do not have a comfortable working space at home. I suppose I could rearrange my dining room, buy a larger desk and extra monitors, a comfortable desk char and standing desk attachment, a printer/scanner…but that would be a huge expense that my college will not foot the bill for (any of it). I am a college professor and am teaching my classes online this semester. I have started going to my office 3x a week because I miss the space I have and all the amenities, it really makes it easier to teach and handle the rest of my responsibilities. I am also more focused in my online classes. At home I am very distracted as well. I’m doing laundry between meetings, finding excuses to do things around the house, etc. At my office, I have a door that closes, and dedicated time to work, so when I am at home, I am at home. Work stays at work. Not seeing my laptop, assignments that need grading, etc in my home space also reduces a lot of stress.

    1. Ettakit*

      I also work for a college and they let me take home my monitors, printer (desktop one), and desk chair. I bought a fairly inexpensive desk off amazon. Having a set up has helped as much as it can at this point. It’s definitely not ideal for all kinds of reasons, but having those few extras was really helpful. May be worth asking about.

  139. ShySqueaker*

    I was one of the “it’s convenient to blame covid so let’s cut this team” casualties in April/May, so I ahve two perspectives:

    1. I was doing great with my old team, because we made time for zoom, we were in sync and a well oiled machine that could talk serious or joke to get through. I missed seeing them in office, but we had grand plans for hosting a potluck when we got back in to work. Now we’ve all gone our separate ways – I miss them very, very much. Two I still keep in touch with, three don’t respond to emails (I can’t blame them, our layoff was handled badly and despite being a very productive team, were given a middle finger with the boot).

    2. As a new employee onboarding remotely is _awful_. Joining a team that’s been together for ages (I moved to government work, tenure here is 10 years and up) is really difficult when they haven’t fully embraced video conferencing or chat mechanisms like Teams. I’ve been in this position 3 months now on a 20 person team, and I have about 4 people I feel like I am getting to know – the rest are still total strangers. What’s worse is I don’t think I could put a face to a name! That makes me feel like a bad coworker.

    As for working from home? This emplyer has given us a small stipend on gettign a desk/chair and provided us with times to pick up extra monitors. I’m enjoying the lack of commute – but I miss, again, getting to know the people. It’s hard not to feel a bit isolated. On the positive side, work si also embracing lunch hour games and silliness – from around the house scavenger hunts (first one to get a shoe box gets $5 starbucks card, for example) to “get to know your coworker bingo”.

    1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

      We kinda sound like onboarding twins! My team is really all over the place when it comes to how they use tools like Teams, and some may not have work computers with cameras, so there are some people I’ve never seen.

      When you haven’t worked with people in the office, it’s really hard to know how much of their remote work communication style is about their adjustment to not being in-person versus their actual personalities. There are people who put little effort into not being strangers, but I don’t know if it’s about them being unwelcoming or just not at ease with getting to know people under these circumstances. It’s crazy-making.

      1. ShySqueaker*

        I’m both glad I’m not the only one and sad you’re facing the same struggle I am!

        I’m not sure if this is just going to prolong the “newbie” status or the feeling of being a stranger or if it’ll ease with time. I raise a coffee to my onboarding twin – we’ll get through this! Awkwardly, without facial recognition of our coworkers, but someday! :)

  140. Veryanon*

    I never thought I would miss it. Pre-pandemic, my job gave me flexibility to work at home sometimes (waiting for a service person, had a doctor’s appointment, etc.) and I always enjoyed those work from home days. But now that I am here all. the. time, it’s not ideal. One of the things I miss the most, which I didn’t expect, was seeing random colleagues while getting tea/going to the restroom/grabbing lunch in our cafeteria. I also miss having people just drop by my cube for chats about whatever. The site where I work is my company’s second-largest site in the U.S., with almost 1,000 people, so we had a strong culture of site-oriented social activities which were both fun and educational (just as an example, we had started a Toastmasters chapter at the site about 6 months before the pandemic hit). We as a company promote good citizenship and being socially conscious (we offer employees up to 6 paid days off a year for volunteering), so we had connections to a number of local charities where we’d do volunteer work or raise money for them. A lot of these activities have fallen by the wayside, unfortunately, as most of us are still working remotely and will be doing so well into 2021.

  141. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    One of our biggest office towers in my city has just been purchased by a company who is likely to convert it to part residential/part office. My son and I were doing a thought experiment about whether it would be good to live and work in the same building … but not “at home”.

    If I wasn’t forced to live in a high rise, which would be a bit of a hellscape for me, I think it would be awesome. My son was totally into it.

    The workaround for me would be that I’d have to have a good dog park and a dog that I’d be forced to walk regularly so that I’d go outside.

  142. Catthulu*

    I miss water cooler chat (and I think that scuttlebutt sometimes helped me at work too); but I do not miss commuting or the need to stick around for 8+ hours whether or not it made sense. I love being in more control of my day. The biggest issue is my home office set up-my partner and I live in a tiny 1 bedroom shoe box and work sitting a few feet apart from one another in what is basically our living room. It’s not a great set up ergonomically and it makes it hard to shut off my workbrain when it’s literally in my line of sight for most of the day. If we had even one other bedroom to allow us to create a real delineation between work and everything else, that would be great.

  143. Theo*

    Literally as I was reading this post my 18-month-old walked in, stared at me, and went “Woof. Woof.” SO YEAH, I MISS MY OFFICE. On the plus side, she can’t negotiate the handle yet, so if I get the door to latch entirely, I have a nice cozy space that’s much more pleasant than my work office. But I miss my commute (spent it reading or walking) and my coworkers (especially the person I have shared a large office with for like, six years) and being able to rely on a raise.

    I do love not paying for the commuter rail tho, and homemade meals every day.

  144. Kimmy Schmidt*

    I miss our office walking group. We’d take twice-daily walks with a small group of coworkers to get a quick break and stretch our legs. It was so nice to get that informal chatting time and the exercise.

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      Yes! I got a lot more steps in at the office. The kitchen was upstairs and down a long hall, and when it wasn’t raining, some of us would have walking meetings, we’d also sometimes go for walks during lunches… now my fridge is about 6 steps away.

  145. Student Affairs Sally*

    As an addendum to my previous comment – I think one of the reasons I prefer being in the office is, oddly, because I’m a huge introvert. My introversion (and social anxiety) causes me to not be super driven to make a lot of social connections, so I’ve primarily relied on my colleagues, my husband, and my outside romantic relationships (we’re polyamorous) for social interaction. COVID basically killed any dating prospects, and WFH killed my interaction with colleagues, so for many months I was really only interacting with my husband. Although my need for social interaction is pretty minimal compared to more extroverted people, it’s not nonexistent, so this was really, really hard on my mental health. Now that I’m in the office part of the time, I get more of my social needs met and I also feel like I’m more productive. Having some interaction definitely makes the weeks without it more bearable, but I’d rather be in the office all the time if it was safe to do so.

  146. Admins, can't find good ones*

    I’ve been fully remote for years, so I’m used to it. Adding the kids to the mix hasn’t been too disruptive. But I am so ready for my husband to go back to work. He types loudly, his monitor setup is huge, he sighs a lot, and he wears a headset for calls. For some reason, I don’t want to see that side of him. We joke that perhaps he’d be more comfortable in the garage? So I miss him going in to the office.

    1. Tessera Member 042*

      My husband has a mechanical keyboard–SUCH LOUD TYPING, it sounds like he’s always annoyed or angry! Combined with the fact that he is apparently also an emphatic sigher at work, hearing him always makes me tense.

  147. J.E.*

    I’ve really enjoyed getting to sleep in later due to no commute. I feel more productive because I’m in a more comfortable environment-I can control the temperature, I’m in comfortable clothes, lunch is easy and healthier and I can get some house things done like laundry instead of cramming it in during the evening or weekend when I’d rather have time to do other things. I hope that going forward, the new normal is more employers offering 2-3 days in the office and the rest working from home. And death to open floor plan offices!

  148. Sylvan*

    I miss my office! I especially miss my coworkers. We talk on Teams and we have very occasional video meetings, but it’s not the same. While I’m glad we’re not spending too much time in meetings, which I hear is a problem a lot of people are dealing with right now, I’d like to see everyone a little more often.

