Many people have experienced working from home for the first time in the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many want to continue doing it. I don’t blame them. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work from home (or remotely) full-time since 2014. Before that, I worked from home a few days a week as a software engineer for HomeAway (acquired by Expedia.com) in Austin, TX.
Working from home has enabled me to save time by not having a commute and having fewer meetings to do more things that I enjoy, for example, writing posts like this and many more that I never published—going for long walks, taking road trips with the family, and even traveling abroad for more extended periods. However, not everything has been perfect. I do miss the in-person interactions with colleagues and even strangers. Going out to lunch with co-workers, having to wear more than shorts and flip-flops every morning, and having a clear separation between home and work.
Having a clear separation between home and work was probably the hardest thing to do initially, but it is under control now. It is too easy to end up working endless hours with the excuse of how important work is, and continue doing it all of the time when you are home. The truth is, your personal life will always be more important than any job, but understanding this and separating your work from your personal life requires a lot of discipline when working from home.
Some people are not qualified to work from home, and I am not talking about the people who are needed to be in a place physically to do their job; instead, I am referring to the people who are easily distracted and can’t focus on their work and end up slacking off instead. Working from home and doing it successfully requires discipline and effort.
Working from home is feasible and probably the best way for some people to work nowadays. If you can do your job from a computer, then I don’t see why a company wouldn’t let you work remotely if that is what you desire. At the same time, some people enjoy going to an office, working with others, having in-person meetings, etc. The ideal situation is to have a balance, but it is essential also to be part of a team where there is general agreement about the work location and hours.
I am unsure if I will continue to work from home forever, but I know that it has been a positive change in my life for many years. It has made me more productive as I can focus on my work better, and it has also helped me financially as I don’t require a second car, and I save some money in gas and food by not going out to lunch as often as I did when I worked at an office.
In addition, I am trying the four-day workweek, and so far, it’s been positive for me, my team, and my company. I feel more energetic when I am working, I feel happier, and my work-life balance actually exists. When I am not working, I use the time to pursue my hobbies, which also benefit my job. I like keeping up with technology and changes in programming languages, architecture, etc. And more importantly, I feel that I am no longer in this rat race.
Even when I still have a work routine, it is well-balanced, and I have enough time to decide what I want to do with it.
My ultimate goal is to wake up every day and do what I want, where I want, in the terms I want. That is happiness for me.