As of today, I’ve survived three weeks as a remote employee. A few weeks ago, I was a very extroverted, office social butterfly, who was terrified at the thought of moving to a new town, away from my track team and coworkers, and wondering how I could possibly meet anyone and avoid becoming a hermit since I was working from home.
I’m here to say it’s very possible.
Every time I post, I get so many comments on how much I seem to enjoy Charleston and how I’ve already met so many people- and you guys are right. I’ve had my moments of intensely missing friends from Florence (I type “back home” and backspace to type Florence- it’s still surreal that I don’t live there anymore), some tears, and some loneliness. When you up and leave a place you’ve lived for nine years, it’s to be expected.
Here are my thoughts on working from home at my big girl job, meaning my technical writing job (for the same company I worked for back in Florence).
- Working from home has pushed me to explore my new town. I spend 8 hours a day at home working, and when I get off work, I want to try new restaurants. I want to ride around Charleston aimlessly finding new things and shortcuts to places. I pick up every local paper I see to read about restaurants to try, concerts to go to, things to do- and I try them and do them.
- Working from home has pushed me to meet new people. Clay’s job is at a company where lots of other people work. If he wants to go to lunch with a friend, he can just ask someone at his job to lunch- there are tons of people to ask, including a few people we went to college with. I have no office with 25 friends ready-to-be-made. Working from home, I’m making an effort to get to know new people on my own. This week, I’m going to lunch with one of the girls I met at a running club. We’ve hung out twice on runs and now are going to lunch.
- Working from home makes me pay more attention at work. When you’re in a meeting in the office, it’s easy to “zone out”, but working from home, I have to attentively listen on the phone and pay attention to the slideshows to get everything (we attend meetings virtually). I took a page of notes during my meeting the other day- partly because I can’t just walk up to coworkers’ desks and ask questions. I felt slightly left out when I figured out the in-office workers were passing around peanut butter cups, but I went downstairs, got some froyo, and felt better pretty quickly.
- Working from home keeps my house cleaner. In Florence, I worked in the office, worked out after work, and coached in the evenings. I spent about 12 hours a day away from home and when I was there, I mainly just slept or changed clothes for the next activity. Now that I spend more time in my house, I want to have a clean home and work environment so that I can be productive. Plus, it helps that I can throw in a load of laundry when I wake up, wash and dry it, and fold it and put it away on my morning break.
- Working from home is very productive. I gotta admit I was scared about balancing my life with my work, since my office is in my home (technically in my guest bedroom). So far it hasn’t been too hard- I turn my computer off, and my work mode is off too. I also like being able to play my 90s Hits music station and dance when fun songs come on. Getting up and moving refreshes me, and I obviously couldn’t spontaneously dance in the office ;). As far as workload goes, I’ve been about equally productive here at home as in the office- there are distractions both places.
I went home to visit my mom this weekend, and she said she was surprised I was getting along so well working from home. Originally, she thought I’d hate it since I’m a social butterfly. The job change won’t change who I am- I’m still an ENTJ who’s outgoing with a die hard dedication and work ethic, but I’m finding other ways to channel that energy, and so far, it’s been quite the adventure.