Our off-season was bustling in a normally subdued winter with so many people working remotely from their homes out east. Formally summer homes are now year-round residences, leaving those that have temporarily relocated to decide about how permanent these choices will become.
Most fascinating about this social experiment is that our current way of life wasn’t a choice. This collective upheaval of life as we knew it is an experience that defines “all being in this together” while we attempt to thrive in a world of unknowns. Working from home was not easily accessible, encouraged and was more often stigmatized prior to 2020. Facetime in the office used to mean that you are taken seriously and that you are perceived to be dedicated to your role than if you work from home in your slippers. Even worse is the serious FOMO you may have experienced if everyone is at work and you are isolated at home doing your job from your kitchen.
Being home all day can be a challenge. Yet as we get closer to returning, we are understanding the benefits of remote work, and are feeling the fear of losing the opportunity to have a real balance of a life and a career without having to choose between the two.
Some of the benefits we observe include working whatever hours that are most productive, without being chained to a commute and strict schedule. “We have all become mini-entrepreneurs,” says one of our finance friends, having proved that work can in fact be accomplished out of the office. Another has decided to work out of an Airstream, and another to relocate to the Big Island of Hawaii, making sure to adjust to East Coast hours and meeting schedules.
Some may argue that working remotely has a negative impact on social connections with colleagues, and technology cannot fully replace face-to-face interactions. While true, other relationships are being strengthened by connecting with the family and friends missed while previously traveling or spending forty or more hours a week away from them. The bonus time to fortify relationships with loved ones has been an unexpected and welcomed by-product of having other freedoms temporarily restricted.
If you have ever imagined living somewhere else or having a different lifestyle, that time is now. “It feels like a version of early-retirement, where I am still working but also living the life, a life I thought I would have to wait many years for,” mentions one of our attorney friends. He has since moved to Southern California from the East Coast for an open-ended period of time. When else could you envision building a fire, going for a surf, having lunch with your family or walking your dog in the middle of a full workday? Without a lengthy commute, more hours are added back into your day, which you may need for all of the meals you are now cooking and that extra sleep you are probably enjoying. For so many restrictions and limitations on our lives, choosing how we work is one of the freedoms we never knew existed. The only limit is your imagination.