We first became aware of the downside of the new “working from home” trend when my (retired) husband was unable to book his usual early morning golf time. He noticed all the twenty, thirty, and forty-somethings grabbing his preferred weekday tee-off times. Then, they began filling up the rest of the times throughout the day and populated the outdoor clubhouse patio at lunch time in unheard of numbers.
This is a first-world problem for sure, but it does signal a major change in lifestyle and working conditions precipitated by COVID. To be fair, we must assume these people who are now crowding gymns, hair and nail salons, grocery stores, and shopping malls during the day are racking up their working hours early in the morning or late at night.
With so many people now having the option of working from home, childcare problems have been somewhat alleviated. When a little one is confined to bed with a fever, Mom or Dad does not have to take the day (or more) off work. They can carry on working from a home office between runs to their sick child’s bedside.
Daycare and school dropoffs are so much easier when parents are not commuting to and from work for two hours every day. And, it’s not just the significant savings in time, but working from home reduces the amount of money families spend on public transit, gas and workplace parking. It could even mean that a family could survive with one vehicle instead of two, a savings of about $2,000.00 each month on after-tax income. That’s $24,00.00 a year clear added to the family’s pocket. It’s a big deal!
Depending on the type of job you have, working from home offers many benefits. While some jobs are naturally unsuited to this type of arrangement (surgeons, service workers, labourers, trade workers, etc.) some kind of hybrid home/office working arrangement is a great invention. There’s even talk now of reducing the work week from five days to four.
I would have happily signed on for working four ten-hour days ahead of the requisite five back in the olden days when I was still working. In fact, a year before I retired, I cut my work week from five days down to four and took a corresponding twenty percent pay cut. The problem was, I still worked my original fifty or so hours each week but it was packed into four days instead of five, so it was my employer who ultimately benefited from that arrangement.
With all the technology and communications media available now, it could be difficult to go completely “off line” for three-day weekends. That little beep, buzz, or chime on your phone is like crack and you just have to give in to its call.
At least those working-from-home golfers and others who have rearranged their hours are getting some socializing in. Isolating yourself in a home office away from the camaraderie of the office or workplace can be lonely. In-person interaction with your coworkers is essential. That’s where you learn new things, exchange ideas and problem solve, keep abreast of the office gossip, or promote your brand if you’re looking to get ahead. In-person office interactions have the added advantage of creating a positive environment for strong and lasting personal friendships.
The growth of home office work has resulted in all-day busy city roads, stores, hairdressers, gymns, and golf courses. This more even distribution of personal chores may or may not be a good thing. Time will tell. One thing is for sure; it is here to stay. So, book your salon appointment or tee time early, but not too early or you’ll piss off my husband. Retired people have worked a lot of years to earn these prime times and hubby gets cranky when someone much younger beats him to the tee. Thank you.