    I miss some superficial things about the office itself, like the pretty good coffee and the very good massage chairs. On a less superficial note, I miss having a clear distinction between my work space and my home, and my work life and private life. It’s just so hard to compartmentalize things in a studio apartment. (I never wanted a large apartment until this happened. Now I see the appeal of a two-bedroom apartment for one person.) It’s also difficult for me to focus on work when there are other things to do all around, though ADHD probably plays a role in that at least as much as the pandemic situation.

    1. Veryanon*

      My office offered 20-minute chair massages every week, which were awesome. We had to pay for them, but it was $20 well spent and I always felt so refreshed afterwards. I miss that.

  149. blink14*

    I’ve been totally remote since mid-March and expect to be at least through the end of the year. I knew going into this I was likely not going to be a fan of working from home long term, and turns out that I definitely do not like it. I worked from home for about 4 weeks, part time and then full time, after recovering from a surgery and then occasional days in the time since, but there was always an end to it, a termination point, a return to the office.

    I greatly appreciate being able to work from home when I have an appointment, need to take care of something at my apartment, etc, and I’m very appreciative that I can continue to work remotely now, as I’m high risk. All that being said, I really prefer to keep my work time separate from my personal time and I don’t like the two blending together. I hate video calls – I refuse to turn on my camera – and I’m in more meetings now than I ever was when in the office. I feel pressure to make it look like I’m busy, and I eventually just gave up on that, and now add in little tasks or chores throughout the day to break the time up and use free time I have while waiting for an email, between calls, etc.

    I’m currently living with my family, and working remotely was a huge reason why I left my apartment in a major city. I have two roommates, both of which were also working remotely and still are, and I knew that being cooped up in my bedroom basically 24/7 would not be a good choice for me, not to mention sharing one bathroom 24/7 and not driving each other crazy. I’m still paying my rent and utilities as usual, but have only been back a few times.

    I don’t miss the commute, and getting up earlier than I am right now, but I do look forward to returning back to a normal work/life schedule hopefully early next year.

  150. LimeRoos*

    I love working from home but miss my coworkers and cafe/mini store. We’d grab breakfast and lunch occasionally and it was just so nice to take 15 and chill down there with food and friends. Plus, our cafeteria was the bomb. Best bacon, egg, and cheese bagel ever. And the salads at lunch were fantastic. Ugh. I miss it so much. So so much. They had this coconut chicken salad with strawberries, pineapples, & mandarin orange slices. And a their steak salad with feta & pepperoncini. Plus the build your own salad bar… And I just made myself hungry. Merf.

    1. pancakes*

      You’ve made me hungry too! I was already craving pepperoncini lately but now I really, really need a fresh jar of them.

  151. Ettakit*

    I definitely miss my office and all that comes with it. My husband, stepson and I are all WFH/LearnFH now and while it’s nice to not have an hour commute everyday, we could use a few more doors – my office is our open dining room. I also have 4 pets and have to do zoom appointments with my students all day so they’re constantly in the video. I miss being able to walk down the hall to get answers and see my students in person and go to campus events and walk to the student-run coffee shop.

    I’d be perfectly happy to WFH part-time in the future, but I definitely need to leave my house and get some in person human time to feel truly productive.

  152. The Other Dawn*

    Working from home full-time was really difficult at first, for a number of reasons. I had my two back surgeries in March, one on the 3rd and one on the 17th. Right in between in when things started blowing up with schools going remote, events being cancelled, etc. So I came out of surgery into a pandemic, which meant when I was able to get around a few weeks later, stay-at-home orders were issued. That meant I could go out, but it was very limited, had to wear a mask, shelves were bare, etc., so why even bother going out? When I recovered enough to work (desk job), my company had gone almost completely WFH. Since I had only planned on working from home for a few weeks while I recover enough to go back to the office, I had no dedicated space to work. Plus I was still extremely uncomfortable sitting upright in a chair so I had to figure out how to work comfortably, WHERE to work in the house, how get some movement in during the day, and then at the same time the doctor was weaning me off the pain meds, which was really bad timing due to having to figure out how to work and be comfortable (and the mental aspect of coming off the pain meds was…not good). Although I finally settled at the dining room table and got myself a sit/stand desk, two monitors and a few other things, we decided to convert a room in our house into an office, which is still in process due to the age of the house and my husband having to do 99% of the work by himself due to my physical restrictions. Although everything I mentioned contributed to hating WFH, the worst part was being so isolated in the beginning, especially since my only time out of the house was for physical therapy twice a week, and trips to the grocery store and pharmacy.

    Now that I’ve been working from home since April, have an office that’s almost done, and know it’s going to be this way at least through 2020, I’m OK with it. I’m starting to like it, honestly. I don’t have to: wake up with an alarm clock (probably the best part for me!), drive to work, think about work clothes, make my breakfast and lunch, jam everything in on the weekends since I’m always home, and I can get up and move as much as a want (not that I couldn’t at the office, but it’s easier at home). I can also be here for deliveries and not worry about someone being home. I do miss seeing my coworkers face-to-face and making small talk, but IM and Teams meetings are fine. The one thing that still annoys me is when all the neighbors, who are mostly retired or work odd hours, are out mowing their laws, cutting down trees, and doing other loud landscaping things. But that happens on the weekends, too, and we all need to keep up with the yard work.

    My company is now completely rethinking a planned expansion of the back offices and will likely make many back office departments permanently WFH–we’re one of them. Now that I’m enjoying WFH, I think I would be really disappointed to have to go back to the office, mainly because I see how much less stressed I am now without having to pack everything in on the weekend and having the freedom to get up and run to the store if I want to. It would also suck to have to go back to worrying about work clothes.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I’ll add that during the first few months, I was desperate to be able to work in the office a day or two a week, just to be somewhere other than home. My boss was fine with it since there were only a few people on my floor and none were on my side. I went in maybe four time from May through July and that was it. Now that I’m getting out more, either to eat out or go somewhere other than the grocery store; am moving around a lot better; and I’m not in active surgery recovery mode, I’m fine working at home.

  153. ArchivistGal*

    I discovered I really like working from home! If I weren’t an archivist who works with the physical historical items in the archives, I would try to figure out a way to work from home forever. I can wear what I want (and just throw on a business top for meetings on Zoom), adjust my eating schedule to when I’m hungry rather than an arbitrary schedule, am interrupted only when my cat wants a brief cuddle (as compared to the numerous interruptions in the office), there’s no driving involved, and have a window to look out of as I work, among other benefits.

    That said, I do wish I had a separate office from my bedroom, but as I live in a three-bedroom apartment with two housemates, at least I already had a desk when this all started. I do miss my dual monitors, so that is nice when I am in the office (as I have been once a week since August, trying to get some in-office things done in case/when there’s a second round of complete closures). I have NOT missed idle chitchat (though some has always been okay), and I absolutely HATE the fact that there are some people back in the office who clearly haven’t figured out how to properly wear their face masks (which makes me less happy to be back in the office than I’d care to admit). I’m definitely more on edge there, even though I have an office of my own, because not everyone is back, we’re only allowed to come in on certain days when we do come back, who knows how the ventilation in the building works, and masks get uncomfortable after a while.

    Also my employer axed the in-house cafeteria while we were all 100% home, so I have to bring my lunches now, and so now I need a level of forethought in regards to meals at work that has always been difficult for me to manage.

    Overall I’d say it’s a mixed bag, but I definitely fall on the ‘Don’t miss the office’ side.

  154. Lore*

    I am losing it a little. I’m a total introvert and really sensitive to noise and was desperate for one WFH day a week when I worked in an open cube farm. (Ironically after literal years of asking for that, it was approved in January 2020. Sigh.) But all the time? My 1br apartment isn’t set up for it; my laptop isn’t up to it; I’m resentful of the extra expenses in equipment that my job isn’t subsidizing (like an external monitor). I’m overwhelmed by the number of extra Webex meetings that are required to substitute for the informal group problem-solving and information-sharing that we had in the office. I miss reading on my commute, and having an unlimited Metrocard that meant I didn’t have to put a price tag on every errand more than 10 blocks away. And I miss my colleagues—no, we’re not all bffs, but we like each other and we have lunch or drinks or whatever semi regularly. Yes, I like being able to do laundry or exercise at lunch, but somehow I’m working more hours and even without evening engagements, I find it harder to find time for grocery shopping and cleaning and whatnot. 1-2 days a week wfh would be ideal for me I think.

    1. F.M.*

      Oh, heck, that reminds me of another thing I miss! I used to get semester-long metro cards that covered buses and light rail, so it was trivial to just take public transit to any old place I wanted to go, on a whim, or change my mind at the last minute between walking vs. public transit.

