Remote working is alienating, or is it?


The Office

It’s 7 AM and your alarm is blaring. Groggily, you reach over to hit the snooze button, but the sound persists, dragging you out of bed. You peek outside and see it’s raining. Great, just what you needed on a Monday morning. You rush through a quick breakfast and hastily get dressed, knowing you have a long commute ahead.

The drive to the office is anything but pleasant. Traffic is horrendous, and what should be a 45-minute journey stretches to an hour. The rain doesn’t help either; it seems to slow everything down, including your patience. By the time you reach the office, you’re already exhausted.

The office environment is a cacophony of noise. Colleagues constantly interrupt you, whether it’s to ask a question or just to chat. The open-plan office means there’s no escape from the sound of people making calls right at their desks. Concentration is a rare commodity here.

Lunchtime arrives, and with it the dilemma of choosing between expensive restaurants nearby. The cost adds up, and so does your frustration. By the end of the day, you’re too drained to even think about going to the gym. This marks the third consecutive month without any significant physical activity.

As the day ends, it’s dark outside. The thought of cooking seems overwhelming, so you opt for a pricey and unhealthy delivery option. You collapse on the couch, mindlessly watching another low-quality TV show or scrolling through your Instagram feed, too tired to engage in anything more meaningful. Eventually, you drift off to sleep, feeling mentally and physically depleted.

The Home Office

It’s 7 AM and your alarm rings. Outside, it’s raining—one of those days where you’d rather stay inside. Thankfully, you work from home, and the relief of not having to venture out into the wet weather already makes you feel more energized.

With time to spare before starting work, you prepare a balanced breakfast and even get a head start on lunch. You indulge in some thoughtful reading, setting a positive tone for the day ahead.

Mornings are your most productive time. In the quiet of your home office, you dive into work, free from the usual office distractions. Emails and Slack messages come in, but the asynchronous nature of remote communication means there’s no rush to respond immediately, allowing you to maintain your focus.

Your meetings are well-organized, scheduled in advance, and free from unexpected interruptions. Lunchtime arrives, and despite the rain, you head to the nearby gym for a workout, a routine you’ve maintained for three years. You’ve never felt so fit.

In the evening, you have the energy to socialize with friends or immerse yourself in a good book without dozing off. By the time you head to bed, you’re ready to tackle another day, feeling balanced and fulfilled.

The Remote Office

It’s 7 AM and your alarm goes off, but this time, you’re greeted by the bright, sunny skies of the Canary Islands. No rain here—just perfect weather. You usually work out during lunchtime, but today you decide to take advantage of the cool morning air and the stunning rooftop view. Energized by the beautiful scenery, you complete your workout, feeling invigorated.

Breakfast is a breeze; it’s ready and waiting for you, a perk of staying in a coliving space. After a quick shower, you’re ready to start the day.

Work flows smoothly. The calm environment enhances your focus, and lunchtime provides another chance to bask in the pleasant weather. After work, the beach beckons. You spend the evening by the water, enjoying the serene seascape and the sunset.

Dinner is a social affair, shared with friends. As the day winds down, you reflect on how different this remote working experience is compared to the typical office grind. You go to bed, content and looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Which Scenario Do You Prefer?

Reflecting on my personal experience, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various settings, from the traditional office environment to the comfort of my home office and even the allure of a remote office in Tenerife.

Having transitioned from daily office commutes to embracing fully remote work, I’ve come to appreciate the unparalleled flexibility and freedom it offers. The ability to curate my workspace, whether it’s the familiarity of home, the collaborative energy of a coworking space, or the tranquility of a remote location, has been transformative.

However, as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, discussions around returning to the office have resurfaced. While some companies are mandating a return to the traditional office, the rationale behind this decision remains unclear. It begs the question: should the decision to return to the office be dictated by employers, or should it be left to the individual’s discretion?

In my view, the answer lies in fostering a culture of trust and flexibility. Companies should empower their employees to thrive in any setting, ultimately leading to greater productivity and satisfaction.

In conclusion, it’s essential to recognize that preferences vary from person to person. While some may thrive in a bustling office environment, others may find solace in the quietude of remote work. Rather than imposing rigid mandates, companies should prioritize individual autonomy and well-being, allowing each employee to determine their ideal work setup.