I am one of those people who is enjoying this time in isolation, particularly with regards to working from home. I get to spend more time with my husband and my dog and as soon as I log off each weekday, I am free to go for a run or do whatever I need to do. I don’t have a 40 minute commute ahead of me, crammed in with a bunch of strangers in the same situation, followed by an hour at the gym, again with sweaty individuals who don’t understand the meaning of personal space, only to get home by 7:30pm, walk the dog and then sit down to enjoy dinner by 8:30 or 9pm.
In saying that, I didn’t used to mind the morning commute. I would often get a seat on the train so had time to sit somewhat comfortably and read the day’s news. I did not mind overhearing conversations that weren’t relevant to me or smiling awkwardly at whoever squeezed aside to let me off the train. We were all in the same situation, on our way to the office, where we would spend the day trapped in a same space with many others who we may or may not be able to tolerate, sometimes able to get outside for a walk around the block at lunchtime, depending on our schedules or the weather.
I thought my day to day was pretty good and I had a routine figured out that worked for me most of the time. I never had any trouble getting out of bed in the morning and was able to challenge myself with new projects at work.
But now, having worked from home for close to three months straight, I am loving my new routine. It is a difficult situation that the world is in, but if we begin to consider the positive impact this could have on workplace flexibility and adaptability (as well as the environmental benefits) when we come out of it, we realise that for many of us working from home on a full time basis is not a bad idea at all. If we can thrive in a familiar environment, why take that away? Why force us into a potentially unhealthy routine, where we are much more likely to suffer fatigue, exhaustion or contract a highly contagious virus?
On an evening run last week, I took the time to appreciate where I was and what I noticed around me. The sky was a deep pink colour; it was a gorgeous sunset and I couldn’t help but think ‘red sky at night, sailors delight,’ thinking of the fisher people who may be out on the water the next day and that if the riddle were true, a clear morning would follow. I stopped to take photos which is not something I often do while on a run, but the way that the glow of the sky was soaking into everything that lay beneath it, I couldn’t resist. I had been using a tracker app and surely stopping would not do me any favours in getting a good time, but I was caught up in the moment ‒ something which has not happened at least since the start of lockdown.
It was a good feeling, being so involved in what is going on around me, to not be thinking about anything else, other than how I felt at that time.
This is a dividing time for workforce flexibility, where these new opportunities and emotions are making many of us reconsider our ‘old lives’. Rather than contemplating an eventual return to the office, what organisations should be getting their heads around is the idea of working from home as a continued future practice. If we have adapted well in the current situation, and are better off this way, why should that be taken away?
If you have any thoughts on this topic, please leave a comment below.