      Now that I’m buying each ticket individually, and the rail stations are constantly playing the reminders about only using public transit for vital travel… I haven’t been to a park, or a museum, or an outdoors event, or anything where I could go have a safe cultural experience in MONTHS, and even my grocery store trips are more anxious and rare now. Not to mention how much less I’m walking just by not walking to/from bus & rail stops.

  155. Jenkins*

    I don’t miss it at all. I love working from home. I love being alone and not having to engage in annoying chitchat with coworkers all day and listening to their silly family dramas.

  156. Sabrina*

    I’d like working from home so much more if my office could support its staff doing so better. I’ve got a laptop that can’t run some of the software I need to do the most time critical part of my job. The office doesn’t have enough VPN licenses and hasn’t bought more so I can’t access our network. Plus few weeks before WFH started my group got a new supervisor, someone who was new to both managing and our group. She’s trying really hard, but has her own WFH challenges that make quick conversations almost impossible. I get emails from her like “Hi please prioritize that teapots project of yours today” and I respond with “Sure, but did you mean my teapot handle or teapot sprouts project?” and then not hear back for three hours. Eventually her boss will chime in that it’s sprouts, but by then I’m behind and frantically try to catch up.

    The bit were I actually work from home I like, it’s the struggle to be able to do my job that’s hard! And I do miss my coworkers and stuff like going for long walks at lunch, my office had some lovely walking paths around it.

  157. voyager1*

    Yes. I miss it. Bloomberg news ran a story yesterday saying that office occupancy won’t be back to pre Covid levels till 2025.

    I miss going to the office because it let me separate work from home. I miss the people. I miss getting out of the house.

    I don’t like how much this is subsidizing my workplace for less costs for them (phone, internet,etc) We did not get a subsidy to buy office furniture and were told we could use our own TVs to be a computer screen “just buy a cable.” F that! You can give me a screen.

  158. Thankful for AAM*

    I only got to work from home for a short time but I loved it more than I thought I would. I was more productive and less distracted than I expected. And less distracted than I am by the open office plan and I thought that was not bothering me at all. Now I realize just how much it is a problem.

  159. Bend & Snap*

    My job is remote all the time anyway and I love it. I do not love the insane hybrid school schedule or virtual learning for my 7 year old.

  160. Time Lord*

    I like working from home and I don’t – I like the flexibility and the lack of commute, and that I get to snuggle my dog on the couch during my lunch break. But I very much miss seeing my coworkers in person. My office was very social, and as a single person who moved for this job most of my social interaction took place at work. Chatting and even video calls just aren’t the same, you know? It’s hard feeling like I’m out here on my own little island every day.

  161. ThursdaysGeek*

    I used to miss it more, but then I realized that I didn’t freeze all summer. I set the air conditioner to come on at 78, had fresh air coming in when it was cooler, have all these windows and light. And I didn’t need to wrap a blanket around me and drink hot tea because the summer air conditioner is set to frigid for all the non-reptiles around me.

    I’m going to be able to turn on heat in the winter and stay warm then, too. Right now, I have a window open and can hear the birds. I’m in a quiet room in a quiet house.

  162. Lizabeth*

    I was working remotely for a year and a half because of parental units, then the virus shutdown hit in March.

    Overall my work doesn’t require me being in an office daily to get things done. The only downside of being remote is getting all the information I need to do my job right the first time. Too many crickets when I ask TPTB for a decision to be made or information that I need, either by email or phone. The other downside is being separated from my SO – my home state has my remote state listed for mandatory 2 week quarantine if I travel there. I used to travel once a month to work in the office for a week.

    Upsides: I get more work done. I don’t have to listen to the office squawker 8 hours a day in a shared large open office.

  163. MzFitToyz*

    I work as a clinical social worker and team leader. Out of an abundance of caution, we were sent home for several months and I hated it. There were some perks to WFH (watching SCHITT’S CREEK on lunch break, actually getting a lunch break!) but my members deal with such a severe level of mental health issues that trying to do clinical sessions over the phone just did no work. And there was no satisfaction. I am an extrovert. I get a lot of energy from the variety of roles I play in a day and the variety of meetings I get to do. I can go from personal shopper to crisis counselor in the course of one appointment. It just didn’t translate to working over the phone. And I did not like my work set up. I have a great office chair at my office. I was barely surviving a day working at my thrown together space. I was so relieved when they asked us to come back to the office. I’ll wear a mask and socially distance but I am an essential worker and I can only really do this job when I have direcet contact with people. I want to say, though, I do appreciate that my company tried really hard to protect us. It just didn’t really work in the end.

  164. A Whole New World*

    I changed started a new job in the midst of all of this and it’s been challenging as a manager. I’ve been going into the office a few days a week which is nice but it would definitely be better if my whole team was in.

  165. juliebulie*

    A timely topic indeed, because yesterday I had to clean out my cubicle. I’m working at home “forever” now. They are knocking down the building (it’s full of asbestos, dead bugs, lead, ghosts, who knows what else) and the new building won’t have room for most of us.

    Working from home was great when it was an occasional convenience. It was just okay through most of the pandemic so far, while I was still thinking of it as temporary and looking forward to a return to “normalcy.” Now that it’s officially “permanent,” however, it blows. My house is pretty small and I’m not thrilled about having to permanently dedicate so much space to a full office setup. (I’ve been working on a laptop and external monitor, but my “full” setup is two monitors, a printer, office supplies, binders, etc.)

    BUT I still have a job and I LOVE not having to drive nearly an hour each way. I just need to look for ways to compensate for those office amenities that I no longer have.

    1. juliebulie*

      And I’m also a little sour because I bought some nice fall clothes when I thought I’d be going back to the office at least part time.

      I mean, I can still wear them to family things and such, but it seems almost wasteful to wear nice things when I’m working alone at home.

  166. Jam Today*

    I would cautiously consider going back to an office one or two days a week, if I could commute by public transit, but I will be happy never to have to commute by car to sit in a grey office-park office full of cube-lets for the rest of my life. The only thing I don’t like is the total isolation (I live alone) but that’s more a complaint about our current state of affairs in the US and lack of infection control, and my inability to go to the movies or concerts.

  167. Mike Engle*

    I miss my office a lot. Actually, I miss physically going outside to hop on the metro, getting to work, and knowing that once I leave the office, the work stays there and waits for me the next day. As awesome as it is that 100% of my job is compatible with 100% fully remote working, I don’t love seeing my work-issued laptop physically at home after hours. The next residence will absolutely have a separate room (which I wouldn’t mind sharing with my wife!) that serves as the office. “Commute” to the home office, then shut the door on it at 5:30-ish.

  168. Tiffany In Houston*

    I don’t ever have to go back to the office. My team is primarily spread out across the country anyway so we were already semi-remote. My boss and co-worker are in the same city as me and we meet once a week on video.

    If I do have to go back I’d like to WFH 3 days and go into the office for 2 days. That would be the right mix so I could get out of the house.

  169. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

    Yes, I miss working in the office.

    Working at home has deepened connections between different locations in my organization, but I miss having a dedicated space to work.

    I don’t miss the commute – time and also fear I’ll get from taking the subway if I start going in.

  170. B2*

    I don’t miss working in the office at all. When work from home started, I thought I would have a hard time adjusting and wouldn’t enjoy it, but I like it so much that I’m looking for a full time remote position. As an introvert, I’m thriving at home and generally experiencing less stress and anxiety. Typically, my job offers no work from home option and very little flexibility in my schedule.

  171. Dilly*

    I really miss my office. I have never enjoyed working from home. Sure I’d do it if I had to be home for a service technician. And sometimes when I’m sick, I’ll do a few hours of telework. But it has never been a goal of mine to not go into the office. I like to have a bold line separation between work and home, which you just don’t get when your desk is the dining room table.

    Even though I spent a lot of my days holed up in my office not talking to people because I was trying to get an analysis done, I liked knowing that people were around me. I would stop by my boss’s office or vice versa and we would talk through weird situations that we had encountered. Sure, we do it now, but it’s more awkward over the phone. When I was in the office, the junior staff would be able to just pop in and I’d be able to answer questions on how to do something or figure out which older reports and analyses they should take a look at to guide what they were working on. I liked my Friday routine of going to the food trucks with one or two of my colleagues for lunch. I took a commuter train to work and in the mornings I would usually nap or read, but in the afternoons, I had a group of 3-4 other commuters that I would sit with. We talked about TV, movies, and books. I got advice on some home improvement stuff I wanted to do. I didn’t have to constantly deal with Google Meets. I had access to a high quality printer/scanner (my home printer/scanner is . . .fine). I had 2 big monitors (at home I have 1 plus my laptop screen and there isn’t room for a second monitor really).

