Working at home is either an amazing blessing or a house-shaped prison filled with dirty laundry and muddled work-life boundaries. But when it’s time to go back to the office, even the biggest WFH haters will have to face some adjustments.
Recently IBM asked thousands of employees who work from home to come back to the mothership (office) for a more traditional office environment. Yahoo did the same with some of its employees in 2013.
What are the biggest things you’ll miss when you exchange your couch for a cube?
1. Yes, you have to start wearing pants again
Which is nice because you can actually start feeling like a human again. Sure, you’re going to have to start abiding by typical dress code rules, like “dress for the job you want,” which, when you work from home is “whatever job requires wearing the same sweatpants five days in a row.”
2. You can’t have Netflix on 24/7 in the background
Distraction? More like productivity enhancer, you swear. As long as you are available and productive — which are two of the most important keys to WFH success — no one has any idea you’re catching up on “House of Cards” in the background. Pulling it up at the office is uh, much harder to explain.
3. You will actually have to talk to people other than the mailman and your cat
Which is a healthy development, because they were both getting a little overwhelmed by your stories. Every person who has ever worked from home has found themselves bending the ear of a very uncomfortable grocery store cashier. It gets lonely! Collaboration is actually a huge reason why companies are calling their employees back to work. After announcing their WFH reduction, IBM claimed divisions like software development and digital marketing have become more collaborative in a way that’s hard to execute without a central meeting place.
4. You’ll need to stop rolling your eyes in teleconference meetings
Let’s all look to the BBC interview dad as an example of what can go horribly — and hilariously — wrong when you call in to important meetings. If you have any bad habits, like not paying attention when you’re out of frame or reading other things on your screen at the same time, you’re going to have to relearn how to be bored without, you know, actually showing it. Also, there are no kids around to make you a viral sensation.
5. Hello traffic, your old friend
Why are none of these cars moving? This feels like the most unfair thing in the universe. Studies have shown that long commutes can be bad for your health, so there’s really no upside here. No commutes also means less wasted time and less opportunities to be late, so it’s a big reason why companies like a WFH option.
6. You’ll probably feel like someone has messed with your routine
It was all so easy! You were in your SPACE. You had things down. And now you have to wear real clothes and make small talk?! Work-from-homers agree it is virtually impossible to pull it all off unless you have a routine. Granted, getting dressed and getting to the office will build a new routine, but you may miss the one that was perfectly personalized to YOU.
7. Workplace drama will require some… adjustment
Everyone cares that so-and-so forgot your supervisor’s birthday, but you’re just over here missing your convos with the mailman. You might be able to duck the sillier spats from home, but once you’re in the office again you’ll feel like a bull in a china shop. Don’t fret — after all, you wear pants and a real shirt! You are an acceptable member of society again! You can handle this.
8. You can’t just blast music whenever you need a little hype
Well, you could, but you will definitely make enemies. Headphones are absolutely a requirement if you share a workspace, but even if you get your own office to rock out in, some rules still apply, like turning off the music for phone calls.
9. You’ll have to start sitting in a real chair like a real person
If you are trying to pretend like you didn’t spend some WFH days day working on the couch or from your bed, you’re lying. Having a dedicated, organized workspace is a must for WFH productivity, but we all have those couch days. No judgment. Sitting at work actually probably isn’t that bad for you, but you may be used to moving around whenever you want at home. Consider switching out your chair for an ergonomic ball or bring in some type of support, and remember to get up and move around throughout the day.
10. You can’t just read a bunch of lists on the Internet when you’re bored
Okay, you totally can. But at least be sneaky about it, geez.