At the beginning of 2020, who would’ve thought that we would be living through a pandemic that would severely disrupt the lives of everyone (with the possible exception of hermits)? When I left my office at the Municipal Services Building in Center City the afternoon of March 17, I expected to return to work in a few weeks. Boy, did I miscalculate! Here we are at the beginning of August, and it appears I will be working from home for the foreseeable future – along with many others in my circle.
I will admit there are a great many advantages to working from home. I do miss the social interactions with my co-workers, particularly coffees and lunches with colleagues and friends at the many great restaurants in Center City. I’ve vowed to treat myself to a lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster when I finally return to the office! As an adjunct professor at LeBow, I truly miss the excitement of the campus and my personal interactions with outstanding Drexel students. I keep telling myself – this is not forever, and we WILL survive this crisis and be much stronger for what we have endured.
Although it is easy to dwell on the negatives during this anxious and challenging time, I have learned that it is much healthier to have a positive outlook. I work for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue in the tax policy group. Given the City’s bleak fiscal situation, I am extremely grateful to have a wonderful, intellectually stimulating job. I am also able to work from home during the pandemic and be just as productive as if I were in the office. There are of course times when I feel isolated from my colleagues, but that sense of isolation is somewhat mitigated by technologies such as Zoom, FaceTime and the old fashioned phone call. What if we didn’t have access to technology at a time like this?
Working from home clearly has its benefits. From the start, I established a daily routine during the workweek, and I am committed to sticking with it. Since my commute into the office has been reduced from one hour to one minute (at most), I have started my day earlier – meaning that most days I have time for a leisurely breakfast. I am no longer concerned with delays or cancellations on my Regional Rail line, as I now walk to work. My commuting expense has dropped to zero.
In addition, I have saved money on professional business clothes and accessories. My normal workplace attire during the summer has been a comfortable T-shirt and shorts. Occasionally, I will change into a dress shirt when I have to participate in a formal Zoom event. Shaving is optional.
On those days when the temperature doesn’t approach three digits, my workday is broken up by a long walk through the neighborhood. For lunch and dinner, we often dine al fresco on the patio of the casual “Liss Bistro.” Finally, the pandemic has given me an opportunity to uncover old (and new) concert videos available on YouTube. In fact, I recently discovered an awesome band – Haim – which I had never heard of before the pandemic. Staying at home also offers you the opportunity to binge-watch Netflix series, such as Designated Survivor. It is quite addictive.
So you see, working from home during a pandemic isn’t so bad after all. Stay healthy and wear a mask!