It used to be that working from home was something that was reserved for a few specific slices of the business world. However, today almost everyone is working out of their homes in remote capacities. And if nothing else, being physically separated in our own home offices has given us a shared experience that’s ultimately brought us closer together.
5 Totally Relatable Work-From-Home Anecdotes
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and its shutdown of the American economy, just 5.2 percent of U.S. workers worked at home full-time (roughly 8 million people). And while 43 percent of Americans said they “occasionally” worked from home, the reality is that just a tiny fraction of the workforce was doing most or all of their work in a home office.
According to new research published in April 2020, nearly 58 percent of the entire U.S. workforce is now temporarily working from home on a full-time basis. In other words, the work-from-home population has essentially increased by a multiple of 10.
What that means – among other things – is that 80 million-plus American workers are now bonding over one giant shared experience. And here are some of the most relatable takeaways:
- Changing Outfits for a Zoom Call
There’s nothing like the last-minute notification that you have a Zoom video meeting in 15 minutes. You run to the bedroom, toss on a clean shirt, run a brush through your hair, and try to look normal from the waist up. Then as soon as the call is over, you slide back into your PJs and resume your workday. (We’ve all been there!)
- Switching Between 18 Different Communication Apps
Frustrated by the fact that you have to switch between what feels like dozens of different communication apps just to stay abreast of what’s going on at work? From email to slack to project management software, your day feels like a game of whack-a-mole where you’re trying to find and neutralize notifications so that you can actually get some work done. You wish your boss would realize there are digital workplace platforms that make it easy to centralize all remote team communications.
- Looking Forward to the Walk to the Kitchen
When you worked in an office, you used to get excited about getting in your car and driving to a restaurant to enjoy lunch with a friend. Today, it doesn’t take much activity to pump you up. Simply walking to the kitchen for a glass of water is enough to get your heart racing. (Hooray for the change of scenery!)
- Being a Nosy Neighbor
We’ve all become those nosy old neighbors that we used to hate – the ones who secretly watch everything that’s happening in the neighborhood from inside.
If you have a home office on the front of the house, then you have a mental agenda mapped out for the entire day. (Karen goes on a jog at 6:30. Kevin and Amy like to enjoy their morning coffee on the porch swing. The trash truck swings by at 8, while the next-door neighbor’s crazy teenage daughter races out of her driveway at 8:15 every morning. Then there’s the FedEx truck at 11, which is closely tailed by the UPS driver who seems like a nice enough guy.) In fact, you’re so in-tune with the comings and goings of the neighborhood that you legitimately worry when Karen isn’t jogging at 6:30. Congratulations – you’ve instantly become an 85-year-old retiree!
- Never Paying Attention to What’s Actually Happening in Zoom Meetings
Have you ever wondered why Zoom meetings are so unproductive? Well, it’s probably because everyone is doing exactly what you’re doing. You know…
- Scrutinizing each one of your coworkers’ houses.
- Staring at your video feed and wondering, “Has my nose always looked like that?”
- Constantly fidgeting with your camera. (“Maybe it should be a little higher?”)
- Trying to pretend like you don’t see that one coworker trying to inconspicuously remove his kid from range of the camera.
With all of this craziness, it seems as if actual meeting content is maybe three percent of the entire call.
Working From Home: The New Normal?
The phrase “new normal” is almost as overused and exhausting as words like “uncertain” and “unprecedented.” News anchors and talk show pundits throw it around like candy at a 4th of July parade. But that’s exactly what this is shaping up to be.
While certain industries will resume as usual in the coming weeks, many companies will stick to remote working indefinitely. And you know what that means: More exciting walks to the kitchen, distracted Zoom meetings, and opportunities to memorize exhilarating neighborhood activity.