Two years ago when office workers were sent home to do their jobs remotely, there was a lot of adjustment. In the process of learning new tools and finding a balance between work and home life, many developed routines that worked for them.
Over the course of the pandemic, people started to see working from home not as a temporary inconvenience, but as a real alternative to the traditional work week, and one with a lot of advantages.
While working from home, many people have secretly developed habits they can’t keep up from the office. Turns out, without lengthy commutes or the watchful eye of your employer, there’s a lot that can get done during the workday.
We asked readers to share their thoughts on the end of remote work and heard from those who are holding onto it for dear life, and others who are in the process of readjusting after returning to their workplace.
Below you’ll find responses from readers who shared the remote work perks they love the most, from having more time for household chores to the ways they’ve been quietly finding time to relax during their day.
Quiet time at the beach
“Work from home allows us as employees to be flexible with life and work balance but it also makes it hard to separate the two. It also means that there is no work/life buffer in a commute so if your work sucks it immediately infects your home life and the bad work situation quickly becomes unacceptable.
“I’ve taken advantage of being able to work from home by scheduling out a 1-2 hour block, either at noon or late in the afternoon, every day once it warms up to go to the beach and relax. While having a two-hour ‘meeting’ blocked out on my calendar can be a challenge for some, it gives me time to disengage and come back refreshed and with refocused energy.” — Michael, Quincy
Time with loved ones
“Being able to have lunch during the week with my wife…never been able to that in 36 years of marriage.” — Lou D., Eastham
“Seeing my son during my lunch break, walking my dog, are being able to squeeze in the gym during lunch.” — Chrissie, Framingham
“Our son is able to stay home with us. Daycares are outrageously expensive and even if we could afford it, they all have long waitlists. It’s great for my husband and I to both work from home vs. having to pay someone to care for our child more than we would in a week.” — Katie, Falmouth
“I can get my girls ready and out the door in the morning. I can often pick them up as the daycare is no longer over an hour away, it’s only 15 [minutes] from the house.” — Herbert, Pepperell
“I turned my commute time into time to walk around the neighborhood. I have gotten into walking meditation, listening to audiobooks, and connecting with my neighbors. I have lost 20 pounds! I also enjoy preparing my meals. I am eating way healthier at home than when I went to the office every day. During lunch, in the summer, I go to the beach for a swim and to eat my lunch. My overall well-being has improved greatly since adjusting to working from home. Thinking about going to the office makes me anxious and depressed.” — Ali, North Shore
“Besides the obvious lack of commute, less need to get dressed up, etc., I have been able to build in more time to be active. As long as the weather is decent, I go for two walks a day or sometimes build my workout into my workday. I run errands around the city during lunch. Before when I was in the office I had less time for those types of breaks during the workday. I also love being able to eat healthier and work outside when it’s warm (and not windy!)” — DMP, Boston
“Micro naps, being able to multitask chores between work calls, being available to drop off and pick up my daughter.” — Amy R.
“Quick 30-minute naps between meetings (if I’m caught up on work.)” — Matt, Dorchester
“Naps on my lunch break if it’s a stressful day, fitting in a walk in good weather, a workout on the Peloton, being able to sit and eat a snack or a meal in peace instead of wolfing it down at my desk, the list goes on and on. I wish companies would just be honest and say they want butts in seats at their offices because they don’t trust other adults to handle their own work and because they paid a lot for rent and office remodeling. My company had record profits with a 100% remote workforce the past two years; they’re making everyone go back in the office for no reason other than the high price of real estate.” — Mary, Brighton
“Working from home removed an hour and a half commute and let me wear pajama bottoms in Zoom meetings.” — Holly, Somerville
“I love work from home. There isn’t a commute, I can do the job in my pajamas and I don’t have to deal with co-workers and office politics. I’d be willing to return if they offered a hybrid schedule.” — Tracy D.
“Remote work has increased my productivity. I like everything about remote work. No commute. More comfortable at home. More sleep since I can wake up 15 minutes before my shift and work in my pajamas. I can multitask while I work. I can do some walking or yoga in my room or spin bike while I work, taking calls. I can make fresh lunch and snacks. It’s easier to sign up for overtime since I don’t have to drive to work for a few extra hours. It’s perfect!” — Rachel
“Having my pets as my at-home ‘work colleagues’ has been beneficial to my overall wellbeing. My cat has a box (cats love boxes!) right next to my desk. She is there much of the day when I am working from home. It really makes a difference! ” — Sophie, Salem
“I love being able to work in comfy clothes, and work near a window and see the sunshine (or snow!) during the day. Best of all, I can spend snuggle time with my 3 house rabbits!” — Colleen M., Fiskdale
“My dogs are next to me, which is a proven stress reliever. My laundry is always done AND put away. We eat out less because there is time to cook and not exhausted from the day.” — Sherri
Bike rides during the day
“When I work from home I can do two loads of laundry, have dinner in the oven or crockpot, and take my bike for a 12-mile spin during the day. I listen to podcasts while I work. I can pick up my kids during school when they have activities or run a quick errand.
“I would like to go into the office to meet people I’ve only seen during Teams calls, but I don’t want to face the traffic. I live in Acton but a commute to Burlington could be 50 minutes. I’d have to get up earlier to commute in and then return home around 6:30 or 7 p.m. I’m torn because working in the office is more collaborative and I like my coworkers. I see myself going in maybe twice a week at some point in the fall perhaps.” — Kevin D., Acton
More time for errands
“I miss being around a group of people and I feel that my social skills are getting rusty.
“I’m also finding it stressful to try and work in a room full of people, they are way too distracting. Working from home has improved my productivity. Not commuting has helped me give more time to the company while also giving myself a little extra time each day.
“I like being able to go outside at lunchtime and pull some weeds or mow the lawn. Doctor’s appointments are so much easier when you can just duck out of ‘the office’ for an hour. My doctors are near my home, not the office. When I was full time in the office each appointment also had an hour of drive time, sometimes both ways. Waiting for the cable guy isn’t an issue when you have a full day of work to do while you wait.
“Working from home does make it hard to separate work and home. But the benefits far outweigh that balancing act.” — Andy N., Medford
“Getting laundry and other chores finished during work breaks so it doesn’t all have to be done on the weekend. Throwing dinner in the oven. A shorter commute (bedroom to office versus a 40-minute drive). And a quicker beauty routine in the morning that also resulted in less spent on beauty products.” —Carrie, Aiken
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.