I went back to the office today. It was the first time in months. There was me, and about four others on my side of the building. About five out of 50-60 seats.
Every meeting room was full, a single person in each, all in Microsoft Team meetings with online colleagues working from home.
I admit, I didn’t want to go into the office, but our company insists that we have to go in now for two days every week. One day is a team day, where the whole team is to come in. Only a third of the team turned up. No one wants to come into the office yet.
I got to use my big Mac screen (beautiful resolution on that) which is about the only advantage of the day. Oh, and it was lovely and quiet. I was less happy about the commute, however, as the traffic was horrendous.
There are so many bad things to come out of the pandemic today I want to talk about some of the good things. It in no way negates the bad things. I suppose I’m looking here for the silver linings.
Working from home
No commute. Heavenly, not to mention a comfortable workplace. Pre-pandemic I had been hesitant about working full-time from home because I know from writing that it can be solitary and isolating. Sure, it’s nice to talk to people face-to-face, but there are ways to communicate and work well together even remotely.
There were bad things, too, like the fact that I worked far longer hours, and the house got far messier, but let’s not talk about that.
It reminded me how important location of the workplace was.
I don’t work in the central business district (CBD)—most big companies in Australia have offices in the CBD—I work half-way between the city and my home suburb. When I initially applied for the job office location wasn’t at all important to me but if I was going for a job now, it would be. I want to work close to my home. Now I have discovered that at home is even better still.
Enough said. I’ve spoken about this before. I’m not the only one, apparently. It seems to be a thing we all did. Less spending.
Being able to give most of my phone usage to charity
When I’m commuting, I’m online all the time. My mobile phone has a big data plan. Our phone plan allows you to donate data to a charity, and the charity (a reputable one) disperses that to children from low-income households so they have internet for their school requirements. I’ve always donated my excess data close to the end of the month. With I used the home fibre all the time, and hardly ever used the mobile at all. Nowadays I get a shock when anyone from work calls me on the phone, as we mostly use Microsoft Teams through the PC.
I could have changed my phone plan. Instead, I upped my donation to the charity. The kids needed it far more than I did.
Re-evaluating your life
This is the big one. All that time sitting at home has made a lot of people sit back and take stock. I was chatting with a florist the other day. She is busy right now, and one of her biggest classes is her six-week flower-arranging course which covers the business side of flower arranging, as well as everything else. People who have re-evaluated their work, and decided they want to do what they want, for a change.
I have certainly reconsidered my long-term plans. For example, why do I insist in living in the city? Why can’t I move somewhere else?
Particularly if I choose to work from home permanently.
2 replies on “Things I gained from the Covid lockdown”
Thanks for your thoughtful post, Karen. It’s nice that you still get to work from home some days each week since that is your preference.
One silver lining of the pandemic for me was rejoining the book group I belonged to in the nineties. Two of us who had moved away were invited to attend when the group began meeting on Zoom. I’ve enjoyed our meetings.
It’s good, I think, to remember that there is some good coming out of these years.