November 9, 2022

Wednesday: Musings on the new normal of hybrid, and some photos of pumpkins.

Like many people, I did the pandemic job hunt and started a new role in august 2022.  The office is 2 hours from my house, but I only go once a week. The weird thing about starting a job 2 hours away, but which is 80% remote, is that a decision to go into the office is a decision to not be home for 13 hours in a row.  When I worked in an office I never chose between seeing my family and going to the office.  I went to the office (early and tired) and left at exactly 4:30 (early and tired) and saw my family (while being tired) and rather stressfully "balanced" both.  

In this new set up, overall I get a lot more quality time with the family. I always pick the kids up by 5:15, and many days I drop them off at 8:15 and still start work on time.   I can cook better dinners by prepping over my lunch break.  I can get menial house-life things done during the work day, like vacuuming or laundry.

Sometimes I find myself resisting my long office day.  It is far, and expensive, and I do spend a lot of it on teams anyways.  But when I go to the office... it's usually good.  It's good to get out of my house.  It's good to remember how to talk to colleagues and to meet new people.  Today I got a drink with a colleague after work.  It's hard to meet new people socially in a remote setting.  

I've realized I need to be a lot more intentional about my different days.  I need to set up in-person meetings during my office days.  I need to try and plan a post work social drink, if I can.  I need make sure my office days flow and feel very differently than my home days.  Office days are not a worse version of home days - office days should be a completely different part of my role.  

Tomorrow, a home day, is a day for planning and prioritizing my work for the remainder of the year.  

In non work news, here are three things that bring me joy today:

Our table, set by the kids, for a dollies picnic.  The kids have never set the table before, but apparently know how, and dollies enjoyed their tea party.  "Dollies drink air" Isaac told me, because I would not put water in any of the cups.
Lilah and Isaac did some exploring with flashlights.  Kids love flashlights.  Kids love tupperware.
My pumpkin collection is on point and I love looking at all of them and thinking about what I will make with all of them. And then I love eating all of them.  I love pumpkins.


  1. I totally know what you mean about your office day. When we were asked to come back to the office after working at home through the pandemic, I chose to continue working from home with one office day a week. I don't have kids and my office is just down the road from where I live, but it's definitely something that I have to "mentally prepare" for every week... I really enjoy working from home and the flexibility that comes with it, but I've also come to enjoy being in the office again, interacting with co-workers and doing things that are hard to do remotely. I think it's the best of two worlds if you can work a hybrid!

  2. That is long commute, but I guess it's OK when it's not everyday? I like the way you go about planning your days, definately means that going in to the office is worth it.

    How long will your pumpkins stay up there before yuo eat them?

    1. I know, the commute is SO very long. But it's only once a week. When I started considering it I realized that normally I would commute 1 hour a day, every day. Now I commute 4 hours on 1 day. It's an hour less overall?

      The pumpkins will last until about January probably? Depends on how much food we have in the house and how much I want to eat pumpkin soup or pumpkin chili :-)

  3. I have done remote work most of my career and I enjoy it so much for all of the reasons you list. But there is definitely something to be said for having some face-time with the people you work with.

    "Dollies eat air" -- that is so cute! And very wise.

    1. I think the pandemic has made people forget that some people were remote before! I'm so interested in people who were remote before the pandemic, because I think even remote work has changed post pandemic...?

  4. Mmm. I love all things pumpkin, too <3
    I think this sounds like a great hybrid (well, it's too bad the office isn't a little bit closer!) - most days at home, but also the planned time to get away from it all because fitting in those household chores can make a day seem very full and busy when done in and around work. I've been working from home almost 100% (granted, it's not full-time) for over a decade. There are definitely pros and cons, but in terms of having a young family, the flexibility of being home is SO helpful. Just this week I've had a sick kiddo home and haven't had to adjust much of anything in my work schedule. That's such a blessing!
    Like San said - best of both worlds.

    Also, how sweet is that picnic!!! Especially the part about dollies drinking air. Heart melted...

  5. Yes, I love this way of thinking- office days are not bad, just different. I'm always trying to incorporate that idea into my own life. Overall yours sounds like a good situation!

  6. As a freelancer I only occasionally go to the clients office. And I always schedule meetings, catch up and listening to the waves of conversation in the office trying to pick up what I need for my communications role. I always know I will not be productive in sense of writing and creating because there is just too much noise. But it is important to show up, to connect and having that drink. Wondering, do you go by car or public transport. I enjoy working some on the trains and then read or listen to podcasts. I find it more relaxing than driving

  7. This is such an excellent perspective. I, too, have been viewing my in-office days, which vary in number each week due to meeting schedules, etc., as not-as-good as my home days (my preferred work location). But really, they're just different - and they offer me other opportunities that working at home does not. Thanks for helping me reframe! (and oooof those are long days you have!)