Asking my boss if I could get my team back in the office on any sort of regular cadence was not something I thought I would do again.
Today marked 688 days since I was last working from my desk in the office. While I’ve been back to my desk once to pack up my monitors and bring home my belongings, and I’ve been to our other campus in Connecticut for project meetings, today was the first day I was back at work for a “regular day”.
I was greeted by a thermal temperature scanner this morning instead of a hello from the security guard. My desk was empty; only my nameplate, chair, an outdated 2020 calendar and a blank white board with some markers were there. What is even weirder is that this is likely my last time going to this particular desk as I have a new team that sits in a different building. I love being remote, but today I realized how much I miss the office.
I do not miss my hour plus commute. I do not miss getting gas multiple times a week. I do not miss 4:45AM alarms. I enjoy wearing leggings daily – even when my presentation calls for a suit jacket. I miss the ability to have chance encounters. I miss the learning that occurs just from sitting near others and listening.
While today was not the norm, and I don’t know when regular office trips will be back on the calendar, l can say for the first time in a long time that I eagerly await the office reopening. I look forward to having team lunches on the regular and sitting at a conference table. I look forward to reading a person’s entire body language again. I know we are ready to go back to a new normal…. We miss parts of the old normal and have learned that we do some things better now.
Today I had a glimpse of the old normal, albeit masks and thermal scanners were new additions. I am hopeful that when I left today it was really just for a short absence from the office and not a couple more years of only meeting people via Zoom. I look forward to the next time I am in the office and when going in weekly or bi-weekly is the norm again…. though I don’t think any amount of excitement will make me ready for my next 4:45AM alarm…