Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: The future of business is remote

When this pandemic is over, will you want to leave your home office?

Even though the past few weeks have felt like months, you know it's going to come to an end. But will you want things to go back to how they were?

It's been a few weeks of change. The word unprecedented has been thrown around with, well, unprecedented fervor. Millions of people suddenly had to quit going to the office and scrabbled to find the gear to set up temporary work from home offices.

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But now that you have your home office space set up and kitted out the way you want, how will you feel about leaving it when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has subsided and things go back to "normal?"

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As someone who has been working from home for many decades, I find that I'm most productive in my home office, but for people who were suddenly uprooted from their office, the disconnection from friends and colleagues, office resources, and even simple things like lunch rituals has been difficult to deal.

On top of that, choosing to work from home is very different to having to work from home, and combined with everything else that's going on, I can understand how for some the situation might be tricky.

So, I asked a few people who had found themselves working from home how they felt about a return to normal.

Note: All names have been changed.

"I can't imagine having to go back to the office, to be honest with you," Jane told me. She had been working in an office of about a dozen people at a small accountancy firm before the pandemic and before being sent to work from home.

"I hated it at first," she said, "but there's been so much disruption that I feel like the working from home bit has been lost in the, well, everything else."

"I'm just glad that I'm at home safe and not on the frontline. Now that would be hard."

I got a very different response from John, who works as a web designer.

"I used to be very disciplined about not bringing work home with me, but now it's here, I fear that I'll never be able to put that genie back in the box and that the work-life balance won't go back to normal," he said.

"Coronavirus has been a big win for companies who want their staff to do more with less," he added.

Vikky works for a PR firm and had a rather pragmatic view of things.

"I'm just glad that I'm safe, my colleagues are safe, and that we still have a job."

When pressed on whether she wanted to give up her work from home space and go back to the office, her response echoed what I've heard from a few other people now working from home.

"I know it's only been a few weeks, but I think I've forgotten what the office looked like. I remember my colleagues, because I've seen them on my screen, but I can't remember what my office looked like. I'm a little scared about the idea of going back. It's strange how 'abnormal' has become the new normal."

How do you feel about leaving your work from home space when all this is over and going back to the office? Let me know in the comments below, or drop me a line on Twitter (my DMs are open).