A reader writes:
I hate working from home. I live and work in a big city and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment. My office has always had a work-from-home policy, but during the pandemic we’ve been working at home 100%. Many of my coworkers have embraced it, in some cases leaving the city for their country homes or other cities. But for me, working from home has been extremely isolating. Our jobs don’t lend themselves to a lot of group work so now I can go days without talking to any coworkers. When we have Zoom calls, everyone keeps their cameras off. I usually turn my camera on just to see if that will motivate people to turn their cameras on, but it’s rare that anyone else does.
Pre-pandemic we were problem solvers and there’s an important aspect of our work that happens when someone walks into your office and spontaneously asks if you can talk through a problem with them That’s completely evaporated since we’ve been working from home. Some people take hours to respond to emails or phone calls, and management doesn’t have any interest in making it faster. All the work is getting done so they don’t care. I’m a very social person and I really miss the camaraderie of the office and the ability to walk around and bounce ideas off of other people. I have expressed concern to my manager about not having enough contact with my coworkers, and she’s tried to help by calling me once a week to check in.
Even now, there’s no urgency to go back to work and it’s really concerning me. I suspect my office will have a really flexible work-from-home policy and I may be one of a handful of people who end up going into the office regularly. I suspect that when I do go in, I’ll be one of two people in the office. I didn’t sign up to work from home or in an empty office by myself. It feels selfish, but work has changed completely and I’m not okay with the transition to so much remote work. Everyone else loves it and I hate it. It’s incredibly lonely and isolating and it has sapped my motivation to work.
How do I communicate this without sounding like the person who wants to ruin everyone’s work-from-home fun? Or am I just stuck and have to accept it and maybe find a new job?
You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today. Head over there to read it.