Only 1 day in the office this week because of the Easter holiday. The reality of having two spaces to work in has hit home. A book I need is on my desk at home, so this is a reminder I need to be very well organised, a pressure that is absent when working from home the whole time.
Do not underestimate the shock of the commute – more people and lots more decisions than walking downstairs to your dining room requires. It is taking me just under an hour to settle from arriving at my desk to working productively at the moment. I really hope to get that down to a shorter time but for now, just accepting that my brain is processing more stimuli in one morning getting to the office than in a month of home working is OK.
One thing I question as more of us start to return to some kind of office routine, even for a few days a week is the concept of bringing my whole self to work. During April through to about June last year, I remember the embarrassment some people had about showing their home as their background. Others were worried about family members interrupting them. I remember our kindness to one another, accepting that in the immediate crisis, not everything would run smoothly. Over time, this has settled into a pattern of acceptance, which I enjoy. It makes me feel more human.
However, I have started to wonder whether I am going to maintain my understanding and patience of others circumstances? And are people going to maintain it with me? During the lockdowns we have had interruptions from the dog, babies, people at the door and we have accepted this as the new norm. But are we as understanding when we are in an office environment? Are we ready to get used to people talking to us with masks on if they are in the office?
My answer is to remind myself on office days that I might be in a more professional office today, but tomorrow I will be back at home trying to stop the dog interrupting my meeting. Has made me think that there needs to be a sub-set of virtual leadership skills called kindness that has to be debated by every team to set its own boundaries of acceptable working.