Work Now + Beyond

Working from home showed me what I really want out of my work life

Working from home hasn’t been easy for everyone. With the coronavirus pandemic, many people are out of work or working from home for indeterminate amounts of time. I know a lot of us are unhappy with working from home, but for my family and me, it’s been a source of newfound freedom.

For my parents, it’s been easier working without a long commute, which saves them hours of time. They can now spend more time with their family, when before they usually only saw us at the very end of the day. They can also take short breaks in between work calls and meeting, which they’ve admitted makes them much more productive. After a particularly difficult work event, they can cool off with a walk or a relaxing TV show, instead of staying in the office environment.

As for me, I’ve done both my schoolwork, my on-campus job, and my internship from home. While it has its downsides, there are plenty of net positives. I never rush in the morning, so I can take my time with all my meals and chores. If I need a break between classes or work activities, it’s easy for me to take a nap or take some me-time. I’ve had so much more time to write, read, sew, knit, draw, and indulge in my other hobbies. I was incredibly stressed and in a terrible mental state before lockdown. Working at home brought me the peace of mind I needed to heal.

So will this change anything? Part of me hopes so. Many people I know have always heard that they can’t possibly work from home in their industries. After lockdown, most of them realized that it was totally feasible to work remotely. Those that need to be at home for medical reasons, to take care of their children, or simply because it’s convenient might be able to continue working at home.

For people like me, I think the lockdown has taught us that we can’t thrive on work alone. In a healthy society, every person should have time to relax, pursue hobbies, and spend time with family instead of working every hour of the day. Hopefully some of our employers will learn that we can’t afford to live with that schedule anymore. Even if this working from home schedule isn’t permanent, I hope it can spark some meaningful change.

Working from home has given me a better work and life balance. I’m finally find some forms of fulfillment outside my job and my schoolwork. It has encouraged me to pursue my hobbies and take time to relax and refresh. I know a lot of us aren’t happy with working from home, but it’s significantly better than losing your job or needing to work on-site during a pandemic. It doesn’t mean we have to be happy, but we’re the lucky ones. This is a unique time, and we should make the most of this change and come out of it with a better understanding of how to strike the right home/work balance for each one of us.

By Camilla Selian Meeker

Camilla Meeker is a sophomore at Vassar College specializing in nineteenth century history and literature. She is an avid writer, reader, and costumer with an interest in Middle Eastern studies, historical clothing, and journalism. Camilla loves creative work and writing of any sort, and is excited to join the Tempest's summer editorial fellowship.