WFO to WFO via WFH
Reflecting on the work experiences over last couple of years as I start working from office again!
Rewinding the clock to January 2020, of course to WFO (Work from Office). My office was an alive, happening organism in itself. Working with all colleagues in the agile development centre designed for better collaboration, standing meetings in conference rooms, dozens of celebrations or events, emotional life talks in the canteen indeed was such a happy experience! Working with bright individuals in office was literally full of life.
And all of a sudden it changed when the pandemic forced us into lockdown in March 2020. Being locked down with the family and continuing to WFH (Work from Home) was not a big novelty to me. However with all the negative atmosphere all around, absolutely no chance to step out of the house, coupled with no support for household chores except for family members made it really difficult times. All four of us blocked in a room each, coupled with 3 broadband connections at home to cover all rooms, we got into the rhythm of being online for work, for school or college, and everything else such as grocery and so on.
Getting my first ever professional book published, weekly zoom connects with extended family, switching to board games and getting hooked on to weekend movie nights with Netflix made the sad and grim time period a bit bearable.
In December 2021, I experimented WFA (Work from Anjarle). Anjarle is my husband’s serene native village blessed with natural beauty and we have a house there. Pre-pandemic it was exclusively a holiday home, helping us with digital detoxification with no mobile phones working, leave alone internet.
Equipped with broadband, I decided to work from there just for a week. It was an unbelievable work day starting with morning walk along the hills and a wonderful beach, listening to birds and silence rather then hustle bustle of a city and with Friday evenings actually wrapping up work early and going to the beach! However work experience was still patchy, sometimes the internet would go down, sometimes the electricity would fluctuate! Looked like the place still had a long way to go before becoming a viable WFH option thought it offered tremendous work life balance!
Come June 2022, my office opened and the organization started welcoming us back to office! I literally went through Kübler-Ross’ grief cycle. First reaction was denial and shock! Is this really happening? Do we really have to go back to office? Why can’t we continue to work the way it was for last 2 years? After all we have been productive. Then came anger and overwhelming stage. So much would change again! How to take care of personal schedule, professional one, transport to office and hundred other things. It also involved bargaining of whether I can still work from home for couple of days, can I leave early to beat the traffic and so on.
But well, I started going to office regularly and kind of have reached the acceptance stage by now. Going back to office was indeed overwhelming with so many memories coming back. People are still trickling in office, taking their time to join back, as they go through this change themselves. Till then, I am enjoying a very peaceful and productive work time in the office!
We may probably never be where we were in February 2020, but meeting people face to face, doing watercooler talks, having in-person discussions has surely restored some sense of normalcy and reinforced the One Team feeling.
So life has come a full circle, full 360 (or may be 10-20 degrees still missing with everyone not yet back in office), with WFO to WFH to WFO. Who knows how the hybrid working future unfolds, and how we get used to the hybrid work culture, but time will tell. After all time is a great teacher and a great healer as well. Till then, looking forward to more and more individuals and interactions in life!
Image credit Work illustrations by Storyset