Back to the office: experiences, observations?

Well, I’m back in the office after working at home for almost 1.5 years. Here are some of my observations about the experience:

I expected to be happy about seeing co-workers again, and I am. Interacting with only my husband all that time was getting old, and I welcome the socialization here.

I like being able to quickly check with my bosses about any questions I have on projects, rather than emailing them and waiting, waiting, waiting for an answer.

I did expect to be annoyed by returning to the commute, and I am. My commute is about 40 minutes long. It’s a little easier than it was, due to more people continuing to work at home and staying off the freeways, at least for the moment.

Here’s what surprised me. I had forgotten about the feeling of rush, rush, rush all morning long. I had gotten into the habit of a nice leisurely breakfast, workout routine, and shower. Now I have to press down on the accelerator constantly from the time I wake up until the time I sit my butt down in my office chair. Do not like.

And it was easy to keep up with the housework when working at home. Whenever I had a spare ten minutes, I’d empty and refill a dishwasher, or start a load of laundry and fold the previous load, or sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Now the housework is going to pile up for the weekends again.

How about you?

I haven’t gone back yet. My boss is worried about variants, so our back-to-the-office date is after labor day. But I anticipate almost exactly the same things that you mentioned. I really like many of the people I work with, but we are not friends outside of work. (I suck at that, and hate talking on the phone.) So, we haven’t seen each other or interacted much at all in a year and a half. I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

I also have a long commute. On bad traffic days, the round trip is more than 3 hours. Good news is, we’ll get to have at least one additional work-from-home day when we go back, and we are lobbying for more flexibility, which is being considered. But I hate the idea of losing that 3 hours a day.

I used to carpool with a coworker, and we anticipate carpooling again, but it will be very different. We went from 2.5 to 3 hours/day, 4 days/week, of chatting to zero. We gave up our carpool parking space, which I was in charge of, last summer. Now we may only carpool 2 days a week depending on schedules, and our new parking spot is in a different place and the other person is in charge of collecting the money, etc. It sounds minor as I type it – and it is – but it’s just a matter of all the little routines that have been disrupted and won’t go back to how they were.

I never stopped going into the office. We are a manufacturing company and never shut down. Almost 90% of our people, had no choice but to come to their respective plants as they can’t take the machinery and equipment home and do their jobs there.

I have an office job, but continued to come in, in support of our broader team. We had very strict protocols on the shop floor and in the offices regarding mask wearing and social distancing. As such our global infection rate was only about 2.5% and we only had 2 cases that were community transference at work. Almost exclusively our infection rate was from employees family and outside social interactions.

Although 80% of our office personnel did choose to work from home. In most sites, the office people have returned to work. The company is offering those employees that wish to work up to two days a week from home, the option of doing so.

I was never required to be in the office but I went in anyway because I hated working from home 100% of the time. Also, I found it better for maintaining working relationships and ensuring that the customer didn’t forget what they were paying me for.

Now, I dread the thought of going back. I still don’t have to. But I imagine I will force myself to a two or thee day “in the office” schedule. Yep. Aaaany week now…

I’m back in the office, but most of my co-workers/cow-orkers have elected to stay working from home (which is allowed at least until the end of the year) (and we have had some folks remote for years pre-pandemic)
Right now there are 7 people on my floor (out of about 70)
It is just as quiet (if not more so) than my house, it is only 4.6 miles away (so short commute and I bicycled in Monday and Tuesday), I have a nice view and I like the office=work; home=not work dynamic. I still might do blended office/home, but will likely be mostly office.


We are back in the office a required two days a week, but I begged to come into the office on all my days (three days, I’m part time.)

Now that other people are there, it’s starting to feel like the good old days when I could talk to people and feel like part of a team. We’re still having meetings over stupid Zoom, though.

I’ve noticed I have a lot less time to do things. I recently took over dishes, for example, as a household chore that is now 100% mine, and it’s tough staying on top of dishes when I’m in the office. Plus about an hour and a half of my day is now devoted to commuting, which I don’t mind, but it’s less time to do things. It’s worth noting I had a pandemic baby two days before state shutdown, so I am comparing life now to the time before COVID when I also didn’t have a child. So I can’t say if I perceive myself as having less time because I have a child or because I got used to staying home during COVID. It’s a bit of a double whammy I suspect.

