It has been 482 days since I last worked in the office. March 13, 2020 to July 8, 2021. Thanks, Covid-19 (you prick).
I just wanted to make a quick note of some of the things I’ve forgotten about over that time, and a couple of things that changed without my consent.
- The noise level. We work in an open concept space. There are only 6-8 people within sight right now, but there are probably four times that many desks, at least. We don’t have walls between us. It’s nice when you have a bunch of people on the same team within earshot of each other so if staff member #1 is talking about an issue, staff member #2 sitting 15-20 desks away can hear the issue and chime in to help. It’s nice, right? Today though, there are two of the four members of my group here, and three more off in the distance who work on the same application. The rest of the people are unrelated and some of them have been on conference calls all day. I forgot what that felt like. If Jen’s on a call while we’re both at home we just close the doors. Problem solved. Not so in the open concept workspace. I hear everyone’s everything whether it affects me or not.
- This one is simple. Locking your computer. Get up to the to the bathroom while working from home? No problem. Just do it. Get up to go to the bathroom while working in the office? Lock your computer. The first time I had to walk away from my desk I forgot. I surprised myself. I’m usually much more vigilant about such things.
- Diet Coke. Oh yeah. My company is awesome about the soda machines. We only pay the deposit, $0.05. It’s wonderful. Unfortunately when it comes to diet soda I am a Diet Pepsi guy and we’re a Coca~Cola shop. For every other soda I prefer the Coke product. Diet soda? The one thing I will let myself drink? Pepsi. Damn it. I forgot about that.
I’m sure there are others, but those are the stand outs. Honorable mention goes to the VPN. It was downright odd to not connect to the VPN today. I’ll probably forget when I’m at home tomorrow.
Now, a couple of things that changed while I was away.
- I’ve mentioned this a bunch of times before but it is such a huge thing that I feel the need to mention it again. My building is gone. Sold. History. I worked for this company for a decade before I was able to have a desk in a building that is North of the Mass Pike (pardon the super local nature of that statement, but fellow Merrimack Valley folks will know of what I speak). This morning as I drove to work I could see that building from the highway as I cruised on by. They sold our building a few months ago and I’ve been moved to another building. We have a little two building complex right off of route 128. I used to work in building #2. For a few years at least. Now I’m in building #1. At the very least it’s the next closest building to home now that the closest building has been sold.
- Trash cans. A few years ago one of our buildings started a pilot program where all of the little trash barrels at everyone’s desks were removed in favor of a few centrally located barrels. There was a reason for it but it wasn’t my building so I more or less forgot it happened. When I was unpacking my stuff this morning I noticed none of the desks had barrels, and there were a few centrally located barrels around the space. Aw shit. They took our buckets away. Damn it.
Once again, I am sure there are other things but I can’t think of them right now. We don’t have a cafeteria. Well, we do still have the cafeteria room and all, but we don’t have a catering company selling us lunch anymore. We knew that though. That’s a Covid-19 casualty that will probably come back eventually. No big deal, I want to brown bag it anyway.
I’ll probably write follow up posts as I think of more stuff to write. Suffice to say, being back in the office building is weird. Very weird.