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?

Startup Management Shuffle: 5 Ways to Survive

Management Shuffle Got You Down?

Management Shuffle Got You Down?

You just started working at a startup and you’ve already been through two CEOs, a rebranding, and three office changes. Things move fast at a startup! Maybe you already read about issues that can face startups, so you know at a high level, what the possible issues are. What can you do to survive those changes?

Hallway Talks

People won’t often commit to telling the truth online on social media or on email. The best way to get the scoop is to ask in the hallway or to grab a quick coffee. Once you ask someone face to face, you’ll have a better sense of what really happened, and be better prepared. You’ll also know who can be trusted to tell you the truth, since even small companies can be rife with politics.

Make an Organizational Chart

Chances are, if you don’t know what happened, someone else doesn’t know, either. So try making an org chart. Even if it’s just for you, it can give you a clear idea of the company hierarchy. Share it with others, and ask for their changes and clarifications. People love sharing their knowledge. I’ve found that people don’t mean to be confusing, but sometimes in their hurry to get things done, they don’t think about how their actions will affect others.

Be the One to Organize

Again, if you’re confused, others are, too. Show initiative and organize, take notes, and call for meetings to clarify what’s happening. Your language can say “I’m assuming…” so that others know that you don’t really have all the answers.

Take Notes

Hallway Talks Can Help Unravel Management Changes

Hallway Talks Can Help Unravel Management Changes

Make sure to date everything, so that later you can go back and unravel events if you need to. Meeting notes can remind you and others of what happened when and with whom. Who took that action item? Who promised to fix that bug in the software? Where’s the name of that consultant again? Put it in the notes, and create a folder of notes that everyone can access. I like to send notes to the whole team and ask them to read and make corrections.

Call for Meetings

A meeting can be just two people having coffee, or the entire team giving an update. If you set an agenda, people usually appreciate that. They may want to change it, so don’t be too attached to it.

Other Issues

There are obviously tons of other issues, but for now I’m going to get in my clown car and buzz off. Another post will follow.

What Helps You?

Have you gone through management changes at your startup? How did that feel and how did you deal with it?



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