Do I miss the office?

When the pandemic hit us back in March 2020 and we ditched the office for home, it felt strangely exciting. Worrying and uncertain, but a strange sense of adventure and the unknown.

To begin with, I was getting up early, going for a run, working from my makeshift bedroom office, and I felt I had a real grip on my routine. Slowly, however, things started to slip. Runs declined as I thought any excuse was a valid one. There is always tomorrow was my favourite excuse. Meetings bumped into each other, no gaps to breathe and think. Until some days were just one extended Teams call. Office hours ceased to exist. I was on calls as early as 7:30 am and as late as 7 pm, including so-called lunch breaks. Something had to change, and it was only up to me to make that change.

Adapting home to be more like the office

Here are a few things that I adopted into my day to help “make a change” and help me maintain a balance.

  1. Put together a more permanent desk, away from my bedroom, that said to me, “If I am in this room, I am focussed”.
  2. Set aside a work wardrobe, same as I had when I was visiting the office daily, just a way to put my mindset into work mode and, more importantly, out of work mode at the end of the day when I would change into my “comfies”.
  3. Blocked out a daily 1 ½ hours of my day where I wouldn’t book in meetings. This was across my lunch, so it gave me time to “do lunch” properly and get a break away from Teams in the middle of the day. I accept meetings during this time, but as I  block it out in my calendar, this is more the exception than the rule.
  4. Reduced any meeting that I booked. I now typically book meetings for 30 mins or 45 mins. The same outcome is still achieved from the meetings, but it causes the meeting to maintain more focus. Also, it stops meetings from being back-to-back.
  5. Ensure I go for a walk before work, just a simple 20 minute walk some days, but it gives me the same feeling that I got from driving to work and walking from the car park to the office. I’m awake, up and set off to battle the day.
  6. Drink water! This is obvious, but I do it less because going to the kitchen doesn’t involve any social interaction. So now I force myself to keep hydrated, even if the only social interaction as part of this journey is the cats meowing as a human is walking about, so it must be food time!
  7. When the weather is nice, I sit in the garden. I didn’t find it this good when the weather was scorching, but now it is lovely. The buzz of the outside world, neighbours pottering, birds tweeting, more cats meowing etc., gives me the same sense of buzz from the office.

New ways of working

Now all of that said, and although I have found ‘my’ new ways of working, I still love the days I get to go into the office. I love a brainstorm session; scrawling my terrible handwriting on a whiteboard (then trying to work out what it says afterwards), grabbing a coffee and natter with a colleague, obviously any office gossip (Disclaimer Adroit has no office gossip, of course, 😉).

Will we return to the office fulltime? “No”. Adroit are looking at hybrid ways of working. I think that is great because we all need those times when we want complete distraction-free focus. But I do see Adroit using the office as a central hub for discussion and thought. So I will certainly be making more use of the space, and I can’t wait to have clients in for meetings and workshop sessions.

Home or office?

For now – I have found out a lot about what motivates me, and it isn’t just coffee. I need colleagues, clients, teamwork, chatter, banter in a healthy mix to keep me motivated and mentally sharp. What about you? Are you thriving by being more remote, or like me, do you crave a bit more stimulus?

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