We are all familiar with the 5 stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. We also know that everyone grieves differently and some people skip entire stages. Everyone is different.
Keeping that in mind, I’m rapidly approaching the 6 month mark of working from home. I am so blessed and grateful that this was available to me. However, it’s not something I ever wished for. And, to be completely honest, when I was first asked if I thought I could be productive working from home I wasn’t 100% sure I could be. But I knew the right answer was yes, so that’s what I said. And thankfully it turns out that I was right! But that doesn’t mean it’s been all rainbows and unicorns. So, here is my take on the 5 stages of working from home:
#1 Denial. If you would have asked me 9 months ago if it was even possible for me to do my job from home I would have said no. I need to access my file room and other departments. I need to have my PC and my 2 monitors and the rest of my cube set up.
#2 Shock. One Friday afternoon I loaded up my PC, some binders and a few other things and took them home. I felt numb walking out of the building. I felt fear setting up my new work station in my back room. I felt fear logging into the remote access software for the first 2 weeks. I just couldn’t believe this was really happening.
#3 Anger. Things that I could do in 5 minutes now take me 2 hours. I’m playing phone tag with people who used to sit 10 feet from me. I’m left out of meetings and announcements (not intentionally, but it happens). I miss out on the frequent parade of treats being brought in. I don’t know the answers to questions on new products because I’ve not had a chance to see them being produced. Things are misconstrued in emails and require twice as long to resolve because of misunderstandings. There are times I want to chuck my phone against a wall, but then I realize it’s MY phone and that wouldn’t hurt anyone but me.
#4 Acceptance. I can sleep in 45 later now! I don’t have to do my hair or put on makeup! I can work in my PJs (for the record I don’t)! I don’t have to deal with office gossip or drama. I can have lunch with my husband more often. No commute! Maybe this isn’t so bad after all!
#5 Depression. This, unfortunately, is where I am now. I’m losing language skills and forgetting words I’ve known for decades. I’m getting more and more paranoid when I DO leave the house. My concentration levels are falling and I’m getting more easily irritated with really small things that wouldn’t have bothered me even 2 months ago. My sleep patterns are all messed up. My diet is looking more and more like that of a 3 year old. I’m addicted to YouTube videos of a cockatoo! I don’t floss (I usually did that in my car). I’m getting through with the help of my doctor, but some days I really just hate everything and everyone (pity my poor husband) and just want to sleep for 20 hours a day. It’s a lot different than I ever expected, and while again, I know I am very fortunate that I’ve been able to keep working, some days it’s hard to remember that.
Now, this is of course just my experience- yours may vary. But before you say “Oh wow, I wish I could work from home” really think about what that means in terms of human interaction, ease of access to information, and your family/ housemates. There is a lot more upside to going to the office than I ever could have imagined 6 months ago!