Hurrah for summer, it has finally arrived, after a long wait. Unlike last year, when summer sprung itself upon us early in the year. The wait this year has been torture. But now it is here, it brings with it a few things.
The temperature went from 6c daily average to mid 20's in what seemed like a day. Hot, sweaty, and irritable, summer me is here too! Unfortunately, the weather and date also brings with is uncertainty, anxiety and stress. More people back out and about, restless nights, and decision time. Like my head needs much more to get in a knot about right now. Morning runs are hectic, with lots of people out and about, so today I decided on a much earlier run. Quieter roads, but less sleep. Moan, moan, moan, I know!
But front and centre of all of this is June21st. The date the UK Government has set for step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown. In turn, it is the final stage of the process before finding out what the masterplan is regarding Work From Home. Up until now, with things moving so slowly, it has been pretty bearable. However with the final step just weeks away, the dread and fear that work might say "back to the office" completely consumes my every waking moment. Or at least that is how it feels.
There has been a lot of positive talk about a new approach to how our roles are carried out. If we need to be at a certain location to carry out our jobs effectively. If the new work/life balance that so many, including myself, have found, plays a part in the road ahead. Talk of flexible working, spending time between home and office, sounds delightful for the main part, and 18 months ago I would have ripped the hand off that offered that to me. However, now, well now is different.
After 15-16 months or so of working from home, so many answers are clear. Can we operate effectively, yup, through a pandemic, through peak service, and through so many other challenges. Working from home has not caused a single stumble. In fact, when the brown stuff has hit the fan, being close to my work PC, has actually benefited the company. With almost instant access to systems, to get stuck straight in. Communication between the workgroup has improved, with time now allocated on team catch ups, where as before things were less structured. And so many other positives to be found.
I realise that is all well and good, however work are paying the wages, so get to make the decisions to best suit the business, I can't argue with that for a moment. Seeing how chalk and cheese the plans of many large companies are make me feel it could swing one of two ways, or of course just hang dead centre, and there be no change required. I say no change required, as I appreciate there are two sides to every story, and we all have our own stories of the pandemic to tell. Some have dearly missed the contact and face to face communication of their workgroups. Feeling isolated and trapped at home, with no outlet for their thoughts. For others, working from home has posed huge challenges to the requirements of their role, making life so much more difficult. For those groups of people, I hope that the road ahead offers contact and respite from the pressures faced over the pandemic.
But let's be real for a minute, this is my blog, and about my feelings and thoughts, so back to the nitty gritty. I simply don't want to go back to working in an office. This time of year, and the rise in temperatures just reminds me of the years gone by, squabbles over use of the aircon, too hot, too cold, windows open or closed.... Til the AC system just breaks (multiple times annually) and we are left wishing we had just agreed and left it be. Last summer and this summer so far, I open my window when I want, heating on when I want, AC on.... you get the picture.
Although we have had lots of work done on the house in the past year, I have not had to take any time off for it, nor deliveries, and rarely for any medical appointments, as its all close to home, and can be worked into the working day.
Anyway, enough procrastination, I think I have made my point. I am terrified that we will be told to return to the office. I have grown very comfortable with my own space, and environment, and the thought of sharing that with others again is dreadful. I am bad enough being around people I choose to be in the company of, let alone those I am squashed in with in the name of work.
The next two weeks are going to be horrible. I am already sinking myself into a destructive cycle of running and cycling. Doing my best to enjoy myself, rather than damage myself. Sleep is getting worse, quiet moments of the day starting to be consumed by spiraling negative thoughts. The smallest thing now spins up the whirlpool of the mind, and turns it into something dreadful and scary, without even giving it a chance.
Hopefully, in a couple of weeks time, we will at least have a solid idea of what happens next. Does the rumoured ultra flexible new system come into play? How much flexibility will there actually be? I guess time will tell now, and in the meantime all I can do is hold tight, and wait and see.
It is good to know that some around me understand my fears, and that in general, line management are happy with work from home as it is, or at least that is how it seems. Keep your fingers crossed please, and lets hope that as much as possible, the road ahead offers everyone what they need to keep them sane, and able to do their jobs to the best of their ability.