Are You Ready to Return to The Office?

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return to the office

Are you one of the lucky workers who transitioned to WFH last year? Covid spread like wildfire and WFH suddenly became a necessity. Millions of people set up home offices and they were very productive. Mrs. RB40 was one of these workers. She thought she would hate working from home since she never did it before, but she loved it. From what I heard on the news, most workers like WFH much better than going to the office.

This summer, the pandemic began to subside and many employers started to plan for bringing workers back to the fold. Unfortunately, the delta variant caused a big flare-up in the United States and these plans were put on hold. However, it seems like things are getting better again. Most workplaces have a vaccine mandate so the office should be a safer place. Whether you like it or not, returning to the office is imminent.

Today, we’ll look at the advantages of working from home. Workers have a lot more power this year. If you love working from home, you might be able to fight for it or even get a new job where WFH is acceptable. Is the benefit of WFH enough to go through the trouble?

Benefit of WFH

Surprisingly, Mrs. RB40 loves working from home. She didn’t think she would be effective at home, but she adapted and became very productive. She completed a lot of backlogged projects because she was able to focus on them. Now, she doesn’t want to go to the office anymore. Here are the reasons why she enjoys working from home.

No commute

In previous years, Mrs. RB40 commuted to work via public transportation. She either took the bus or light rail. The commute took about 40 minutes so it isn’t too long. Her employer issued annual passes for public transportation so the commute is free. She liked public transportation because she didn’t have to drive and deal with rush hour traffic.

There were downsides to taking public transportation too. We live in Portland. Our winters are cold, wet, and dark. It wasn’t pleasant to wait for the bus in this weather. Also, Mrs. RB40 is a weirdo magnet. Inevitably, strange people sit next to her and tell her all about their problems. She told me about these incidents many times. Most were harmless (except for the one guy who leaned over to pet her shoes and then tried to block her from getting out of her seat), but she just wanted to sit by herself, quietly decompressing after working all day.

Anyway, commuting is no fun. Working from home eliminated that unpleasantness and gave her back over 1 hour every day. This is one of the biggest benefits of WFH.

Improved work-life balance

Another huge benefit of working from home is being able to spend more time with the family. Now, she spends a lot more quality time with RB40Jr and I. It’s been great. She can take breaks throughout the workday and talk to us. Also, she can throw clothes in the laundry, take a quick breather in the garden, or go for a quick walk. When she was at work, she knew she should take breaks, but she rarely came downstairs to step outside. Working from home is a lot more flexible than working in the office.

We really enjoy having her at home too. The family feels more complete with her at home more. Previously, she didn’t have much time to spend with the family because she would leave before the rest of us and come home much later than us. All she had time to do was clean up the dishes (I cook dinner on weekdays), read to RB40Jr, and go to sleep. She is much happier with WFH.

Flexible meals

Another nice benefit is the ability to make her own meals and eat whenever she wants. When she worked in the office, she’d pack a sandwich or eat out. She likes sandwiches, but they get pretty boring. When she ate out, the portion size was always too big. Now, she can make a hot lunch or sneak out for a nice lunch break with her hubby.

We live in a vibrant walkable neighborhood with a ton of restaurants. We’ve been here two years and there are still many restaurants we haven’t tried yet. Working from home enables us to explore our neighborhood more. I don’t eat out by myself so it’s been good for me too.

Going back to the office

Working from home has been great for our family, but Mrs. RB40 will have to go back to the office soon. Fortunately, her employer is considerate enough to their employee some choices. Here they are.

Remote work – don’t go into the office at all and give up office space.

Telework – go into the office at least 2 days/week. If less, then hot desk or hoteling option.

Office work – Back to work at the office full time as usual.

Mrs. RB40 plans to take the middle option and go to work about 2 or 3 days per week. She facilitates classes so she wants to have access to her full computer setup, which we won’t be able to create at home. I think this is a great balance for our family. She’s really fortunate that her employer is flexible. Some of her coworkers are done with WFH and will go back to the office full time. Others will most likely look at teleworking. It’s nice to have more options.

How about you? Do you like working from home? Or would you rather go back to the office?

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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