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Chris Rutledge is one of many Washingtonians who moved to remote work last spring. He's now utilizing a closet in his home to create a small work atmosphere for himself.

Local residents adjust to working from home

Isabella Anderson Staff Reporter Jan 14, 2021

For some, working from home has been an easy shift that’s improved both work and home life.

Others though, have had a harder time.

Since COVID-19, working remotely has become a new norm. According to Stanford Economist Nicholas Bloom, 42 percent of jobs in the United States are completely remote.

That number is even higher in the Seattle area, where 48.7 percent of employed people are currently working from home, according to a survey done by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Jobs that have largely gone remote include online marketing, customer support, data entry, sales, coding, and education-related positions, according to Business Insider.

Highline is included in this group too, with nearly all of its staff and faculty currently working remotely.

Overall, many positions that can be transported to online settings and that incorporate computers more, have gone toward work-from-home.

Crystal Barraga’s work was amongst these.

Her switch to remote work as a middle and high school office assistant began in March, and was initially an exciting change.

“When I first found out I was going to work from home, I was excited to be at home more,” she said.

But her job soon became difficult to handle remotely.

“Working from home definitely made things a bit more stressful, because my work requires a lot of printing and data entry. I don’t have a printer at home and my laptop can only handle a certain amount of data,” Barraga said. “Makes it difficult to mix my school work on my computer with my actual job.”

And the lack of socialization has been another struggle. “There [are] a lot of things you can do at home to have fun, but nothing compares to human interaction,” she said.

Barraga said that the boundaries between her work and home life have also started to blur.

“I feel like with working from home, your work almost expects you to be available 24/7,” she said. “It’s stressful to be available all day for work, especially when you are home, where you typically rest after coming [home].”

However, there have been perks too.

“I can be with my cat more, and work can be flexible. I can do more around the house, and get a lot more personal things done,” Barraga said.

But for some, like Erika Korvola, working from home has been nothing but perks.

Korvola works as a donor contact representative for a nonprofit organization, and said that working from home has been a great change for her.

She also started working remotely in March, which was originally a temporary change.

“ We were sent home for an initial two weeks, and we’ve been home now for almost a year,” Korvola said.

Staying at home for work has only improved aspects of her life, she said.

“I prefer work at home,” Korvola said. “The benefits have been saving on gas, more sleep, better hours.”

These have left her feeling more rested and overall happier, Korvola said.

“I’m more relaxed, [I get] more sleep, I’m not worried about the traffic to home,” she said.

While her company’s settled on returning employees to their buildings this summer, Korvola said she’s not sure if that’s happening.

“We’re slated for a June return, but [I’m] not sure how that will work. I think many of us will remain at home,” she said.