In our changing work world, a recent survey found more than half of companies plan to shrink their office footprint in favor of work from home as a residual effect of the pandemic.
While many favor the seismic shift more than eight months into the unprecedented global experiment, it is taking an emotional toll on others, like Sabrina Messmer.
Pouring herself a cup of fresh brewed coffee in her Manhattan apartment is part of Messmer's new normal.
"Honestly, this is probably the best part of my morning,” Messmer told NY1.
These days it's how she usually starts her work day — that, and a very short commute to work, walking from her bedroom to the living room couch where her computer is set up.
Mesmer is an account executive at a Manhattan flooring company. She's been working from home since the pandemic forced the shutdown of the company’s Midtown showroom.
We first caught up with her more than a month ago to see what the work-from-home experience has been like.
"I mean, it's been very challenging. I'm an extrovert to begin with, so I really enjoy and get happy and feel successful when I'm working with people in person. I just feel really, somewhat worthless and it's hard to have a positive mindset,” Mesmer explained.
She's not alone. According to a recent survey from Monster, two-thirds of people are experiencing burnout while working from home, up almost 20% from a similar survey in May. Many are anxious about losing their jobs.
But despite the burnout, the majority of people — 59% — are taking less time off from work than they normally would. Many aren't planning to take time off at all.
Still, radical changes in the way many of us work and live are here to stay. The majority of people are on board with the idea of remote work.
That's according to Ted Rossman from CreditCards.com, who says that's despite the average person spending $108 more a month working from home on things like utilities and food, even after taking into account transportation and child care.
"I think people are finding that the ability to skip the commute, now sleep a little bit later, have more time with your kids, people are finding that it's enjoyable and productive,” Rossman said.
More than half, 53% to be precise, of larger organizations plan to shrink their offices, making working from home a regular fixture even after the pandemic ends, according to a recent report from Cisco Systems.
More than three-quarters will increase work flexibility due to employee demands. A whopping 90% of employees surveyed say they won't return to the office full time again, ever.
Another survey from online search firm FlexJobs finds people working remotely report being more productive.
FlexJobs Career Development Manager Brie Reynolds says its a trend that's here to stay and companies need to get on board.
"I think for sure companies and hiring firms are going to want to create remote work programs that they can actually use to attract people and help them get the best talent,” Reynolds said.
Despite the apparent broad support for working from home, a month after I first met her, Messmer said the new normal comes at a price. She showed a range of emotions when I reminded her of a picture of herself at work she first sent me.
"I miss being in the showroom and having clients in,” Messmer said. The great work-from-home experiment clearly is having repercussions on her psyche. “It's a pretty extreme toll. Not just for my sanity but for my self worth. It's been really tough."
As COVID-19 cases in the city continue to tick higher, it looks unlikely her current commute to work is going to change any time soon.