It is now six weeks into the state mandate to be “Healthy at Home” and my employer’s recommendation to “Work from Home.” During this pandemic, I am finding that there are things I am not using as much as when I work at the office. I am also developing some new habits. Perhaps you can relate.
This might come as a surprise, but I haven’t worn dress shoes in six weeks. As a matter of fact, I quite enjoy working in my slippers. And since I am talking about what I wear to work, I LOVE blue jeans. Putting them on each morning makes me smile. I’ve even been wearing comfortable, yet “professional for Zoom” shirts. What have I learned? Dressing for success is not all it’s cracked up to be. I am very productive in my comfortable clothes. Oh I know that I have to dress for my position and all that, but I’ve noticed that since people have been dressing casually while working from home, many of them are actually NICER than when in professional dress.
Lunch foods have become less important. My office is located in a building that has a lot of tasty food. Sometimes I would spend part of my morning trying to decide what to have for lunch or what food I might want to have delivered from a nearby restaurant. These days, I just walk into the kitchen, grab whatever I can heat up in a minute, and call it lunch. Not much thought or drama. And here’s a big shock…I’m saving money and losing weight. Now before you begin your applause, I just want to say if we didn’t live so far outside the city limits, the Jimmy John’s delivery person would be at our house…a lot!
Social niceties are still important, but now I don’t have to be on high alert all day long. When working in an office, I have to be aware of my resting bitch face, beginning conversations with “how are you today”, and sharing pleasantries with people as I pass them in the hallway. My current office mates have their own lives and really don’t care how my day is going. I say a quick hello as I pass them on the way to the bathroom and we catch up during meals. It’s all pretty simple.
I used to live for the weekends and I also dreaded them. Weekends were fun. I ate in restaurants, hung with people who made me happy, and went to the movies. I also had to cram all of my household chores into 48 hours, while still making time to do the things previously mentioned. Working from home allows me to use 45 minutes of my lunch hour to run a load of laundry and do some dishes. During bathroom breaks I take two minutes to wipe down the fixtures. Since my commute went from 40 minutes round trip to 20 seconds, I have an extra 39 minutes that I can use in so many different ways. Most recently, I’ve been doing my nails in the morning and riding my bike after work.
So do I like being “Healthy at Home” and “Working from Home?” Well yes I do! For a little longer. And then I’m done. I want to return to my office on campus. I want to engage with students, as they are the reason I chose to work in Career Development on a college campus. I look forward to wandering into a colleague’s office to discuss an issue or ask about how things are going in their world. I miss hearing the maintenance staffs’, stories about their children and grandchildren. And I really look forward to seeing my favorite customer service people at Chick-fil-a, one floor below my office.
When I return to work, I will use the lessons that I have learned in the last six weeks. I will find new and creative ways to do the work that I love. I will accomplish quick tasks in between appointments. I will use technology to connect face-to-face with people I can’t see in person. I will appreciate and fully engage with everyone I meet throughout the day. And when I return home, I will focus on my family and friends. They are the people who fill up my soul and make me smile. And I must remember that finding time for self-care is as simple as making it a priority.
Tinkering With Success is about becoming a better version of oneself. Who knew that it would take a pandemic to give each of us the time to consider how we are behaving and perhaps appreciate our lives a little more? So what have you learned in the last six weeks? And how have you become a better version of yourself? I know one thing for sure…I am going to keep a pair of slippers under my desk at work.