    I miss the office.

  172. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    My team is really tightly knit and I really miss seeing them in person. There’s a lot of joking and collaboration that happens in the hallways that is just so very hard to replicate digitally. I miss the free, high-quality coffee and I miss taking afternoon walks with my team. And the lunch delivery service. I miss being able to catch my team director in her office and quickly talk through some minor questions I had without having to go all the way up to an email or make a formal meeting. It’s harder to bring up delicate topics. Sometimes I miss my commute – it’s when I listened to audiobooks and I haven’t found a new space for them in my non-commuting life.

  173. Ms. Pessimistic*

    My husband and I both had WFH days pre COVID but different days and we have one home office. We both like being home now but we can’t share an office so that has been difficult!

  174. Wings*

    My husband has been WFH since March and thought it was fine. Then he went into the office yesterday for the first time and realized how much he missed it. Funny in a way.

  175. jfgulia*

    I deeply, deeply miss going into work. I’m in the performing arts and while I am incredibly lucky to still have a job AND feel reasonably secure in that job, so much of what we do and the culture of our industry is around creating space and being in space together. On top of that, I was promoted into a new role in July that requires leading a lot of cross-departmental consensus-building and brainstorming – how I miss a whiteboard and having people in the same room to just have a normal conversation! It’s been just that much harder to get the new project off the ground and find my way. Also, I echo those who miss the power of the drive-by — especially with our Company President or the other VPs who have such busy schedules and inboxes (and are generally not huge on Teams or Slack etc). Finally, I used to think I hated my commute, but it turns out it was an essential part of my day — having to go from work mode to mom/partner mode with no separation or transition time is much more taxing than I would have anticipated.

    I, too, was having lots of issues with my family and boundaries, and the feeling like I lived at work, but we were lucky enough to have the means for a fun solution – we have a fully insulated, wired for power, 10×10 garden shed attached to our garage. Gave it a makeover (fun paint, an accent wallpaper wall, indoor/outdoor carpet) and now my office is OUTSIDE of my house (by like 20 ft, but the mental difference is huge). And at the end of the day, I close and lock the shed and leave it behind (as much as I ever did pre-COVID). But even with that… I still miss the office and my co-workers and getting to be my “work self” with people IRL. I know my company will eventually transition back to in person, but we are taking a conservative stance on that which is the right call, but I am ready for that to happen.

    Thanks for providing the space to vent about this. I know I am in a position of such privilege – especially in my field and with the fact that my kid is old enough to do school on her own – so I always hesitate to whine. But I truly, truly do not like working from home.

  176. Quinalla*

    I normally love working from home when I would do it on occasion to meet a plumber or something in my quiet office space, but right now my three kids and my husband are here all the time, so no it is not great. I miss the casual, unplanned office interactions – I’ve actually tried to replicate it by sending folks IMs very occasionally when I think of something I want to share that normally I would casually in the office, but it feels weird to do remotely. Also, I hate when everyone starts mowing their grass when I am trying to concentrate lol!

    When COVID is over, I plan to ask to work remotely 2 or 3 days a week permanently. I think that would be a nice balance between some office time and some awesome, quiet focus time working at home.

  177. Dorothy Zbornak*

    I like being able to sleep in, but that’s about it. I never feel like I get to leave work behind. My apartment is now my workspace and school as well (I’m doing a Master’s degree) — I never feel fully relaxed. Even when the work day is over, I’m still stuck on the computer in class or doing homework. Weekends are devoted to the same exact thing. I have a one-bedroom apartment so I don’t have an “office” I can close the doors on and leave behind when I’m not working. I never realized how much I depended on breaking up my life into the office, the classroom/library, and home for relaxation.

    1. Me*

      I so feel you on the working and schooling from home. Not only do I miss the office but I miss being able to go write a paper in a library or study in a coffee shop. It’s somehow exhausting to never get a change of scenary.

      1. Dorothy Zbornak*

        Yes, completely agree! I never focused well in a coffee shop, but I really depended on being able to go to the library after work or on the weekend when I needed to knock out a paper or something. It was also great to meet up with classmates for library dates to suffer through papers together. I work at the university where I go to school so it was really easy to make that happen. I find it so hard to focus after a long work day or week to then put my energy on additional hours of staring at a laptop, and like you said, it’s incredibly exhausting.

    2. Dorothy Zbornak*

      on the plus side – I do not miss getting dressed for the office! My personal style is very much rock and roll/western, and if I could I would live in band tees/jeans/boots every day, so I never felt fully comfortable in my work clothes. the downside is that I’m also not really wearing my personal style ever, since I spend the majority of my time in my apartment. I live in leggings and sweaters/sweatshirts. However, it’s nice that I can wear my comfy oversized flannel every day now that it’s getting cooler. I struggled to style those appropriately for the office.

    3. Tessera Member 042*

      I agree about the usefulness of breaking up your life with different locations! I finished my PhD this spring while teaching a few college classes online, but the ability to go work on my dissertation at the public library (in their lovely study rooms), come home, eat lunch, and then shift into work mode made a big difference.
      Especially now that my spouse is WFH, I do sometimes feel confined to the bedroom where my desk is. At least if I was having trouble focusing before, I could move to the couch, but now there’s just the bed and it’s way too tempting to nap otherwise.

  178. NLMC*

    I love working from home and hope to never go back full time. I do go to the office one day a week so it’s a nice little break from being home, but once a week is enough for me. I don’t miss my daily commute and I’m eating healthier by being home to make lunch and I’m not too exhausted by the end of the day to make a dinner.

  179. Nacho*

    Back when I still had a job, I did miss my office. My team was pretty laid back, so there was a lot of turning my chair around to ask my co-workers something, or just chatting with them for a while. I missed out on a lot of human interaction while I was working at home, and even more now that I’m laid off.

  180. If Lucid*

    I always assumed I would love working from home full time. I have a great home office and technology that allows me to be productive offsite. In reality, it took me months to adjust to some sense of work/life balance. Work became life, and life was work. If I wasn’t sleeping or in the shower, I was on my laptop updating project plans, answering emails, scheduling meetings. Things reached a breaking point at the end of May, now I’m better at setting boundaries and sticking to a schedule.

    I don’t miss the traffic of my commute, but I miss driving. I’m nostalgic for the scenery of my drive to work in the crisp morning air.

    I’m also worried about my comfort level with being isolated. I missed the in-person interactions at first. Now the longer I go without being around people, the more I like *not* being around people.

    all in all, it’s been a much more difficult adjustment than expected.

  181. Squeegee Beckenheim*

    I’ve been back in the office for a couple months after being at home for a couple months, and this is kind of the worst of both worlds. We don’t have in-person meetings, but instead have Teams meetings where you sometimes hear other meetings in the background, which is insanely distracting. We very rarely have face to face conversations, and when we do I often have trouble understanding what people are saying through their masks.

    The only upside is I now have a hard stop time as opposed to WFH where it sometimes bled into personal time. The downside is my boss still thinks we should sometimes work until late at night, where at home I would only do that when I had a task that was like five minutes of work, forty-five minutes of the computer running the numbers.

    I’m also glad to have my chair back, but I miss my cats and my sweatpants SO MUCH.

  182. aunt bop*

    I’ve grown used to the routine that is involved with WFH (getting up later, petting cats whenever I want, etc) but the actual working part is a struggle for me. I slip into other activities easily and I feel unfocused and not motivated. I miss the ease of collaborating with colleagues and the endless screen time is exhausting. The physical set up is also not great for me either. I managed to carve out a corner in my small NYC apartment but my desk is small and the chair is uncomfortable. I could buy a larger desk to make my work life easier at the cost of making my home/personal life worse – having an even larger desk and chair taking up space in the middle of my living room would not make me feel good. At least I am in a 1BR and not a studio.

    I WFH for about 4 years before my current job and one of the reasons I left was because I wanted to stop WFH

  183. Me*

    So so much. I could handle working from home a few days a week. But I miss the routine of going into the office and the interaction with other people.

    If my workspace was better and I wasn’t living alone maybe I’d feel different but I genuinely doubt it.

