Back in the office after almost 2 years remote

View of the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge from the Muni metro.
When the pandemic started I would not have guessed that when I would go back to the office it would be in the United States. Back in March of 2020, nobody knew how long lockdowns would last, and making any sort of plan seemed impossible – as restrictions would change every day everywhere around the world. Most offices had to adapt to remote workflows, and working from home gradually started becoming normal.
After more than a year and a half working remotely, I can say that I see a lot of pros in this new system. The first major change most people perceived is the amount of time that is no longer needed for commuting which can be used for other means. Sleeping in, cooking better meals, spending time with family, exercising in the middle of the day – what you can do in 2 extra hours is amazing. My favorite thing about having time flexibility was enjoying the sun whilst it’s there. Another one of my favorite changes is geographical flexibility. Being able to work in different cafes or coworking spaces is not only nice for the sake of being in different places, but it allows meeting professionals of other areas which can be quite stimulating and eye-opening. Programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, and even potential clients.
However, after pointing out the many pros of working remotely, I can say that now I also started valuing several aspects of office life!  Going back in the office every day felt strange initially but I started noticing a few aspects that I didn’t use to appreciate. The commuting aspect allows me to have solo moments in which I force and allow myself to focus on books or podcasts that I usually don’t make time for. Also, I get to see the city everyday (see photo above of a lovely morning commute in San Francisco!). Another advantage is that work is now again back into the office – which means I never bring work home, and home is my relaxing space rather than a workstation. And last but not least, getting to see coworkers creates a sense of belonging in a community – instead of just submitting digital material online every day.
Now, many companies are discussing whether or not to go back into the office. While each one will find out what works best for their teams, hybrid firms are probably finding a good balance – providing the flexibility of a remote system along with the connection of the office flow. I’m glad my team welcomed me on-site, as it made the introduction fast and smooth. At the same time, a lot of them value their time at home working remotely which makes our workflow hybrid.
I’m curious to know about how other firms are dealing with the comeback – if most are inclined to be fully on-site again or exploring hybrid or even fully remote solutions.



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