Life After Remote Work

Advice from 10 professionals on what they wish they’d known about going back to an office

Anna Goldfarb
Forge
Published in
6 min readJan 2, 2019

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

When you’ve gotten used to working from home, office life can be a shock to the system. Gone are the days of shuffling to your desk in pajamas and taking work calls in underwear. Instead of knocking out loads of laundry and walking the dog in between emails, you’re now slogging through a stressful commute (and spending way too much cash on coffee and lunch).

Of course, there are upsides. What you lose in freedom — setting your schedule, running midday errands, keeping the thermostat set to your preferred temperature — you might be gaining in financial security. And while you’ll have to deal with annoying co-workers and thorny office politics, there’s something to be said for the collaborative environment that an office can provide. In fact, researchers have found that a face-to-face request can be as effective as sending 34 email requests, meaning you might be more productive now that you can pop over to a co-worker’s desk and ask in person for whatever you need.

Whether or not the trade-off is worth it, though, depends on the person who’s making it. Here, professionals from across the country share what they wish they’d known about going back to an office after working from home — the pain points, the perks, the strategies they used to acclimate to their new routines.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

You might need a new wardrobe…

“This is going to sound stupid, but I wish I’d consulted with a stylist and gotten a look together that I could pull off on a regular basis. Working from home, I really lose all sense of what people wear, even in a casual setting. My idea of office attire is 20 years out of date, and 20 years too young for me.”

— Marta Segal Block, 49, communications director for a nonprofit in the Chicago area

… or at least a sweater.

“Not being in charge of the temperature was a big change. When I worked from home, I sat right next to a space heater. In the office, although I am sure that it’s a perfectly normal temperature, I struggled. I brought a blanket and a sweater…

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Anna Goldfarb
Forge
Writer for

Writes about relationships and pop psychology for The New York Times, Vice, and more. Author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through.” Lives in Philly.