Office workers work in offices, for better or for worse.
I noticed the shoes first. That I was wearing them. Real shoes, the leather kind, with laces. After a year and a half, I was finally returning to the office, and that meant giving up the puffer slippers and slides that had sustained me for so long. Real shoes, I quickly remembered, are terrible. Likewise pants. Likewise getting to work, and being at work. Whew.
That was summer 2021. I’ve since acclimated to the office once again: I don the uniform; I make the commute; I pour the coffee; I do my job; and then I go back home. There are costs to this arrangement, clearly. I lose some time—time I could spend working!—transporting myself, in shoes and pants, from one building to another. I miss the chance to finish household tasks between my meetings, or fix myself a healthy and affordable lunch. As a university professor and administrator, I have more flexibility than most professionals, and I’m not required to go in each and every day. But even so, I have less control over each hour of my life than I used to—a fact that could very well be making me less productive overall. Indeed, it’s possible, or even likely, that my employer—and yours—could help their workers and the bottom line, simply by allowing us to work from home or come in on a hybrid plan. Remote, flexible employment might be a win for everyone.