As the world of business emerges from two years of what has seemed like constant disruption and confusion, it is a bigger concern in 2022 whether you work in an office or in your home than it has been anytime in the past. Pre-COVID, lots of people were already working remotely, especially in the sales and account management areas. And frankly, many employees envied that flexibility. The appeal of a one-minute ‘commute’ – where you wake up, grab your cup of coffee and walk into your home office, in your pajamas, no less – has always been there for many workers.

During COVID, this became reality for most employees. Companies were cautious – some said too cautious – making decisions around when to return to the office. Some of the delay was due to governmental regulations, but the main concern was how COVID would affect others in the workplace. Traveling for business was at a complete stop. With children’s schools closed and no daycare available, it only made sense for most employees to work from home.

Home Office or Office-Office? As with most either/or choices, there are plusses and minuses to each way of getting my work done. What do I appreciate about working at home? To start, I am as productive from home as I am from the office. Being at home, I start my day earlier (no traffic), I take a short lunch and I tend to work later. Being in comfy clothes and flip flops at home makes life simpler. I have always had Internet access, a home office with a desk and dual computer screens, the same setup I have in the office. One thing I’ve never had in an office-office is a window. Being able to open the one in my home office and have fresh air while I am working is a wonderful treat. My work, I believe, is more creative and accurate since the distractions (well, most of them) are not there.

Why do I miss the office? I love people and being creative and brainstorming. Not being around people – coworkers, mentors and, yes, maybe even the boss – means I’m not having the conversations that allow me to think differently as well as grow. These are important. Understanding the company’s goals, objectives and culture are key pieces of being a part of the team. Not to mention the opportunity to meet with your vendors and/or customers, and build those relationships. Having structure in my work life is important, and one that I miss when I’m working at home all the time.

Of course, now that many COVID restrictions are being lifted, home versus office is not so much an either/or any more. Being able to choose to work from either place is a blessing. Working on group projects might mean I’m required to come into the office sometimes. Seeing coworkers and suppliers in person is a treat and a glimpse of pre-COVID times. I believe most people in the travel industry enjoy working face to face. We really like to attend events and we love to travel. The virtual happy hour with suppliers was a great idea in its time, but nothing beats sitting with someone that shares the same common goals.

Whether you are in your office-office or still taking care of business from your home office, we are all working towards a better 2022 and beyond. I can say with confidence that we all want travel to return, especially corporate travel. Our industry has been through more than its share of setbacks, changes, and slowdowns the last several years, but it is resilient and ever-changing, and that is a good thing. I, for one, am thankful to be able to work in the travel industry – regardless of where I’m working from.