today is tomorrow's past

today is tomorrow's past

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Plane Wing

WFH Day 702

Well, well, well, I surpassed the 700 days since I started counting the WFH days in March 2020. That’s a long time ago, and a lot has changed in the meantime. Quality of life is better than before. No 3-hour daily commute in sticky and filthy trains, no more coffee shop visits after work, more time for reading, better-equipped work environment, not meeting some of my dearest co-workers in person anymore, taking lunch break walks, taking a nap if I don’t feel well, not seeing the dirty City anymore and feeling more productive in general.

I don’t look forward to going back to the Office. My job and my position don’t require me to be there in person to do my job effectively. I understand that certain people will benefit from being surrounded by their peers and feel more productive being in the Office. I can have a quick in-person chat with random people on the same floor or in the cafeteria. These random encounters are valuable, but I also believe it’s overrated. Especially after the past years in this social experiment and demonstrating that we can work fully remote and deliver what we were asked. Sometimes even more.

I understand that everybody had a different experience. Parents who had to take care of their children were hit hardest by the pandemic. The social contract doesn’t say anything about taking care of your children all day long. That’s what the school is for and childcare. Not every parent wanted to be a teacher during the daytime and a full-time worker between all job duties, sometimes late into the night. That workload is not what parents signed up for when they started their full-time jobs. I assume that most parents are happy to leave the house and go to the Office. Even if this means being jammed in traffic on the way to work and back. It’s sometimes hard to be around the same people for weeks or months. Even if they are you loved ones/family. So, the Office is a way to escape the singularity of being stuck at home. A much-needed distraction and place to get work done.

Anyway, going back to the Office seems like a waste of energy and a lifetime that I can spend in more meaningful ways. Alone the commute time is making me anxious. I don’t enjoy driving to the Office, nor do I need the clear separation between home and Office. There is hardly any reasonable explanation why the Office is the “only place where real work can happen”. This is a lame excuse, and I suspect that the underlying reason is mistrust in the workforce. Some people need and want constant visibility. This Ego boosting is necessary to have a prosperous career. That’s what they told me. But I didn’t see any difference in my career before and after the pandemic. So, I assume that I’m lacking some other ingredient for having a prosperous and happy career after all. No matter how productive, visible and outspoken I am. Let’s see when the call for RTO (return to Office) gets louder, and the herd of valuable employees has to reappear back in the sacred halls of their employers.

To be clear: I’m speaking for myself and the people who had the opportunity to stay at home and work in their safe environment during the pandemic. The situation for many people looked much different, and many of them had to risk their lives daily to fulfill the essential work that we all relied on: Doctors and Nurses, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, and train operators. Just to name a few. They were not as lucky as many of the other forced stay-at-home people. Those people had the right to complain about the inequality and how easy it was for us to take them for granted to keep the rest of our remaining lives as afloat and normal as possible.

But for now, I’ll wait and enjoy every day that I can work from the comfort of my home and enjoy the video chats with my co-workers. There will be a time when we meet again. Not daily, but the accessional and well-coordinated coffee break in the workplace. TTYL

Today is my birthday, and I had a wonderful day—video chats with friends and family, Dinner with my son. A great day.

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