Jonas Blizzard 2016

Wow, that was a blizzard!

I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical and made fun of people stripping the grocery stores bare last week. My skepticism vanished completely when I was going through my fridge on Sunday  afternoon thinking if we have enough food in case the stores won’t open next day.  I also have to say, I have never seen that much snow fallen down in one go. I lived in Ukraine with distinct four seasons and I lived in Finland with its three seasons: white winter, grey winter, summer (2 weeks, feel lucky if you are not sick during these 2 weeks). But what we saw this past weekend beat all the records for me. 36 inches of snow (almost 1 m) on our balcony, how about that? And boy I’ve been enjoying  this weather, January finally looking like January, winter finally being white as it should, ’cause I hate grey winters since my first year in Finland. 

All public transportation including both Washington airports and metro was shut, and today it’s slowly recovering, with most of the metro lines still closed and many flights still cancelled. Government, schools, a lot of retail and offices are still shut and the employees are asked to work from home, if possible.

(I just read the other day that if telecommuting is not possible, the employees have to take the snow days as vacation time, which I believe is outrageous.)

Me and telecommute have always had “It’s complicated” relationship. When I did not have this option, I was missing it, and when it was the only option I had I was longing to get out of the house and go see people who are wearing something else than stretch pants. I was very excited to know we’ll be all staying home because of the blizzard but this morning I felt my cabin fever was reaching the point when I’d rather deal with messy roads and parking lot turned into one huge snow pile than stay at home 5th day in a row. (Also seeing myself wearing make up and heels is not a bad view either).

These are my pros and cons of telecommute.

  1. You don’t need to dress up or wear make up if you work from home. Shower and brushed hair will suffice. Most of us ladies know how much precious time it takes us every morning to look the way the outer world is used to see us.
  2. You can be flexible. That’s the biggest perk if you ask me. I have a very short attention span and I am better off multitasking than doing one thing at a time. Let’s say yesterday I answered couple emails, talked to my Mom and baked raspberry macaroons all during just one hour. When you are in the office and don’t have much to do, don’t you wish you spent this time more productively? (Yeah, I know, I know, you can be reading articles on professional development.)
  3. You get a lot of your day back especially when you have a lengthy commute. I am lucky to spend just 30 minutes of my day commuting to and from work, so this perk is not too important for me. But if you like many Americans spend 2 hours daily in the car or on the subway, that’s a gain right there.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.

  1. You don’t get to dress up or wear make up if you work from home. Yes, I mean it. One day is nice. Two is ok. Three days in my home-worn outfit and I am going nuts. And I feel uncomfortable wearing office outfit when I am working from home, because I might jump into cooking or cleaning any time workload permits. Because, remember? telecommuting gives you flexibility:)
  2. “Oh lucky you, you work from home”. I cringe when I hear someone saying it to my husband. He does work from home indeed. Yes, it means he can go out for a cup of coffee in the middle of the day, sometimes. It also means he will reply to that email at 8pm. Or will have to pick up the call at 10pm (just like yesterday). Or will be waken up at 4:30 am by another phone (my favorite time of the day). Cause it’s been said many times that it’s difficult for people to put boundaries between their work and their offline life, when they work from home, and it’s even more difficult for their bosses or clients to respect these boundaries. Trust me, I know.
  3. You don’t get to socialize much. For some people it’s no big deal of course, they like to be let alone and just do their work. For social animals like me it’s very hard to be stuck in the house not interacting with people. Conference calls and IMs don’t cut it for me most of the times.

Do you prefer working in the office or working from home? Or both? Or none?:)

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