Eight Things I Miss About Working in an Office (and Their Replacements)

Eight Things I Miss About Working in an Office

Eight Things I Miss About Working in an Office

Maybe you love working in an office. The long commute, the jostling with fellow worker bees in the elevators, and the lunches at your desk all contribute to your feeling of being a productive and upstanding citizen. There are so many things about working in an office that are fabulously fun, aren’t there? But since you’re working from home, like the other 10 gajillion people in the U.S. of A, here are some things you can replace those missing items with. And if working from home makes you feel distracted, here are some tips for time management for baby boomers (but they could apply to anyone). By the way, thank you to my blogging buddy Bridget Willard for this topic idea.

Ye Olde Water Cooler

The water cooler is a place to vent, to hear a quick joke, and to see who’s wearing what. You might get lonely if you don’t have something to replace your water cooler. For me, I’ve used Facebook secret groups as a place to connect with fellow social media managers. Gather a few of your friends there and you can leave your Facebook open and run back to the water cooler whenever you like. Or, if you get too distracted while answering email, close it for awhile.

The Commute

A few of the people I know put on clothes–remember those?–and drive a few blocks and come back home. Others like to have an office outside in the yard so they can take their coffee outside. Even the few steps to cross the yard and get to the “office,” helps set the business tone for the day. I like to go outside, have breakfast when the weather is nice, and come back inside and work. Even a few minutes is pretty nice.

Long Lunches

Homemade Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Homemade Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For me, having lunch is more about the quality of the food. So I buy really good bread, salami, cheese, etc., and make my own. Having the best ingredients is pretty satisfying. Here is a real toasted cheese sandwich (my boyfriend made for me).


Since I’m on social media a lot, I like Google Hangouts (these can be private or public). You can see your friends, and sometimes their kids, spouses, or pets walk through. You can also send notes or links, put on funny hats and mustaches, take photos of your friends for blackmail purposes, and more.

Brainstorm Meetings

A tweetchat is a way to set a topic and hear from a lot of different folks. You can set the topic and the questions, and everybody goes crazy chatting. It’s usually for a limited time, and is different than a Facebook group. It’s a terrific way to get a lot of ideas in a short amount of time.

The Elevators

I don’t really miss elevators, but I really miss the elevator music! Not really. Having white noise (Relax Melodies is my favorite) helps me stay focused on my work. Some people can work with loud music, but for me that’s not possible.

The IT Department

Having someone come by when you call them to fix your computer, check your connections, or repair the phone system is valuable. So you’ll need someone to make sure your system is running smoothly. And did I mention it’s a lot easier to find someone before you need them?


Sometimes having structure enforced upon you can make you feel secure. I don’t know. I really like to set my own hours. If I want to take a long break in the middle of the day, go to the gym, or for a walk, the work is still there. As long as it gets done, you can generally do most chores any time, especially since some things can be scheduled ahead of time.

Do You Miss Working in An Office?

Why? Is that a constant feeling? Or just something that bothers you every once in a while?


  1. I’m so glad you wrote this post because I know a lot of stay-at-home moms go through withdrawals, too.

    If I worked at home, I would need an office. I get too distracted by the chores.

    But a lot of time can be saved by skipping a commute (mine is 30-60 minutes each way).

    Nice job.

    • Hi Bridget,
      My office is away from the chores, but I work long hours, usually, so doing chores is ok by me, especially if I can start the laundry while working. That way by the end of the day, I’ve got clean laundry.
      I didn’t think too much about stay-at-home moms, but you’re right. They might go through withdrawals or need more interaction.
      Thanks for the idea for the post and for commenting, too!
      Much appreciation to you!

  2. I don’t miss the commute (100 miles round-trip per day), but I do miss the unwind time that comes with a drive like that. I miss companionship, but not the interuptions. I never had an IT department (worked for non-profit) so that really hasn’t changed – lol, and I totally agree with the real benefit of being able to set your own schedule/structure. This often means you are working evenings and weekends, but I’ve found real joy in being able to “clock out” to go for a walk, run personal errands or simply veg-out when my work obligations are done for the day.

    This speaks to so many of us who work from home! Thank you!

    • Hi Tess,
      Wow! That is some commute (100 miles), and I hear you on the unwind time. We all need some of that. I know I spend too much time “in my head,” and need to get more “into my body,” if that makes any sense.
      I like your comment about finding joy. That’s a great way of putting it.

  3. Great post Carol and I love the accompanying photo. I think having to be social in an office environment is a good thing for us introverts. People you interact with during the day tune our (in person) social skills. I go to one of several local wifi spots where I can get social if I want. I love having my pets with me all day and taking a break (hike) with them for inspiration. Thanks for sharing this because it truly makes me appreciate my home office.

  4. Thank you, Patricia about the photo. Yep, introverts do well in small offices, as opposed to the large, open offices that have become so commonplace. Cafes can be social spots as well, some more than others. At some cafes, I feel like I’m in a library, they’re so quiet! My kitty likes to sleep on my desk (and walk across the keyboard occasionally). Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hi Carol,

    Personally I have never worked in any office yet but still in my opinion there are many crazy things which can be done while working in an office.:)

    As you have mentioned above having lunch and more are great stuff to do. When people work in an office coffee has it’s special place. It’s good to relieve stress.
    I would like to hangout with office employee in lunch time. making connections is a must to do thing if you want to be happy.

    Great things to do.:)
    Enjoy your weekend.


    • Hi Ravi,
      You’re right about the camaraderie that comes from being with others in an office, such as coffee and lunch. Many close friendships are born in an office. Regular business networking can replace some of that socializing. Thanks for dropping in and commenting!

  6. Hi Carol
    I never missed the office per say , until SOM got in the mix …. sometimes I feel like I lost structure. Maybe I need to take a class in social media , or a lecture. I don’t think SOM should be perfect , it should be spontaneous and real … Sometimes I feel I try to hard.

  7. Hi Natalie,
    I know people who get dressed, get in their car, and then turn around and drive back home so they can feel like they’re “going to work.” There is something about the ritual of going to work that is soothing. It’s a habit that we can repeat day in and day out. Without structure, our lives could feel like we’re just floating through the days. Not knowing what to do when can be tough. That’s one reason writing is so important for me every day. Making my own schedule has helped enormously.
    Thank you for commenting.

  8. Hi Carol
    Your Welcome & Thanks for your response , I am late to the party , but your response really resonated with me today .
    enjoy the weekend !


    • Hi Natalie,
      By “late to the party,” do you mean the Pinterest party? Thank you for your kind comments. And I hope you enjoyed your weekend as much as I enjoyed mine!



  1. […] I’d read tips from others like Carol Stephen and I’ve heard people talk about remote work and joke about not wearing […]

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