  184. Elenia35*

    Yes I frickin hate working from home full time. I left my old job because I had to work from home all the time. I am now 3 days in the office, 2 days at home and this is PERFECT.

  185. LQ*

    If someone was in my office and someone else wanted to intrude on the conversation they had to knock on a closed door, acknowledge the other person (often with some pleasantness), and then explain why their thing was more important than the other thing – either in front of the person they were budging on or by me knowing that they had something incredibly urgent. People had a physical understanding of maybe someone has something else happening.

    Now everyone everyone expects me to be doing 10 conversations at once all the time. If I’m not immediately responsive to people they’ll give me…eh maybe 5 minutes and then start escalating. Which means then other people are running to me saying why didn’t I deal with that person’s problem in 5 minutes.

    I want physical meetings with everyone in the building forever now. This BS of immediate response has got to stop. It’s absolutely exhausting in the first 10 minutes of every day.

  186. Amy*

    I definitely miss it! I’m extremely fortunate in that I enjoy my coworkers, have a short commute, and we had recently moved into a very nice building. I have strong boundaries around “work happens in the work space, home things happen at home,” and while I am not at all tempted to work extreme hours or anything, my brain just works better when I’m able to go to the office – it’s a physical cue that I need. However, I’m trying to embrace the good things – more dog walks, being able to stay caught up on chores, etc. Sending lots of strength and compassion to those of you who are doing any caretaking of humans small or grown!

  187. Aquawoman*

    Early on, we had a full house and my desk was in the dining room, ten feet from my beloved but very loud husband, and in a space that people consider a talking space. I’m an introvert with ADHD and sensory processing issues and it was murder. I haven’t shared an office since 1995. I listened to a lot of ambient music with earbuds and went on a solo vacation in August. It did not help that my unfortunate husband had the project from hell this summer. Since my son went back to college and my husband moved his office into his room (different floor!!), and my office is now where my husband’s was/out of the traffic flow of the house, it’s been much better. I do miss seeing my colleagues but I don’t miss commuting, lunch planning and wearing a bra. I think my ideal split would be 60-40 WFH/office.

  188. Dobermom*

    I could work from home forever. My setup is not great – I have a little TV tray table with my laptop on it. But I’m comfortably on the couch (with a bunch of throw pillows for posture!) with one of my dogs next to me the whole time. My job is not complicated, and I’m very efficient at it. So I’m finding it a relief to not have to try to “look busy” if I’ve completed my work for the day. As long as I’m available if someone needs me, I don’t have to stress about looking busier than I actually am.

  189. SufjanFan*

    My office wasn’t the cleanest, and I usually felt grossed out. The bathrooms were disgusting, and the office was so dusty that I honestly felt like it was negatively affecting my health. Also, many of my coworkers didn’t respect social cues that I was busy (not being talkative, wearing headphones) and would distract me constantly, so I appreciate that I can hunker down and get things down without distractions.

    That being said… I do miss some things. I miss the routine. I miss needing to take a break and walking to get coffee with my coworkers. I miss the general camaraderie. I live alone and it has been really, REALLY lonely to not see another human face in the flesh for most (if not all) of my day.

    I also miss the “hard stop” of the day. When we were in the office, for the most part, when someone left for the day, they didn’t check or respond to emails (unless it was super time sensitive). Now, everyone is juggling different hours because of childcare issues, and while I am happy that my workplace is flexible for working parents, I now am getting emails and IMs all hours of the day (sometimes as late as midnight!) and I struggle with turning off/not responding.

  190. Ann O'Nemity*

    I miss it, I really do. Recently I’ve realized that I no longer like my job now that we’re working from home. And that is just crushing me.

    I miss seeing people in person, going to a different and separate physical space, and moving around all day. Now I spend my days staring at the computer screen, mostly in virtual meetings. I don’t get a lot of enjoyment or satisfaction out of it. As a natural extrovert, I just don’t get the same energy boost from virtual that I did from in-person interactions. It feels lonely and exhausting.

    Don’t get me wrong, WFH is the safest option right now and I’m grateful for that. I’m saving money on transportation, wardrobe, and lunch. I’m saving an hour a day on commuting, not to mention the time spent getting ready and out the door. And there’s a lot of conveniences associated with being at home all day. I’m trying to be grateful for the good, and patient that some day we’ll go back to the office.

    1. Dorothy Zbornak*

      I liked my job before WFH, but a lot of that was because of working with a great team and having a friendly, fun work environment. Due to financial complications because of COVID, we’ve had major changes at our university with layoffs, restructuring, etc., and now that I’m working with different people and can’t even see the people I like, I’m incredibly resentful and honestly very unhappy. I’m stuck at my job for another year while I finish my degree because the school pays for it. I’m normally very productive in the office, but I find myself dragging my feet on everything while WFH.

      Still, I’m grateful that I still have a job and am going to school for free while many people across the university have been laid off. But it’s really hard. I live alone, have barely had human contact for 6 months, and there’s no end in sight. No vacations to look forward to, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to go home and see my parents for the holidays, and all my free time is spent on schoolwork. It’s very depressing.

  191. Linda Evangelista*

    I very much love it, however we just moved from an apartment to a house and though we have two office spaces, we still only have one desk. I am so so tired of having to split time at one desk!

  192. Anon today*

    I really don’t miss the office! I’m in a pretty social job so I’m on Zoom calls several times a day, and I prefer to be comfortable at home rather than trying to manage my facial reactions and work from a tiny desk area at work.

    The only issue I had, was that in March, my husband and I had to start working from home in a one bedroom apartment. Since then, we have moved into a two bedroom, so now we can close a door between us if one is making too much noise.

    I am surprised, but honestly, I would love to be a full time remote worker moving forward.

  193. LeaveMeHome*

    I don’t miss it at all! There are absolutely things about my WFH situation that need improvement like having to drag a chair from my kitchen to my desk every single day because my very small 1 bedroom doesn’t have room for a real desk chair or the fact that my landlord’s family is incredibly loud and disruptive but those things were issues before COVID too.

    I got back HOURS daily – the commute was torture – over 2.5 hours per day, that alone has been a super benefit – and now I find on the 1 day a week I am going into the office I get much less done than when I am at home. I am also eating better because I am not restricted to the ziplock bag of pretzels I would throw in my purse because I work in an industrial area and there is nowhere to order from or run too – and using that kitchen in the office is just a hazard unto itself. Even being able to have a 2nd cup of coffee cause I am home and can make it myself instead of the sludge they insist on at the office, then who know’s how old the milk is. Dinner is largely better too because I can take a little extra time to make something healthy instead of bulk prepping 7 days worth of food on Sunday and being restricted to what can be revived in the microwave in 4 minutes.

    Because I am very high risk I am the only person not back in the office full time. My coworkers dont seem to care, a few had refused to WFH straight through since we stayed open. I speak to the partners daily and we have had frequent in depth check ins where I have made sure they are seeing the output they want from me. Essentially my only “in office” requirement is housekeeping (they actually have to walk right by the cabinet where the files go to leave them on my desk) and I clear those up within the first few minutes of my weekly trips in office.

    During this time I have had several severe medical issues and pointed out had they not allowed WFH I would have been 100% unavailable during recovery times but this way there were only slight delays in my response time. Not to mention I can now afford to stick around to get things done where I used to have to rush out.

    My bosses very much would like everything back to normal – mainly because they are the ones that like the social aspect of the environment but they realize since they are the ones reaffirming my productivity it would seem unreasonable to just come out with “we like hanging out in your office”.

    I wouldn’t be completely against increasing my time in the office but I will certainly be discussing the aspects of that – especially the fact that if I left everyday by noon I would be back at my desk at home in 30-45 minutes whereas if I stay till 5pm I am rushing out the door like the building is on fire because every minute I am delayed leaving at 5 adds about 30 minutes to the commute.

    Now if I could just find a lovely 2 bedroom :)

  194. employee*

    Yes, for months now. There are some advantages, but I really don’t have equipment for FT WFH, and it’s ridiculously lonely.

  195. Turanga Leela*

    I miss my office desperately. I miss the physical office—my second monitor, my posters on the walls, my big mugs for tea. I miss my colleagues like crazy. I miss getting coffee with people and chatting about work.

    My house has three adults working from home and one kid doing remote school. We’re on top of each other all the time. I find myself longing for my commute, or the first quiet moments of the day when I’m checking my email and preparing for the day. Nothing is quiet here; I’m never really alone.

