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Simplicity is the New Chic Work Life

What if the lesson to be learned in 2020 was that we should all be working more simply?

Now that things are opening back up I find I’m not as interested or concerned for them as I was in the beginning. Sure it will be nice to see a new movie in the theater loaded down with a big tub of popcorn and expensive soda but other things seem less important than they once did. Like returning to work travel or an office commute every day. I find I have no desire to return to that structure and system in lieu of my personal home office with flexibility to work from the deck on cooler days. Admittedly, I also enjoy taking a lunch with my son more often. This being something I would rarely get to do if I was traveling or working in an office.

I think working from home gave me a new perspective of what was tolerable in my work life. Like most I stayed in my job until the wave of the pandemic was over and then began looking for something different. I felt more in control of my career direction and boundaries of what represented a good job and company. My time became more my own. When work didn’t fit into boundaries I needed for my life I felt more empowered to do something about it. I don’t know if those things would have come out if I had been traveling all the time and in the office. For one I wouldn’t have had the time to assess what was going on and probably would have just put up with it.

If anything I think the work at home setup has proven the bulk of professions can be done productively from anywhere. Work still got done throughout that time and we showed resilience in continuing to manage our employers needs against the changes in our children’s education setup and other family needs. We still delivered. Our reward? Most people did not get a raise last year, I sure didn’t. Most people are being asked to return to the office this year.

It seems to me the Great Resignation, this time of predicted significant amounts of people, as much as 65% currently working, who will be looking to change jobs is warranted. We have become a workforce with a voice and needs that are no longer able to be silenced in the gray cubicles of an office. We are no longer willing to sacrifice our family for our work times either. Unreasonable demands on our time, lack of raises, reduced benefits, asshole bosses all of it up for consideration of what we will and will not accept in our jobs.

The push of employers to bring employees back to offices seems counter to the work peace many of us found in the 2020 lockdowns. Work from home offered a healthy way to finally get away from office gossip and other negative behaviors that always brought trouble to our desks. Studies have shown too that while productivity is up people are also finding ways to work less and bring forth true work-life balance finally. Perhaps the working vacation will also one day meet its demise from this change.

What I found during all of this as well was my ability to focus on what was important to me. I had time to work on small business and dreams, workout, eat better and be with my family. All the things that are the reason I work in my job to support were actually able to be appreciated and supported. I also found I was able to spend time with actual friends and not just the people I worked with, but the people who I knew would be there for me when I needed them. The relationships I always had to cancel on because of a work deadline or flight in the morning now had space to be part of my normal life like they should have been all along.