On March 20, the notation on my 2020 planner reads simply, “Began work from home due to COVID-19.” Yet, in the days preceding that entry, my job was already beginning to change.
Earlier that week, my interviews included a wariness of getting to within six feet of people, and greeting others included half-hearted waves instead of handshakes.
Our new instructions to socially distance were only the tip of the iceberg.
In the Globe newsroom, we packed up what we’d need to work from home indefinitely. That was nearly six months ago, but it seems like it’s been an eternity.
It’s been 123 work days (minus a vacation and time off to be my mom’s caretaker following recent surgery) since our new way of doing things began. It hasn’t always been easy.
I made it nearly 12 weeks in work-from-home mode before I just couldn’t take it anymore. The solitude — once cherished during week-long staycations — became more than I could handle.
At the start of the 12th week I returned to the office where, for the most part, it was also quiet. The change of scenery helped, but was short-lived as I ended the week early to begin a 10-day break to include a birthday party, two graduation parties and a trip to a cabin up north. The exposure to so many people led to a request that I work from home for two weeks.
And that’s where I’ve remained, for the most part, in the months since. I’ve found a balance in working mostly from home, with occasional respites at the office. Having a home office has its advantages:
Not one to sit in my PJs all day, I’m also not dressed for the office most days. It now feels weird to wear socks and dress shoes. Last week, I wore the same clothes for three days. I’m conserving water by doing less laundry!
I don’t have to wear a mask.
My office has a window — and one that opens, no less.
It’s exactly 23 steps to the water cooler (aka, water jug in the refrigerator), and five steps to the restroom.
My supply of cosmetics will last far longer as I enjoy many make-up free days.
Removing the drive between home and office means I can clock in earlier in the morning (or sleep in a little later), fit in some stitching time on my lunch break, and go from work to weekend by swiveling my office chair from facing the monitor to facing the needlework stash that takes up the other half of the room.
My list of disadvantages? Isolation and loss of daily collaboration with coworkers. I think they far outweigh any of the advantages I could think of.
Here’s to hoping for an effective vaccine, and soon.