I'm happy to be back into office01 Feb 2024 - Tobias Erdle
During the last 5 years I was nearly 100% working from home, even before home office became wide spread during the covid pandemic. I worked in different spatial conditions like having my desk in the shared living room, working from a neighbours attic and using a workroom. Last year I realized, that this wasn't working out anymore, so I went to a company where I have an office nearby and home office is no option. I must really say: I'm very happy I made this step!
What were my challenges with home office?
One major challenge was the room situation and the resulting bad mood in the family. Over the years, I didn't have a workroom at times and had to work in the living room. This was naturally difficult for my wife and daughter, as they sometimes had to keep very quiet. And even after I had a own room for work, it also became more and more difficult every year to explain to my now two children that I didn't have time while I was working. Over time, the family situation became very strained, much to everyone's chagrin.
I also noticed negative changes on a personal level. I became increasingly lazy and unmotivated, even though I am a very disciplined person. There were days when I couldn't get out of the house because I had to put the children to bed and do the housework straight after work.
Last but not least, I realized that I was missing real interpersonal contact. Of course, you're more productive if you don't spend even 10 minutes having a coffee with your colleagues, but on the other hand, I think these contacts are important for building a bond with the team. My last remote team was based in Dortmund - all of them are really great people, but too far away for regular travel.
All in all, I realized that working from home was doing me and my family more harm than good and something had to be done.
What had to change to solve this problems?
My wife and I decided that I need to work in an office again. Since we had no plans to move to Dortmund, the only option was to quit there an search for a job in the immediate surroundings. For me, it was important that the commute time is less than 60 minutes per day, my earnings are the same and the work is kind of "specical". I had no ambition to work again as "Consultant" and do the same work from day to day. Fortunately, I found this job really fast and it is exactly what I expected.
What has changed since then?
I started my new job in september 2023 and since then a lot has changed. For my family it got easier to accept my working time since I'm not at home. Also they can live their lifes how they want because noone needs to be considerate for meetings etc. But the greatest changes I notice on a personal level. I'm more balanced since I need to go outside every day and I need to walk a lot more than before. Also I came into a great team that works on a bunch of really interesting and technically complex topics, so there is no real day-to-day business. And as a bonus, all other people around me are great too.
So as a conclusion, going back to office was the best I could do.
What is my opinion on home office now?
To be honest, I think home office is a great thing if it works out for someone. But I think it is important to write a few lines about being happy to be back in office since the opinion in the communities is the opposite.