Now that I’m trying to cook dinner every night, I’m finding less and less time for my passions, like writing. And when I do find the time, I’m just tired and would rather spend it with my husband.

But I’ll take this over lockdown any day. Being busy is good for my mental health.

Still working from home. Love it. My hours used to be 7am-3:30, and I have to tell you, at 3:30, I was out of their like a flash.

Now I sometimes take a longer lunch if I have to run an errand. In any case I usually stick around until 5. I also start earlier. Working from home that doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m going to work some today and tomorrow on a project that is throwing some errors. Nice that I can do it from the comfort of my home, on my schedule.

Anyway, they are still trying to figure out who and how often people are going to be coming in. We are completely reconfiguring the office and there is going to be desk workstation sharing for some of us. I hate that but is a sacrifice I’ll accept if I only have to go in one day a week.

Another bonus about working from home, and all the mask wearing, I haven’t had so much as the sniffles for 2 years.

We’ve been in the office twice in the last two weeks, and it looks like we’ll be going in once per week for now, depending on company policy.

We’re still limited to 50% in the office, but we’re still running around 10%, or even less. We are both able to work from home fairly comfortably, so there’s no pressure to go to work for increasing productivity.

HR said many months ago that going to work will be more for the personal contact, and not for sitting alone at one’s desk.

However, as it is summer vacation and many people are still staying away, going to the office doesn’t fulfill any personal contact requirement. There’s no one there and ⅔ of the coffee machines are shut down.

It’s nice to see familiar faces while walking between the office and the parking garage, but that was the limit of my contact with people outside my own department. So it’s just strange.

We have been back at the office since April, I only go in one day a week and to be honest, I am resentful of the idea of going back full-time. Like many people, I have benefited greatly from working at home - I have saved myself 3hrs a day in commuting, I have more time to spend on other things, I can do little jobs like the laundry during the day, I take more breaks from the computer. I’ve also got a good routine of exercising after work before I make dinner. And of course we’re eating healthier because we have more time to cook from scratch most days (when we don’t have leftovers).

When I do go to the office, I use public transport. I have to leave home by about 6-6.30am for a half hour walk to the railway station, then get two trains to get me to campus, and then walk across campus to my office. I’m the only person in the office on my scheduled day, I rarely see anyone else unless I arrange to see a colleague in a different building who is also in on the same day. Then I do the journey in reverse, but I make sure I leave mid-afternoon in order to beat the school kids and the peak travel times.

We’ve been told that the university will consider hybrid working, which suits me, provided I can get three days at home and two in the office. I haven’t missed actual contact with people because we have virtual meetings and are always on Teams chat with each other. Being at home where it’s peaceful and conducive to concentration has been hugely beneficial for some of the more complex jobs I’ve had thrown at me.

I work for a university too but at a satellite office off campus, for an institute that is composed of several related centers.

Our university finally announced on Thursday that a. those of us who are not in student facing roles can come back to the office in mid-August and the institute director says our goal is to move back between the 16th and 27th in a staggered way b. the university will allow us to do hybrid schedules if both our supervisor and (I assume center) director agrees; with a lot more effort for approval some people will be allowed to work from home on a permanent basis.

I’m hoping to do the hybrid schedule, but it’s a bit tricky because my video editing work requires an expensive desktop so I can’t exactly put a tower in my car twice or more a week. OTOH, our center director happened to mention the Friday before last wanting everyone whose computer is more than 2.9 years old to get a new computer, and mine turns 3 year in a couple weeks. Hopefully they won’t balk at it being more than twice as expensive as other people’s…

I’m not sure how I feel about going back yet. Lots of things, including if I’ll even have the same office and officemate are up in the air because we’ve had a fair amount of staff changeover in the past nearly year and a half, and some of the staff, mostly center directors, are at the moment pretty adamant that they want to apply for work from home permanently so their offices would be up for grabs. Plus my poor officemate lost both of her parents and caught long covid herself, so I’m uncertain if she’ll ever come back to the office instead of WFH. I don’t know if I’d prefer 2 day home/3 in office, or the other way around…I’m trying not to get too attached to the idea of hybrid at all at this stage. It’s hard to get too excited or too anxious when plans still feel as nebulous as they do. And just my luck, the institute director is holding a Q&A on a day I’ll be out.

