I admit I wasn’t very happy with the idea of working from home at first. I was already kind of isolated on more occasions than I’d like, since I don’t socialize much.

However, when The Commercial leaders announced we’d be shutting our doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew I’d have to get with the program and work remotely.

I was also concerned I might need a new home computer since mine was outdated and unreliable. Once the company addressed my obstacles, I was able to work from home.

At first, I missed being at the office. Now, it’s hard to believe that I’d rather be home most of the time.

Recently, I watched a webinar with leaders giving advice on how to balance the home/work life. While I couldn’t relate to some of it — having Zoom meetings while little kids or pets want your attention — I can relate to other issues.

One advisor said to make sure you keep a routine just as if you’re going to work. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, meditate, pray or do whatever you’d normally do as if you were going into the office, she said.

She even advised us to stay connected with loved ones and neighbors as well as to exercise, she said, while showing us a photo of herself on a morning jog. I don’t know about other people watching the webinar, but my first thought was I won’t be running unless someone is chasing me.

And, as far as getting dressed is concerned, she’s got a point. While it’s easy to sit around in your PJs, loungewear or moo moo, I do feel better if I have actual clothes on. It also helps if someone’s at your door and you don’t have to run and grab a robe before inviting them into the house.

There were many other helpful tips on the webinar, but there are also a few I could have added like don’t overspend at the grocery store. I may not be roaming about town very much, but I spend an unusual amount of time and money at the store.

At first, I did it to stock up on things I’d need while being home more. After all, I wasn’t going to be eating out very much. I bought everything from necessities like fruits and vegetables, meats and breakfast foods to things I didn’t really need, but wanted like my favorite chocolate candy, cookies and ice cream. Some days, I’d look at my grocery cart and find more junk than actual food.

It’s a good thing my nephew mistakenly thought I qualified for the senior citizen discount at the store where he worked because that saved me a lot. No, I didn’t ask for it. He just thought the clerk was forgetting to give the discount to seniors of a certain age and before I knew it, he’d done it. Later, I discovered that I’m a couple of years from being eligible for that particular discount and told him so that blessing could go to someone who really deserved it.

I know that being home is the safest place to be during the pandemic, but I do miss some things about being in an office atmosphere. I miss the chatter of co-workers talking about work-related challenges or even sharing their lives.

I miss hearing that someone has become a grandparent for the first time, getting married or earning that long-awaited degree. Some times the news wasn’t so pleasant. Sometimes it was about losing a loved one or facing job layoffs and at times like those, you mourn when others hurt.

Even before COVID-19 shut us down temporarily, there were things I missed about days gone by. I missed being in a building with about 100 employees and now it’s only a fraction of that. I recall working in the newsroom where it was so busy with everyone talking at the same time, phones ringing, readers stopping by to thank you for doing a story on their family project or to give you a piece of their mind if you didn’t support their political beliefs.

As the former city editor, I recall listening to the police scanner and deciding whether it was something to send a reporter to cover or wait to see if it was a false alarm. I even miss the little ole’ ladies who dropped by to bring their civic club write ups or church announcements, sometimes getting right up in your face, invading your personal space, to be sure you understood how they wanted it done.

At home, it’s quieter and I’m even better at concentrating without having to tune out all of the noise or the welcome interruptions.

— Sandra Hope is the editorial assistant and former city editor of The Commercial.