I’m just going to say it straight: I love working from home.
I am well aware that I’m one of the lucky ones who still has a full-time job, and I am lucky to have had little to no interruption to my paycheck. I am extremely grateful.
I’ve had the same position at our local university for many years and luckily when this all came down, we moved to working from home. I had long suspected I could do this work remotely and now I know this to be absolutely true. The following is why it works well for me.
Working from home saves time and energy in a lot of ways. First of all, some basic mathematics: According to CNBC.com, the average American spends 90,000 hours at work. Wow. And that just includes work hours.
Here is how it breaks down for me:
I typically work four days a week, nine hours per day. If you add in a short lunch break of 30 minutes, that means I am on campus, or at work, for nine and a half hours every day. When you add in the (mostly easy) commute, that is 10 and a half hours at work every day. Working from home saves that hour each day, plus some.
I realized I wake up about two hours before work begins to make myself presentable: shower, makeup (usually minimal) and hair, finding a business casual outfit in my closet, make breakfast, get the kiddo up and going and his breakfast.
I also used to prep lunches the night before to save time in the morning—somehow that two hours flies by in five minutes. Working from home, I rarely do makeup and hair (unless I have a Zoom meeting), dress up, or premeditate breakfast or lunch. Once the math is done, I figure I am saving about four hours per day. I was noticing I had way more energy than I used to, and this is why. I suddenly have an extra four hours a day!
The next thing I noticed was how well I’ve been sleeping. Since I don’t have to leap out of bed at the alarm and hit the ground running, it seems to be easier to sleep soundly. If I do happen to be awake in the middle of the night, I’m not telling myself, “If I fall asleep now, I’ll get three more hours; if I fall asleep now, I’ll get two more hours.”
You know the drill.
It’s easier to rest knowing I can (pretty much) just roll out of bed and open the laptop. The extra rest is contributing to the extra energy I suddenly have and is helping create my positive experience with working from home. I’ve been able to add long walks to my day as well as my regular yoga practice and some HIIT workouts. No wonder I feel better.
Not having to prepack my lunch (and often breakfast) has also had a tremendous effect. My digestion and waistline are happier and healthier than they have been in years. I’m eating what my body craves rather than what I threw together the night before or early in the morning. I’m eating when I am hungry rather than at an assigned time. I’m enjoying freshly made food rather than microwaved leftovers. This is all contributing to a better functioning digestive system.
I have also noticed that even when stressful work incidents happen, it’s easier to stay calm and deal with whatever arises. I’m not sure if it’s because there is natural distance due to me not actually being in the office or on campus, or if it’s because I am in my home, my space of personal power and refuge, or because I am mostly alone in a quiet space while I’m working.
During a normal workday, I interact with about 50-100 people. Let’s face it: we don’t choose our coworkers. We land in the workplace with them, and we try to get along as best we can. I like my coworkers very much, but since I’ve been away, I’ve begun to realize that those work-based relationships can be depleting. Keeping up the work persona takes effort, and that effort is all day, every day. As a yoga teacher, I would describe this as being in my sympathetic nervous system all day long.
Not to say I am constantly fighting or fleeing, but I am in a low-level stressful state most of the time. This wears on the nervous system, adrenal glands, immune system, digestion, and all of our systems.
In an article on Live Science, the author writes that when this state is “prolonged, the stress signals whizzing through the body wreak havoc. Besides maintaining a mental feeling of constant stress, the extra epinephrine and cortisol damage blood vessels, increase blood pressure and promote a buildup of fat.” It seems to me there is much to gain by keeping our stress low. For me, being at home definitely contributes to a more peaceful state of mind.
There have been so many benefits to working from home: I have gotten to spend more time with my son every day, and I’ve gotten to see how he manages and balances his schoolwork with his chores, and more importantly, his video games and TikTok content. I’ve been having fun with my hair color; it’s been pink and purple for weeks, which is something I haven’t quite dared to do when I’m working in the office.
My meditation practice has been more regular, and my yoga asana practice has gotten deeper. I’ve been able to log into daily sadhana (spiritual group gathering) Zoom calls almost every day for inspiration and support. My house is cleaner than it has been in months and all my plants, inside and outside, are blooming and flourishing.
Although I miss a lot of things about “normal” life, or life “before,” I have to say, my inner introvert has never been so content or felt so nurtured. I have to confess I almost hope we never go back.