Having worked from home as a technical writer for many years, there are definitely a lot of things I don’t miss about going into the office, like commuting, listening to other people chew their lunch, and wearing work pants every day. Working remotely at home allows me to focus on my job, be flexible in my work style, and spend more time with my cats. There are some things I miss about actually going into work, however, like the camaraderie with my coworkers, having people across the hall to share ideas with, and never knowing if my lunch will be stolen from the refrigerator. (Tip: Adopt a vegetarian diet. Tofu dogs and lentil balls almost never wander off via co-workers.)
I also miss holiday celebrations in the office. Regardless of how you feel about gift exchanges or decorations in the break room, a holiday party is a nice opportunity to engage with the people you spend time with every day and see who overindulges at an open bar. For the remote worker, calling into a party isn’t much fun, so I’ve tried to bring the spirit of office celebrations to my home office by doing something special on special days throughout the year. If you work at home but still want to get in on the holiday events, you can do it, too!
I started the celebrations with New Year’s Day, which was a holiday for everybody in the office, so I pulled a switch-‘em-up by getting out of bed early, taking a shower, eating breakfast, and putting on work clothes. Do people really do that every day? Then I sat in traffic for an hour and angrily listened to talk radio. I really bonded with my commuting coworkers on that one.
For St. Patrick’s Day, I celebrated with a few mugs of Irish coffee. For breakfast. When I woke up around noon with my head on the keyboard, my face looked like I was celebrating National Waffle Day (which is on August 24, so I was a bit early). As you might imagine, National Napping Day is a big hit in this office—though I work late to make up the time.
Bike to Work Day seemed like a good idea, but it ended with a crash when I went over the handlebars in the kitchen. For Record Store Day, I gave some of my classic vinyl a spin. The cats seemed to enjoy Pink Floyd, but they were a bit put off by my selection of Scandinavian death metal. You can’t please everybody, I guess.
In August, I celebrated I Wish I Had Better Air Conditioning Day. Is that a holiday? It is when you work remotely and have to pay your own electric bill. See, office-bound coworkers: I complain about the temperature in my office, too. Quit complaining and put on a sweater, Bob!
I especially enjoy celebrating Halloween. I can sit at my desk eating candy like there’s no tomorrow, and the cats love the little costumes I make for them. As a bonus, I get to practice my self-first aid skills on the many cuts and bite marks they leave while getting into the spirit of the holiday. It’s spooky how hard it is to clean blood out of a laptop!
Thanksgiving is always a big celebration, so I gave thanks for all the money I saved on gas by not commuting to the office and also for having two days off. Of course, the cats have every day off, but they’re happy when I sit on the couch during the day instead of in my office, so they left a dead mouse out as an offering to Bastet the cat goddess. Or for me. It’s hard to tell.
Of course, as the holidays rolled around, I celebrated by stringing up some festive lights, listening to only holiday songs all day at work, and then abandoning that idea within the first 20 minutes when I had already heard Michael Bublé three times. Since the gang at the office were having a party, I put on an ugly sweater, ingested an excessive amount of food and sweets, and then fell into a non-productive food coma for the afternoon. It was just like being there with them!
So, as you see, rather than getting all FOMO, as the kids probably don’t say, the remote worker can roll through the year with fun and frivolity while also not wasting money on new clothes, bus passes, or deodorant. Give it a try!
Also, maybe give me a call. It’s entirely possible that I’m spending too much time with my cats.