If you thought the pandemic was all bad …

It’s been a year since the pandemic shuttered schools and restaurants. A year since we began hanging an extra face mask or two on our rearview mirrors, a year since we discovered backdrops in Zoom and thought: At least we can pretend we’re in Costa Rica.  

Stressful hardly describes it all. But many of us who are able to work from home rank that opportunity at the top of the daily gratitude list we’re supposed to be keeping, that list intended to nudge us toward a tad more optimism every day.  

If you are working from home, here are a few perks you may not have realized:


Even if you’re not using a Zoom backdrop to cover up the laundry pile, scatter of books, mail and Lego cities around you, only one small sliver of your home needs to be in somewhat order. 


Home improvement can’t help but stay at the top of your agenda. Now more than ever, there are opportunities to notice the white-turned-gray linoleum on the bathroom floor and ponder: How hard could it be to tile this myself?


With so many more opportunities to open and close your refrigerator, it is far easier to stay attuned to any smells that develop, seek out the source, and dump what is, invariably, the black beans.


If you find yourself more often waking up and staying awake somewhere in the ballpark of 2:43 a.m., at least when your alarm sounds, you have the luxury of not needing to change out of your pajamas and simply pulling a turtleneck on, just before clicking into Zoom. Your top is all that matters.


Now is a great time to test which deodorants without aluminum actually work, or if you really need deodorant. The summer is not. When you’re around coworkers in conference rooms or cubicles or driving with a friend or partner you plan to keep, it is not. But now, in the freedom of your home, you can glide on the various types of aluminum-free deodorants or wear none at all and see for yourself if it is still possible to be nearby people. 


Had you not been home all day, you may not have noticed the scritch scratch sounds coming from the ceiling of mice hosting happy hour in the attic. They had been doing that while you were in the office, but you never knew.


Working from home eliminates the need to put laundry away. You can simply take the stack of folded clothes atop your dresser and go through it as you need things, avoiding the dig into the clothes drawers for, say, a different shirt. Make a schedule: Orange shirt with blue stripe on Mondays; solid black shirt, Tuesdays; kelly green long-sleeved shirt with slight bleach stain easily concealed with a cardigan sweater, on Wednesdays; and so on …


When pandemic slogans like “We are All in this Together” mean that your house/office/gym is now crammed with your spouse, mother-in-law, eldest child searching for work, younger ones scouring their iPads, cats seeking attention—you are reminded that at least you have a home with a whole lot more heat than usual, even if it is body heat.

(Written by Alayna DeMartini, a CFAES writer who is still in the throes of the "deodorant experiment" and is trying to make the gratitude list a daily habit.)