If you’ve gone back already, how are your pets doing? My cats are a year old, so they don’t know about the before times when I didn’t worked from home. We’ve been practicing alone time by me running errands once or twice a week, but so far 4-5 hours is the longest they’ve ever been alone.

During the lockdown, I went into the office as needed. I work by myself in an office so there was really no risk for me, but the governor said to stay home so I did. I went in to do payroll, pay bills, like I said, just when I had to. My boss was fine with this arrangement. When the lockdown was lifted, I realized it was really a waste of time to sit in the office if I had nothing to do. So I told my boss that from now on, I’ll come in do my work and when I’m done I’m heading home. I used to sit here from 8am-4:30pm even if there was nothing to do. WASTE OF TIME. Life is too short. He had no problem with it. I’m only about 12-15 minutes away. I told my co-workers that if they need something that can’t wait until morning to text or call me and I’ll gladly come in. So it’s kind of like being semi-retired. I like to get up, get ready for the day and go somewhere. I don’t think I could stand being home all day. So this works out perfectly for me.

I’m also dressing much more casually now, getting dressed up is really not needed where I work.

I’m mostly glad to be back in the office.


  • I like my commute. I live a few miles from work and ride my bike. I still biked while working from home, but now my commute is my delineator between work/not-work.
  • Can meet with me team more effectively. Some of my coworkers were harder to contact while remote.
  • Faster work. Better equipment in the office.
  • Donuts


  • As others have said - the housework. It was easy to keep up while home. Not as much.
  • I still wake up super early and read the newspaper, drink coffee, eat breakfast, etc. But, I have to hurry a bit more now.

My partner is still at home so he can take care of the three cats while I’m not there, although he is not very good at noticing when a litter tray needs cleaning :slight_smile:

The cats seem unconcerned for the most part, they have got used to us being in the house all the time, they come for attention when they feel like it, and other times they find somewhere to have a long sleep. We have kept to a routine for them so they get fed at the same times during the day, he tends to give them treats from the fridge far more than I do. One of the cats has been maintaining a “fridgil” by following us downstairs into the kitchen and then sitting in front of the fridge with imploring eyes until it’s opened and something gets put on a plate for him.

Started returning to the office in mid-March. Was doing about 2 days a week until about May. I’ve been going in about four days a week since mid-May. I was glad to be doing it until the delta variant started making its way around the world, and now I’m worried because so many people think the pandemic is over and that vaccinated people can’t get serious cases of COVID, which is not true.

I’ve been going back to the office since May, albeit only 1-2 days a week so far. My company has instituted a permanent ‘work from anywhere’ policy, so I’m enjoying doing a bit of both (home and office).

I’m quite enjoying my commute, but then it’s only a leisurely 25 minute stroll past the very pleasant harbour. I might feel differently in winter.

On a typical day, there’s never more than 1/4 of the office actually there, but I’ve really enjoyed catching up with people. But my productivity is through the floor - office days now just seem like meeting and catch up days. I can’t focus in the office at all. MY CEO says the same.

I’m in retail so I’ve pretty much been in all along. At the height of our local “shutdown” (South Carolina) we went to limited hours and curbside service only, so I worked just 2 days a week. Back then there was almost no traffic, it was lovely. I live in the rural outskirts of a large town/small city, so traffic is relative, but still …

Now the main road that my store is on is a constant crazy stream. And if I’m a few minutes late heading out in the morning, the effect is dramatic. What should take me 25 min can take 45 or more.

I think I liked the no-traffic aspect the best.

No kidding. I live in a resort community. I am working from home, thank god, but traffic seems way, way up.
I think that since a lot of people can work from anywhere, many second home owners are spending much more time here. That’s also effecting our seasonal worker housing. There’s a shortage of rentals because the owners are living in their second homes and not renting them out.

I’ve actually been in the office for the past 13 months, when everyone else had been sent home. The rest came back this month, though.

Most people didn’t look much different from the last time I had seen them, but there were half a dozen or so that really, really showed that they were raiding the cookie jar at home a little too often.