This time last year I wrote about my concerns about the sudden shift to remote working – at the time thinking it would be a couple of months.
My main worry was really that I was bad at it. I’d struggled with remote at mySociety and nothing made me think I’d changed.
I was worried about my mental health.
I was worried about my lack of space at home.
I was worried about being as effective.
So one year later where is my head at?
Am I better at working this way now?
Sure. No doubt. I’ve learned a lot and changed my style to some extent. I’ve learned new skills and tools that have contributed to my improvement. I definitely feel like I contribute now.
Am I as effective as I was ‘in the room’?
No. Not even close. I miss whiteboards and conversations that weren’t by appointment. I miss being able to read a room and feel the feedback from an audience.
How is the physical space issue going?
I didn’t move so my space problems haven’t really changed. At various times I have had my ‘office’ in my conservatory, bedroom and now living room. I’ve bought desks, chairs, webcams, microphones, monitors…anything to try and improve the experience. It all helps but none of it changes the fact I live in a small, one bed flat that is far from minimalist.
I came very close to buying a shed/office in the summer before deciding to hold off when it looked like things might improve (ha!). Then I rented a small studio to work from – but I was hit by the car before I even got to move in so that was a bust and I had to give it up. At the time of writing I am back on the shed quest.
How about my mental health?
Well like everybody I have struggled. A year of isolation has been pretty extreme and I’ve been on that CovidCoaster. The effect of my physical health problems certainly didn’t help! Long Covid and getting hit by a car would effect anybody I suspect.
The lack of separation between home/work is wearing with no real end in sight and my motivation really goes up and down. Pretty sure this is familiar to everybody.
Funnily enough despite all these issues I cannot ever see myself returning to an office full-time. Certainly not the trains & hotels & client office life I was living for the last few years. I want the option of visiting an office for some things for sure and I definitely need my own work space but I’m not going to return to commuting. Not fighting my way onto the Tube or a bus at 07.30. Not doing a four hour train journey for a 90 minute meeting.
I want it all –
I want my own studio/shed/space. At home. Or at least in North Bristol.
I want the option to go to a company space sometimes to interact with my team(s).
I want to work remotely with clients but be able to convene workshops in person when that will accelerate things.
I want to continue putting together amazing remote teams but find flexible, creative ways to sometimes get them in a room together.
I really want to try remote working with everything I’ve learned in the last year when we are not in a global pandemic!
I want all this and more…but I’d settle for the last item on the list.