Last week I went back into our office for the first time in over a year. Not only was it a bit odd being back in the office, but we also have a new office which made things even more interesting.
Since I was going in, I had to get up early and then face morning traffic. It was pretty smooth overall, but still, the commute is long.
Once I got to the office, I found a nice parking spot in the shade, but then realized I wasn’t sure which door to go in. Since it’s an office complex, there are a few choices. I just picked one and it worked out. Since it’s an office building, it just went into a common area and I found our new office in no time.
Then I had to find my desk. A new office means a new desk. To help us find our desk, they gave us a map, however, when you don’t know where anything is, the map doesn’t help too much. The good news though was that they put names on the desk and I was able to find it. It was right next to a window and the view is pretty nice. I’ve always wanted a desk by the window and I am very happy with this spot.
Sat down and started to get my desk set up when I realized I didn’t bring my laptop’s power block with me. And, of course, my laptop was nearly dead. To make it better, I was in early and there was no one else in the office. I then went hunting for one I could borrow from someone else desk until Tech Support came in. I found one and, lucky for me, the employee whom I borrowed one from wasn’t in that day anyway.
Overall, off to a good start. I wandered around a little, but mainly to the kitchen looking for breakfast or snacks. Unfortunately, they haven’t stocked anything yet since the office just opened and there were not a lot of people coming in every day. So I just started working.
After a few hours, and many meetings, I had a small window of time to run to the restroom before my next meeting. Turns out, I had no clue where they were either. So I wandered around until I came across some. Things like the bathrooms are the little things you don’t think about until you need them.
I also had someone schedule a meeting in a conference room. Again, no idea where it was, but I followed someone else this time and they knew where they were going.
We had some technical issues with the conference rooms and it really makes you appreciate having everyone virtual. Even when the technology is working right in the conference rooms, eye contact and sound is better when everyone has their own screen and mic. Either everyone should be in the same room or all virtual. A mix of both typically leaves someone feeling left out.
Once I hit the end of my day I realized I didn’t remember what door I came in so, once again, I just picked one. It didn’t go where I wanted but found my way out and back to my car.
Then traffic once again. It wasn’t terrible, but still.
I have to say, going into the office has its perks. The new office is nice, the view is good, interacting with others feels good, and it’s nice to get away from home every now and then. The biggest downside is the commute. Due to the commute, I worked fewer hours and didn’t get to have breakfast and lunch with my family. I also don’t get my morning walk, but we do have treadmill desks we can use.
Most of my interesting situations were due to the office being new which will get ironed out in no time, but still, I don’t see myself going in 5 days a week if I don’t have to. Maybe a day or two is doable, but working from home is actually a lot nicer than I used to think it’d be. Plus I’m more productive.
I don’t see going back into the office as returning to normal. We can’t, and shouldn’t, just go back to the way things were. Embrace working from home and be flexible with people’s time. Not everyone lives close to the office, not everyone wants to be social every day, and some are much more productive in isolation. Focus less on being in the office and more on getting things done. It’ll be better for your employees and your company.
Ohh, and as a bonus, two days after I went into the office, I found my car keys still in the ignition. Seems that I left them there once I got home from work and didn’t even realize they were missing. Good thing I have a garage!