    I’m very lucky to have my job and my family. It’s just been a long six months.

  196. Anne Elliot*

    I disliked working from home so much I voluntarily went back to the office. I am single and in the Before Times I spent a lot of time at work and was happily introverted at home alone in the evenings and on most weekends if I wasn’t travelling, either by myself or with friends. Then came the Rona and we were sent home and for 10 weeks I was in my house, alone with my pets, 24/7, 7 days a week (because no weekend personal travel, either). I was fine with it for a good long while but then it began to really negatively affect me in terms of starting to feel depressed and having my productivity really decline.

    My office operates on a skeleton staff, with one admin and one executive present every day to keep the physical office “open.” We were taking turns but I volunteered to be the one to staff the office with the admin, because I wanted to just. leave. my. house. (And coming in is an executive-level function in order to not obligate any of our more junior employees to come in.)

    This new set-up is perfect for me. The office is extremely quiet, there’s a very few other people to at least say “hello” to, and I literally get out of my house every day. I think my personal risk is small because so few people are coming in, but regardless I am willing to take that risk.

  197. JL*

    We’re going thorough a round of voluntary redundancies at the moment, and it feels so isolating at the moment. I’m home with my parents so my colleagues are miles away. What I miss most is the feeling of cameraderie and the ability to read a meeting room. Decisions are being made without enough discussion because we’re not a properly united team. Honestly right now I hate it!

  198. Watry*

    I like it generally, but with all but me and one coworker back in the office, it’s rough. Wish I had an end date, but since it’s medical accommodation in a pandemic, I don’t.

  199. sdfsdfs*

    I did not miss the office. I can do 95% of my work from home, and was much more efficient at home, so I got my 8 hours a day of work done in 3 hours. Now that I’m back in the office, I pay attention, and estimate most people spend 3-4 hours a day in chitchat or other discussion that doesnt yield any real results. I am getting pulled back into those conversations too. Which is a bit draining, but I’m really introverted and have a rich social life outside of work so that also colors my perspective.

  200. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I WFH before, and I never want to work in an office again, personally. But what I miss is when my HUSBAND used to go to work at HIS office every day. :P

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      OMG YES

      my spouse is a Loud Talker, and we’re in the same room. Thank god they only have 2-3 meetings a week.

      1. So they all rolled over and one fell out*

        OMG same here. My wife isn’t normally loud, but when she puts on her headset, suddenly SHE IS TALKING AT FULL VOLUME. Both I and our daughter have talked to her about it repeatedly. She says it’s because she can’t hear herself with the headphones on. but she talks so loud we can’t hear our own meetings/classes even though we’re also wearing headphones.

        1. Sarra N. Dipity*

          At first I thought it was the headphones. Then we had our book club meeting. Which was the two of us on Zoom with our remote friends. And they were SO LOUD. No headphones. It was crazy.

  201. notMichelle*

    Mostly, I don’t miss it. I do enjoy the fact that my coworkers can’t see my face for most of the day (one of them has been getting more chauvinist-y and over confident in things he does not know anything about and my face has not been hiding it lately). I do miss the coffee trips and being able to yell across the room at my colleagues and only supporting 1 office (I have 2 now since COVID).

  202. Third or Nothing!*

    NOPE! I’m actually grateful to be away from certain toxic coworkers. There’s a Mean Girls type clique at my office, and I am most certainly not a member.

    Sure as hell miss being able to send my toddler to daycare though.

  203. me*

    I interviewed and started a job during quarantine. I have never met my coworkers in person and I have never been in my office. I miss the interactions you have in an office that start friendships, because it feels pretty lonely to be at a job for several months and feel like you don’t have any friends. Zoom “coffee breaks” are just forced interactions, it doesn’t feel the same way.
    The good part is that I’m saving money on commuting and needing to buy a work wardrobe.

  204. Rox*

    Yes, but after we are allowed to work from offices I still won’t be going in 5 days a week. One, maybe two days would be ideal.

  205. Slinky*

    I generally don’t miss the office, but I wish I could go there sometimes. Not having access to it at all, or having to jump through 100 hoops to get there, is a pain. I also still have stacks of physical work sitting in my office that’s just … sitting there! It drives me crazy knowing that it’s there waiting for me, but I can’t do anything about it without putting my health and safety at serious risk.

    All that said, home is quieter (no kids, no pets, no poorly functioning fire alarms that go off randomly). I don’t miss commuting. I like working for an hour or so in my pajamas. I do miss the camaraderie. Things also get done much more slowly when you can’t drop by someone’s office to ask them a question. There are real positives and negatives to working from home, but it sure beats getting COVID.

  206. Person from the Resume*

    I was WFH for 5 years before the pandemic. Before that I went into the office regularly, but my team members were still remote. I don’t ever think that I will ever miss the office, the commute, or dressing in business casual for work.

    But I’ve realized that you can’t recreate the “water cooler” talk that used to happen organically. People in the same role as me who also worked in the same office but not on the same team. We had no reason to talk except that we were there in person and there was a lot of information sharing that doesn’t occur working from home.

    Also my team was always remote scattered across the country (at other offices or at home) even when I went into the office everyday. The promise of the in-person project kick-off meetings and other in-person meetings never came to fruition. The organization always was trying to save money on travel, only essential travel allowed and all of these meetings take place online. We definitely are less efficient and the products are possibly not as good as they could have been if we had in person meetings for key parts of the process.
    – You ‘re more likely to get everyone’s full attention in person. (I have no illusion that at least half the people in a Teams meeting are multitasking or barely paying attention).
    – Visual cues help you to avoid talking over each other and make the collaboration flow much more smoothly.

    But the people I work with don’t live anywhere near me. If this job required that I go into the office everyday there would not be an office in my current home town so I’d have to move or quit. I’m grateful to be able to work from home.

  207. NeonDreams*

    I miss the structure of having somewhere to go. It helped me get into a routine in the mornings. now I roll out of bed 15 minutes before I start and go downstairs. some days I don’t leave my apartment, period. That can get pretty lonely.

  208. Karen R*

    I’ve got probably as ideal a setup as it’s possible to have – I live alone, so no one else is making noise or needing my attention (except for the cats); I already had a full office setup with a good desk, an ergonomic chair, big monitors, excellent Internet, etc. so all I had to do was bring home my office laptop and plug it in; I’m introverted, so I’m fine with little human interaction; I already mostly worked with project managers in other offices across the US, so I was essentially working “remotely” even when I was in my physical office. Add in that I no longer have my 40 minute commute and it should be Heaven. And it is – about 80% of the time.

    The other 20%, though… I may be introverted but these days I can go a week literally without seeing another human being. I make a weekly grocery store run and most weeks that’s it. Sometimes I go get takeout (curbside pickup, no contact, masked) and it’s as much for the brief, insubstantial human interaction as it is the food. It’s wearing in a way I never would have guessed – I’ve always thought of myself as ultra introverted but I’m finding that even I have limits.

    And I have NO work-life separation anymore. I don’t start work until about 10 am (most of the PMs I work with are on the West Coast while I’m on the East) and some days I’m working on and off until midnight. Mostly I don’t even realize it – my sense of time has been completely obliterated by the lack of external cues. Every day seems pretty much like every other day. Sometimes I have to check my phone to see what day of the week it is.

    I want to keep working from home permanently and I’m hoping that once this pandemic is under control and we can all go out again like civilized people that most of the downsides will be ameliorated. But right now, the isolation is messing with my head.

    1. MP*

      I’m in a very similar situation and find myself doing more takeout orders and quick trips to the grocery store. Even with more time in my day, ironically enough it feels like I’m cooking less often (dinner, at least) because by the time I clock out, all I want to do is get outside and be away from my apartment.

      I also find myself feeling anxious and more lonely if I get to the weekend and don’t have plans that get me around me people or out in the real world — then I’m still stuck at home, but without an underlying excuse like work and the distraction it provides. So yeah, the social isolation is really challenging.

      1. Anne Elliot*

        These things are also why I went back to work, as I explained elsewhere. I’m also single and had very similar issues with diet, where I found myself going through the drive-thru for food just to get out of the house. That was really bad for me because, while I am not eating-disordered, sticking fairly close to a sensible diet is one of the ways I feel in control and emotionally stable. If I’m off my “eating plan,” I eat too much and eat the wrong things. So struggling with that was another big reason for me to decide to return to the office. When people ask me why I came back, I say, “It turns out I’m not great at working from home, because that’s where I keep my refrigerator and television.”

