The great return

I worked at the office on Monday and Tuesday this week. I’m a great proponent of working from the office — I’m that kid who always enjoyed visiting his dad and grandad at work, and one day imagined that I would be working in an important office with a nice suit (then I started worked in IT… 😝)

I found it refreshing, after a couple of years working from home and visiting the office occasionally. I felt that more neurons in my brain were firing, especially when meeting with others. Perhaps it’s all the additional information and resulting increased confidence through reading body language and non-verbal cues in person; releasing the mind from coping with lag and poor audio and video quality (on the part of others of course); or maybe it’s just the feeling of being present in a physical space that has a purpose, that helps the mind to relax and engage differently.

I am also a huge fan of working from home; it’s just more efficient when the day comprises 10-12 meetings in rapid succession; and the desk setup and comfort is several orders of magnitude to the pitiful open office setups that most tech offices now unfortunately espouse (I yearn for the days of offices and team rooms).

The main benefit of working from home is the flexibility that I have as a family man with a 1 year old daughter — working from home enabled me to spend far more time with her in the tender years of her youth than ever would have been possible otherwise; even with her at daycare for most of the day, 4 days per week.

I also can’t emphasise enough the benefits to my physical health — whereas there certainly is benefit to me cycling to work and then walking around our enormous offices each day (I live and work in Amsterdam), it pales in comparison to having a properly set up working station with a high quality standing desk, and mouse, monitor keyboard and headphones, which are not provided by any company that I know of. As well as living across the road from an actual gym; I can take 18 minutes to do a full barbell workout and still be back with enough time to shower and have lunch; not possible at the office.

Pro’s for the office:

  • Better for people and human interactions: key meetings, 1-1s, socialising, team building
  • Good to have a change of scenery and dedicated place for hard work

Pro’s for the home:

  • Better for physical health; more comfortable, better equipment and better access to facilities
  • Far better for flexibility and the family
  • More efficient in general

What the office needs to be really competitive with the home:

  • Bring back offices
  • Team rooms, no more unlimited open spaces everywhere
  • Better equipment, on par with the minimum that one would buy for one’s self in the home environment
  • More logical layout to improve efficiency eg with 10 meetings in a row
  • More flexibility; if I can step out when needed at home, it should be the same at the office.

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