After over a year of working from home, ad agency video editor Aurelia Jiménez is unsure how she’ll be able to go back to online shopping in an office all day.
“Before the pandemic, I just accepted that five days a week I had to go into an office and online window shop off and on for eight hours,” Aurelia says. “I definitely didn’t always love it, but I didn’t think another way was possible.”
That perspective has drastically changed in the time since, and elements of office life Aurelia took for granted now feel deeply unnatural to her.
“I’ve realized that sitting on my couch at home, working for 30 minutes, then looking at linen duvet covers for 45 minutes just feels much more human,” she says. “Plus, being able to have seven Etsy tabs open at once without being at all covert or paranoid about it has been good for my body and mind.”
“I mean, I still feel guilty and anxious about doing it, but at least I know that’s because of internalized surveillance, not actual surveillance.”
And a lack of supervision isn’t the only quality Aurelia has grown accustomed to in lockdown.
“As a culture, we’ve normalized sitting in one chair secretly looking at Anthropologie sales for hours on end,” Aurelia says. “But that’s not normal! I can still online shop just as much while also taking breaks to walk around the block, put in some laundry, or make myself a real lunch. If anything, doing those things gives me the energy to online shop even more efficiently.”
The mold-breaking worker is certain she’s not alone in her unease at the thought of returning to an office, and she hopes the transition out of work-from-home will extend beyond a ‘return to normal’.
“Some changes need to be made,” Aurelia says. “I know we can find a healthy way for people to be at work seeking an amorphous and fleeting sense of fulfillment by buying items with the money they make from the unfulfilling job they’re at. And while wearing sweatpants!”
One can hope!