First day back in the office since March

I had an essential reason to be in town today, and so I’m back in the office today for the first time since March – and it’s a lot quieter than the last time I was here!

My office was officially re-opened following the COVID-19 lockdown at the start of August, but only a handful of people have actually been using it since then. Almost all of the staff continue to work remotely since March, and have no plans to return to the office in the short term.

We’re just as productive working remotely, and there are certainly a lot of advantages that come from working at home. And so only those who are struggling to work at home, or those that need a change of scenery, are making the journing into the office.

Today I think there’s 4 of us in, out of a total of over 150 people. Although I seem to have half the office to myself, and as such it’s really quiet!

Some changes have happened while I was away:

  • There’s lot of COVID-19 signage, stickers on the floor, hand sanitisers, and so on – to re-enforce the good hygiene etiquette.
  • All the lunch facilities, such as fridges and microwaves a closed off. There’s no access to mugs, tea/coffee, cutlery, or plates. The only thing we have is a tap for hot and cold water.
  • One of our floors has been completely shut down, and the company are actively trying to sub-let it – although I suspect the commercial property rental market isn’t doing too well at the moment.
  • Half the desks are blocked off so that nobody can sit at them, to enforce physical distancing.
  • The remaining usable desks are now all hot desks – and there is a software application where we no need to book a desk to reserve it for the day. We’re using an application from Condeco called Eworx to do the desk booking, and each of the desks has a little touch-screen device to show who has reserved it.

The idea is that, even if COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted, we won’t ever go back to working 5 days in the office. The working from home thing is going to continue indefinitely, but people will have the option to maybe come in the office maybe 1 or 2 days a week for meetings and collaboration with their team.

That’s why the leadership team have closed down one of the floors. There won’t ever be a time when everyone is back in the office working together.