Like most of the UK, I’ve been working from home since March 2020. At first, like others I’m sure, it was the best thing ever. No more commute? No more dressing up just to sit behind a desk? I could deliver everything virtually or even better, pre-record and send it out afterwards? How dreamy. So that’s how it went for the first few months. Between meetings I baked banana bread, fed the sourdough baby, and did overenthusiastic workouts.
Fast forward to March 2021, I felt like I was having an existential crisis every other day. The first thing to note is that my job is not primarily desk based. I oversee different countries, particularly in South East Asia, and when I’m not there, I’m typically travelling around the UK. In a busy period, I could not see my office for a month. And I loved this, I loved the moving about, the constant variety of work and people. I went through periods of becoming super bored as I was missing a huge chunk of what my work actually was. And yes, whilst I’m still delivering the same talks and events virtually, there is a huge difference in participation, especially active participation that can make what seems like a great event very draining.
When the roadmap was announced, we started putting very tentative plans to return to face-to-face events, all dependent on the organisers. And slowly and steadily, they have been coming in. I have my first one in June and I am EXCITED. So, lets call that my ‘field office’. There are some nerves around this as the events are school-based and schools are busy, but from the initial feedback, there’s been lots of risk-assessments carried out and everything seems quite ready to go. And I’m very ready too.
So, let’s move onto my…office office? ‘Desk-based’ office we’ll say. Now I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve actually had a space to work over the past year. Having a spare bedroom has been a lifesaver to actually simulate some sort of office environment. I’m easily distracted at times, so if I had to work in a kitchen, living room, or shared space, I’d be getting nothing done. I need the office ‘vibes’ to work well to be honest and after a year of commuting from my room the spare room, I can feel my productivity waning at times. It could take me the best part of a day to muster up the enthusiasm to complete a super easy task and that just isn’t good for anyone.
I don’t have an official move back to the office date forever yet and it’s tricky as we all deliver online events, so we can’t all be there shouting over each other. However, it’s been a bit relaxed in the sense that if we need to go in, we can. So, I packed myself up last week and returned to the office, looking to stay for two weeks as I have a big week-long event and I need that reliable Wi-Fi. I didn’t think I’d miss my commute, but I did. It set me up for the day, woke me up, gave me that hour to myself and I’d missed that so much. I’ve tried to simulate a commute as much as I can at home, but I still start work half-asleep at times. Going into the office however, I was ready to go the moment I got in.
I’ve seen a huge upshoot in my productivity and I finished the week feeling exhausted but in such a better mindset. The office vibes for sure gave me that boost I need and I’m actually…excited(?) I think, to be able to go in next week too. Being in a work environment gives me such a good structure and I can’t wait for the day I return properly – both to the field office and the desk office.