I went back into an office yesterday!
Before COVID-19 happened, the plan was to transition into a new office in April. A big, beautiful building was slowly being outfitted with standing desks, wall murals, hundreds of TVs and monitors, a full-service kitchen, teched-out conference rooms, and a garage door that opened to the outside, a patio, and a view of the Flatirons.
While our plans to move were put on hold, and we were asked to work from home for the foreseeable future, construction continued, and every so often we received progress pictures of the new space.
I have gotten into a pretty good work from home routine and really embraced the remote work lifestyle as well as the same-ness that’s a product of that routine, but when I had yesterday’s move-in date on the calendar—a calendar filled with cancelled and postponed plans—it felt nice to look forward to something again. Those shared photos of the new space felt like a little light shining from the end of this tunnel—a peek at the normalcy that feels so foreign these days.
So yesterday I went into the office for my first day. Our teams are all staggered throughout the week for safety. When I walked into the lobby, a co-worker welcomed me in, showed me to a machine that took my temperature (97.7* to be exact), and then showed me around. We are required to wear masks, so our conversations felt more like muffled shouts at each other as we weaved our way through the building.
The more I walked around, the more impressed I was with the space and how grateful I was to be offered a fresh start of sorts—and also to just still have a job. The transition process was so great, too, because all of our belongings were moved for us, our seats were assigned, and brand-new monitors still wrapped in protective plastic were ready and waiting to be booted up. When I made it to my desk, I couldn’t wait to OCD the hell out of my new space, organize my pens in a mug next to my monitors, and tack pictures up on my pin board. What I really loved the most, though, were the floor to ceiling windows lining every wall. Colorado sunshine poured in all day long, which did wonders for my mood, alertness and productivity. For some reason, I work better and feel more creative when I can look up and stare out into the sky or at the trees every so often. Is that just a writer thing?
Another thing I did was set up my Aramark account. We have full-service kitchen with chefs who prepare made-to-order breakfast and lunch as well as grab-and-go items, and there is an option on the website to save credit card information for easy online ordering to pick up when the food is ready. I saved my info for those days I forget my wallet or lunch at home, which I know will happen a lot.
^^^ First time blowdrying and curling my hair in 10 weeks. (And wearing jeans.)
Yesterday was also the first time I saw a couple of my teammates in over two months. We were all masked and pretty far apart, but it was nice to see their faces and catch up in real life instead of a video call. They had been there for a couple days already so they showed me around and we all sat outside on the patio during lunch to catch up. Those are the moments I really missed.
While I’m happy for a brick and mortar location, I read that other companies, Twitter in particular, are realizing that they don’t need physical offices for employees to be successful and for business to continue running smoothly. I am interested to see how that plays out long-term. Could you imagine starting a new job and never meeting anyone from your team in person? That would be very difficult for me, I think.
Facebook and Google are also allowing their employees to work remotely for the rest of the year, which I think is very generous. We are in this larger crisis together, but everyone has their own family and personal life to deal with, too, and I think these tech companies are allowing their employees the space to juggle those aspects of life with their job in a way that is most comfortable and convenient for them. *Claps.*
Anyway, that was a tangent. But I guess what I’m saying is I had a good day yesterday, and jumping back into office life wasn’t as scary or draining as I expected it to be.
Did you work in an office all day before COVID-19? If so, when do you plan on returning?