Released On 6th Dec 2021
Anushka's blog: First day back in the office
So, it’s my first day back in the actual office in over 18 months. I have seen most of my team’s faces on Zooms throughout this time, met up with some in person outside of office and recruited new people during Covid who will be setting foot in actual office for first time this month.
It felt like a momentous day packing my rusksack and preparing my lunch in the morning. I felt slightly nervous and it felt surreal putting on a pair of tights and smart dress and picking up my lanyard with a very dated looking photo, wondering if I will still even be able to enter the building OK!
The tube wasn’t as busy as I feared from having read the headlines this week, the carriages were at 50% capacity. I used to have to wait three tubes before I could even squeeze onto one and then spent my entire journey squashed and straining to hold on to a handle somewhere to steady my balance. I read two newspapers, which was a novelty, and looked at everyone on tube wondering if it was their first days as well!
The city seemed so much emptier, buildings that were under construction when I left, were now fully built, resplendent in their newness. The most striking thing I noticed however was that the restaurants and coffee shops I would pass on my way in were now largely closed and it looked permanently so.
My security pass still worked. I felt elated seeing everyone and couldn’t wait to find my locker. I tried my key and got it right third time. My high heeled shoes were not mouldy as I suspected. My mug was there and some teabags, still in date, I think!
I got on firstly with printing a few things I needed to print and it felt like such a luxury. I had to get used to taking calls through a headset and not talking loudly at my screen again.
Approximately 2 hours in and the view from my desk was feeling very familiar and unremarkable, I had settled into this routine like I’d never been away, surrealism replaced with security that nothing had changed.
From now on, I’ll be in at least one day every week. Before COVID, it was three days a week, with two at home. This feels right for me. It was great to see everyone in person but ultimately I lost two hours in my workday travelling, ate less healthily, lost exercise time and had a mad rush to pack up my desk and pick up kids from school. I arrived sweating and late! Remote working has allowed me to trial working full time instead of part time. I live so close to my kids school that it was hardly an interruption to a full work day at home. We manage without childcare, which is liberating. Long may this hybrid working continue, it’s been better for family life, efficiency and the environment!
Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 9 and 10 and no nanny!