11 weeks working from home
Today, I return to the office for the first time post-covid. An activity which will be replicated across our organisation in coming weeks.
As I sat on the end of my bed this morning, putting on real shoes for the first time in 11-weeks (Ugg Boots... I miss you already), the overarching emotion I felt was sadness. So I thought I should unpack that emotional response a little further.
Firstly, I am incredibly lucky that for me, home is a safe environment. I know that isn’t always the case for everyone.
The last 11-weeks, upon reflection, have been one of the most positive personal / work life experiences I have had in my 13-years of professional working.
I have been able fulfil all my life roles in a much more balanced way.
On the work front, I have been incredibly proud of my Rob Valley Sustaining Team who have adapted to this change effortlessly. Working in a virtual team environment is a fundamental change, and one which they have made look easy. It has been a pure joy to log in each morning from home, put on the headset and be able to interact with a team who has continued to hit and exceed project milestones.
On the home front, I have spent so much more time with my wife and two children, and that has been amazing. I have been there for the pre-school exercises, the mid-morning ‘daddy-cinos’ with too many marshmallows, the early afternoon tantrums as we phase out the mid-day nap (my daughters... not mine) and the excitement of a post-school hug and review of the day. I’ve had the time to teach my 6-year-old how to ride a bike and boogie board. I’ve had the time to sit with my 3-year-old and watch The Little Mermaid for the 78th time this month. I’ve also had the opportunity to introduce my work colleagues to my family, as they inevitably drop in and out of video conference meetings.
On a personal level, I’ve loved it! It’s been easier to find time to exercise. My wife and I now have a better understanding of what each other do every day and I’ve been able to balance my study commitments without feeling like anyone is missing out.
So I’m comfortable that my emotional response to changing back to what I have considered ‘normal’ for so long is an appropriate response.
Don’t get me wrong, I am also very excited to get back into the office environment. Interacting with 3D people at an appropriate social distance will be great! And Mary Street Bakery does make much better coffee than my Nespresso machine.
But this experience has taught me that life balance is achievable. I doubt I’ll ever do another full-time stint at home for this long, but at the same time working remotely a few days a week is definitely something that is on my radar.
I’m sure I am not the only one with these thoughts, with many in our organisation having the same thoughts. Naturally, this will introduce some challenges to our workplace. But nothing we can’t work through, and I truly believe the benefits to all involved will be huge.
Let’s hope this period of enforced change, has opened our eyes to what is possible and leads to meaningful long-term change in the way we balance our lives