    2. Sarra N. Dipity*

      yes! the whole sense of time thing is crazy-making. I look up and it’s already 6:30PM, and I’ve been working since 8:30AM. In the office, people start going home around 5:30, so there’s a natural flow to the day.

  209. who am i*

    Before the pandemic, I was working remote 2-3 days a week already, then we shut down and it was nice at first but I started to miss in person interactions. I ended up getting a new job and now work fully in an office with no option for remote work and the shift back to the office has been extremely difficult! I can’t believe how loud it is just to hear other people typing again let alone all the conversations! But I wouldn’t change it for anything – working remotely during COVID was a lonely time for me.

  210. WFH*

    I worked from home 3-5 days a week before COVID; I used to work in a busy office with co-located colleagues but once I moved onto a global team, there were only 2 of us reporting into that particular team in my location. Felt like a waste to commute 2-3 hours a day to sit in a room by myself on video conferences and occasionally wave hello to my one in-person colleague (if we even showed up the same days).

    I used to go in when I needed a break from home, needed to run errands before or after work, had a meeting I needed absolutely infallible internet/tech for (home is fine, but when stakes are high you don’t want to risk a dropped call or barking dog). But my office is closed through at least end of Q1 2021 with the probability of continued mandatory WFH.

    Not much has changed except I miss the option of going in. I’d probably go in 4 times a month if I had the option though so it’s not that big a deal. I have 2 huge monitors at home and access to any other tech I need.

  211. Smeralda*

    I love working from home but I miss taking the metro and walking down K St and through DuPont after work, with all the characters in their fashions and the bright lobbies.

  212. SaffyTaffy*

    I’ve come back to my office after working from home for 4 months. I miss my comfortable armchair, the quiet, and the feeling that my world was very small and easy to manage. Now that I am back in my office, I enjoy having more space, printing documents, working on a larger computer screen, and moving around more.

  213. IWishIHadAFancyUserName*

    I work 4/10 and switched to WFH 2 days/week in April for what I then thought would be a month or so. There’s very little about my job that requires I be in the office in order to accomplish my work. It’s just me and my spouse (who also WFH, but is out of the house most of the day), so few distractions. I enjoy the feeling that I’m getting away with something when I’m working outside on my covered porch.

    I mostly work alone at the office, and my office is at the end of a long hallway, so I don’t get those casual in-office conversations, so I don’t miss them. And I’ve saved a lot of money on commuting and lunches, etc.

    That being said, I wouldn’t want to WFH 100%. I like having physical and mental separation between work and life. But I could keep this schedule forever.

  214. Anon4This*

    I was really struggling to get along with the coworker I share an office with before Covid so indefinite work from home felt like a relief. But it’s getting old now. I think more because 2020 has taken a toll on my mental health, but I have a much harder time focusing at home than I did when I first got in the WFH groove. I’ve tried having a dedicated work space, “dressing” for work, and a few other things but it still feels like a crap shoot of whether I’ll have a barely finish the bare minimum day, or actually get something beyond the bare minimum done.

    My partner and I are starting to get tired of each other too I think. I feel lonely and isolated but I was pretty lonely at work pre-Covid anyway due to the officemate and being in a relatively new job. There are online staff get-togethers I feel like the staff pretty much all know each other and I have hiiiigh social anxiety (again exacerbated due to Covid/officemate drama).

  215. Madison*

    I missed my office so much that I jumped at the chance to return when it opened up a few weeks ago (we have very few people in a very large office and can social distance easily). Most of all, I missed my comfortable desk and dual-monitor setup – I don’t have an office space at home and was pretty much stuck working at my kitchen table, trying to change positions every time my back started to get sore.

    There were also constant distractions at home: my partner, chores that needed to be done, the temptation of just hopping on Netflix the second my email calmed down. Not only could I never really focus on work, it was very difficult to leave work at the office, so to speak, and I often found myself answering emails well into the evening when I didn’t really have to.

    I missed the structure of waking up at a reasonable hour every day and getting myself dressed and out the door, and my office is a 20-minute bike commute away, and I really felt the lack of even that small amount of daily exercise.

    I still work from home one day a week, and I don’t stay full days when I am here, but I’d never want to be at home permanently.

  216. Abyssal*

    I hate almost everything about working from home. The lack of a clear divide between working space and home space, the technological limitations — our system for forwarding calls to people’s home numbers is a roaring pain and breaks down often. I hate not having my colleagues nearby for casual conversation. I chose an apartment and accepted a way high rent in order to be close to work and have a short commute, and now it feels like I’m taking that financial hit for nothing.

    Rumor is HR is going to start offering people the opportunity to go back to the office soon for those who want it and I intend to be one of the first people back.

  217. Matt*

    I’ve since adjusted to liking it, but the social aspect (or lack thereof) is really challenging.

    Being single, living alone in a small apartment, and working from home is very isolating. While I’m on video calls all day, I can go days without having an in-person conversation with someone. And whereas I used to relish coming home after work and the gym to put on a podcast, crack a beer and cook dinner, now I find it hard to start making something at 6:00pm after being inside all day. Once I decide I’m done for the day, I need to do whatever I can to not be in my apartment while the sun is out, which is only getting harder as the days get shorter.

  218. Mockingjay*

    YES I MISS THE OFFICE.

    I asked yesterday when the office would reopen (not anytime soon). I am going nuts here at home. I had to move my workspace from my front room to a spare bedroom so I can close the door. I still get interruptions from dear hubby who is a gregarious guy missing his own team; and also from an adult child who moved back in (she lost significant income with COVID cutbacks).

    I am doubly frustrated because my project has huge productivity problems (preCOVID – it’s been sliding for a while), so I have a very light workload. It’s hard to focus when you don’t have anything to concentrate on. I looked into training and certs at my supervisor’s suggestion, but at this point in my career (1-2 years until retirement), there really isn’t much I haven’t mastered in my field; in fact much of my time is spent mentoring and training others. (I like teaching someone here and there, but not entire teams.) If I were back in the office, I could probably find another project, but without those casual interactions in break room and cube farm, there’s no awareness of other potential opportunities.

    I got tagged on LinkedIn the other day about a potential job which is right up my alley. I really thought about it, but it doesn’t make sense to switch companies at this point. Points in favor: my company is stellar and benefits are great. COVID won’t last forever, so I’ll manage. The Powers That Be in our client government agency are addressing the project problems, but they move very slowly.

    Honestly, I think the real issue is that I haven’t had a vacation in over 2 years. All my time off since then has been to take care of ill family members, including hubby. I might be able to take an occasional day off, but there’s nowhere to go. I have to save leave for hubby’s upcoming surgery so I can care for him.

    (Goodness, what a rant. Think this has been building up. Maybe I’ll inquire about the company’s EAP. Be nice to have someone listen to me instead of the other way around.)

  219. CommanderBanana*

    Pros and Cons. I had a relatively straightforward commute, but it was still 45ish minutes on the subway twice a day. So not doing that has been awesome. But I don’t have space for a home office and am working off a laptop, which is not ideal. And I feel like I have this weird, free-floating anxiety when I’m at home about not getting enough done or being productive enough that I didn’t feel at the office.

    I think the ideal compromise might be 3 days at home, 2 in the office.

  220. MM*

    I didn’t think I would miss the office because I’m an introvert … until I was a few months deep into full-time WFH. I almost need the external accountability of going into the office. Otherwise I tend to procrastinate and lose focus, and as a result I’ve really seen my work quality dip and my stress level go up as the months have gone on. I recently got the opportunity to come back into the office on a part-time basis and I feel so much more productive and happy.

    I was struggling with anxiety and self-doubt and it’s really helped to go back in 3ish days a week, even though there’s only a few of us in the office and we don’t really interact like we would would have pre-COVID. We’re in an open plan so on days I have a ton of zoom meetings I WFH, but I think just changing up the routine is key when the weeks and months start blending together. I’m so grateful my employer has been supportive throughout this all and is being extremely flexible as we return to the office as well.

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      I also struggle with focus when I don’t have my coworkers around. I have my spouse (about 6 feet away) but that’s different somehow.

