I really like what Anne describes here, because this is similar to the way I worked before the pandemic. The biggest reason I went back to a position which let me work from home in 2019 was having the ability to not just stay away from an office, but to work wherever I happened to be that week.
“Before the pandemic, I’d frequently go to Seattle, where my closest friends live, and camp out in one of their guest rooms for a week. Some days I’d go work in a coffee shop for most of the day. Sometimes I’d go work in my friend’s office with her. And some days, me and some collection of those friends would work from home. We are employed in wildly different industries, but it worked.”
Similar to Anne, in years prior, I have traveled to visit friends and family, and simply worked from that city for the week. Remote work doesn’t mean being stuck at home all day every day. It truly means being able to do your work from any place with enough internet bandwidth to get the job done.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there scaring people into thinking that if they don’t get back to the office, they’ll have a very lonely life with no friends. After all, most adults make most of their friends in the workplace nowadays. I know I’ve made plenty myself. But, part of that is because we spend so much time in the office, and nowhere else, that we struggle to maintain any relationships outside of work.
Who has time? Between our 9-10 work day, another hour commuting, and all the extra work we do at night and on weekends, what time are we going to spend with other people?
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Many of us can get our work done from elsewhere, and spend more time in a location that is more conducive to keeping in touch with our friends. That’s the ultimate promise of remote work, and something that employees, and employers, should be considering when we think about what our office policies are going to look like.