Thank you to Walmart Home for partnering with my family on this post and to my readers for supporting my blog. All products, purchases and reviews are of my own.
Over the past year I’ve received requests to share an update on working from home and my thoughts on returning to the office. After 16 months of working from home I finally have an update to share! Over the past few weeks, information and expectations for when and how to return to the office have started rolling out for my Department! Starting in September, my Team will be returning to the office two days a week (plus additional days, as instructed/needed). The days have not yet been determined but we did have the opportunity to request certain days for consideration. I have such mixed feelings over the return but am mostly feeling relieved to finally know the plan after months of anxiously anticipating the announcement.
While I am kind of looking forward to a change of scenery, have deeply missed my ginormous whiteboard and delicious takeout salads for lunch, I am nervous about how this change will impact my connectivity with my Team members as well as the routine we’ve gotten into over the past year working from home.
I think I’ve mentioned before that my law firm is headquartered in Philadelphia. In fact, I will be traveling to several of our Pennsylvania offices for meetings this week for the FIRST TIME since the pandemic! While the attorneys I support are spread across 27 offices throughout the country, my business development colleagues are primarily located in our greater Philadelphia offices. (In case you’re new, my former regional law firm was acquired back in 2018 and all of my Charlotte colleagues decided to pursue other opportunities during the very painful merger process. I was offered a position with the new firm and after weighing several opportunities decided to accept it — and I’ve been super happy!). Anyway, if you’re in business development, you know how helpful and exciting it is to walk down the hall to a colleague’s office to brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another. It’s been a weird (and sometimes lonely) environment for me in Charlotte…but then the pandemic changed everything. After my firm went remote I began spending more face to face time collaborating via webex than ever before which significantly impacted my relationships with my team and my attorneys. There’s a personal intimacy in “meeting” with people in their homes too. It’s been fun to see them outside of a suit and tie, see how they decorate their walls and I’ve had the opportunity to meet kids, significant others and lots of cats (I honestly had no idea how many people had cats). And now I’m worried we’ll lose a lot of that connectivity when we’re all back in the office and begin prioritizing in-person meetings to webex meetings.
Additionally, while I know it’s only two days a week (which is what I voted for), I am really going to miss my flexibility on my office days. I’ve been extremely grateful for the quality of life benefits that working from home offers. Tackling chores throughout the day (meal prep, laundry, etc.) instead of letting them pile up for the weekend has given us more time back on Sundays to spend time as a family. I can also have my groceries delivered at non-peak times mid-week instead of fighting over the popular weekend grocery delivery slots. And speaking of groceries, I have saved our family so much money by not grabbing a $16 salad or Starbucks every day! Cutting out a commute Uptown has also offered us a welcomed change of pace and more time in the mornings to squeeze in a workout, make my kids breakfast and walk them to the bus stop instead of frantically getting myself and everyone else dressed and out the door on time. And in the afternoons, I can work up until the very last second before going to picking up the kids (usually have to leave my office 45 minutes early to beat traffic) and I can start making dinner right at 5 pm!
So that’s the update and some of my thoughts around returning to the office. I am grateful for the hybrid environment ahead and am especially happy to still have the flexibility to work from home 3 days a week. And now that I know I’ll continue working from home part time I am finally changing up some things in the Circle Room to make it a better office environment to work in — which means I’m upgrading my warped folding table with a REAL DESK! In fact, my desk arrived last week and I assembled it all myself and LOVE it. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to no longer balance my keyboard on a very uneven plastic table. And because I got a little carried away in my excitement, I went ahead and created an office inspiration board — all products are from Walmart! Yes, Walmart! I was able to find a lot of fun, trendy and affordable office items. So if you’re looking to spruce up your home office, you may like some of these items too!