  221. Perfectly Particular*

    I am working from home with my spouse, and our 6th and 9th graders, and our dog. I don’t miss the office even a little, and I am dreading having to go back. Management has emphasized that we all will have to go back at some point. I am finding it much easier to find work/life balance when there is no commuting involved. For example, an orthodontist appt is about a 1 hour interruption rather than a 1/2 day of leaving work, picking up the kid, going to the appt, returning the kid, returning to the office. Lunches don’t have to be packed, don’t need to hire someone to walk the dog if I am working late, the list goes on and on.

    Since you asked for the downsides… there are a LOT of distractions, some of which can affect my professional appearance – i.e. kid/dog walking into my video conference, husband getting fired up & cursing on his call while my mic is on, dog having a fit because a leaf blew by, etc. Also, during normal times, our team is 100% co-located. We don’t use the phones at all, because everyone sits within 50 ft of each other. This means there are a lot of conversations that you aren’t invited to, but end up participating in. With everyone being remote, it is easier for some voices to be excluded, and decisions to be made without everyone’s input. This can allow projects to progress and encounter risks that wouldn’t have occurred if all the right players were involved.

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      those “not invited to but participated in” conversations were huge in my office. We’d do some great work when someone overheard something and had a suggestion or insight that we don’t get now…

  222. Miss Muffet*

    i did wfh 100% for 8 years, then went 100% in office for a couple of years, and with the latest job change, had a nice hybrid. I was home every Friday and then one other random day during the week. I miss dressing up, honestly. I miss taking the train downtown to work in a beautful new building with a great view. I miss seeing my colleagues’ faces! I miss the laughter of my crazy optimistic millenial that sat near me. We collaborate well virtually but some of those little things just aren’t there. I share an office with my spouse and dogs, and teenaged kids are working on school around the house. It’s fine. But I will be happy when we can go back.

    1. SpaceySteph*

      Being home every Friday would be the ideal long term arrangement for me. Since WFH I’ve moved laundry day from Saturday to Friday so I can have family time on Fridays without as many chores.

  223. SpaceySteph*

    I miss the human interaction and comraderie of the office. I miss my desk setup a little because I had a standing desk and docking station there. Occasionally I get interrupted by a dog barking. And my electric bill is higher because I keep it cooler than usual.
    But the best thing about it was not having a 10 minute OUTDOOR walk from the parking lot to my office on hot hot Houston days. And then at the end of the work day walking back the 10 mins to get in a HOT car to drive home. I do not miss sweating through my work clothes AT ALL.

  224. Ginger Baker*

    If I could get a Real Phone for my home office setup, and business-level standard internet, that would be reallllll lovely. I have mostly been okay with WFH but miss the two above things and do sometimes miss my random coworker conversations. And maybe my better office chair and desk. I was however already pretty used to working with the people I support primarily remotely (one was on the road constantly and otherwise has a main office in another city, and one was on a different floor) so the learning curve for me was a lot less than for many people.

  225. No New Normal*

    My employer has been very good to its employees (shipped us all the monitors and electronics we need to work and gave us a stipend to buy office furniture), but I do not like working from every day, and I HATE only interacting with people through a screen. I miss seeing people in person, talking, joking, collaborating, meeting new people, and swanky conference events!

  226. 653-CXK*

    I WFH four days per week and work at the office on Fridays, and it works out just fine.

    In a way, I don’t miss working at the office, because the amount of distractions has reduced significantly. I can get work done without having someone coming up and saying, “Can I bother you for a second?” and going into a rabbit hole of resolving gnarly and gross. I was even able to catch up on stuff I wasn’t able to. I still answer emails and phone calls, but that time-stealing has gone down nicely.

    On the other hand, I miss the camaraderie and direct collaboration with my teammates. Even with the one day per week on Friday, sometimes MS Teams doesn’t cut that ability to get a direct answer (e.g, getting something signed off immediately vs. having to wait). Bonus: now that the restaurants are open, at least I can eat out once per week – within health parameters, of course :-)

    1. 653-CXK*

      Also: my commute wasn’t all that bad – 40 minutes each way by bus – but the crowding during the mornings from high school kids cramming onto the bus was atrocious. (On the mornings when the kids were on vacation, my commute was 26 minutes flat.) I’m thankful my commute is currently once per week and far more pleasant.

  227. Variant Scientist*

    I went back to work without being required to – I could have kept working from home – because I couldn’t stand it. It is incredibly important to me to keep my work and home separate, and I have discovered that not to do so is very bad for my mental health. I need to be able to leave my work at work and not think about it after 4:30 each evening. I also missed my (bicycle) commute. It’s the best way to reset after a heavy patient load or dealing with one particular incompetent coworker.
    I worked from home from mid-March, and going back at the beginning of August was a life-saver.

  228. WishIcouldworkfromhome4ever*

    Good lord no! I can wear sweatpants, I have a window, no commute (so saving time, money, and wear and tear on the car), total control over the temperature of my workspace, a clean microwave to use at lunch …

  229. Abogado Avocado*

    I do wish I could WFH fulltime. However, I’m essential and worked in our office for 3 months with no one else here but security because someone had to be here. It was stressful and lonely. I finally told my boss that I needed to get out of the office and they told me to go work from anywhere I wanted for the next 6 weeks. So, I drove about 15 hours from here, rented a small condo, and spent 6 weeks working from what essentially is, in our part of the country, a summer getaway. It wasn’t exactly a vacation — I took my laptop, a docking station, big screen, etc. — but it was great to get up in the morning, go for a hike, and then go back and log in. I’ve been back in the office since August, with slightly more people here with me. I understand why I’m essential and I love my work. But I’m jealous of all who get to WFH fulltime!

  230. diehardfan*

    I’ve been enjoying working from home for the most part. But the novelty has definitely worn off. I do miss my coworkers and being in the office. We used to have more informal conversations and stop by each others desks, but now we’re trying to fit in those conversations during our work meetings, which isn’t the same. I also am in the unfortunate situation of not being able to work from my home office because the internet connection isn’t as strong in there and my cats are constantly meowing at the door (they aren’t allowed in because it doubles as the cat-free guest room).

  231. Sarra N. Dipity*

    I do miss my office. Things I miss:

    * Office dogs
    * The “puzzle table” where we’d stand around, eat our lunches, talk about bad TV, put together jigsaw puzzles, and relax/recover
    * Bagel Monday
    * Hugs from my work bestie
    * Did I mention office dogs?
    * 1-2 hours of complete alone time (depending on traffic) (I don’t mind commuting; the main thing I didn’t like about it was getting up early)
    * The view of Mt. Rainier when I looked to my left, and the Seattle waterfront when I looked up past my monitors
    * It’s just easier to work if you have a coworker near you. You know that if something comes up, you can take a quick look around and see who’s there, who’s interruptable, who’s busy…
    * Being in downtown Seattle, there were a LOT of fantastic lunch options. Now I play leftover roulette
    * All those little social connections that I had with my coworkers. We’d loan each other books, give each other TV/movie recommendations, landlord advice, call out awesome shoes…
    * Office dogs

    1. Sarra N. Dipity*

      I also miss the person at the donut shop that I had/have a crush on.
      I don’t, however, miss the calories from my daily morning crush donut.

  232. DrSalty*

    Yes. I miss chatting with coworkers. I miss leaving my apartment every day. I like having set boundaries between work and home. I wish I had more time away from my partner (we are both full time WFH right now in a tiny apartment). I’m looking forward to going back into the office a few days a week. I don’t miss the commute but that’s basically it. I miss having a reason to get dressed up and do a little make up.

  233. Van Wilder*

    I wish I could just go into the office for one day. Say hi to everyone, chat in the pantry, make some tea. I feel like I graduated but I didn’t know it was my last day of school.
    We got an email that our stuff is being packed up for us. We will likely never go back to the office.

  234. Elliott*

    I’m back to working in my office (which isn’t too bad since I’m the only one consistently working on-site).

    I have some mixed feelings. Neither one is perfect. I liked being able to sleep in a little and wear my pajamas all day when I worked from home, and I liked being with my cat. But I found it hard to transfer in and out of work mode when my environment was the same all day. Also, I live with my mother, and while I love her a lot, there were more distractions at home with her wanting to talk to me (I can only imagine how parents with small children are faring). Overall, I like having the routine of getting out of the house and being in my office again.

    However, I do miss aspects of my old routine. I used to go and sit in a coffee shop on my lunch break, and I miss doing that. I don’t feel like I get a “real” break if I stay at my desk. Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, I’m hoping to at least get out and walk more. I was excited to be back in the city, but if was too hot to walk around with a mask on.