Going out out

Since the original lockdown last March, I’ve only ventured into the office three times. The first time was to familiarise myself with the Covid restrictions and changes that had been implemented and I only stayed there for a couple of hours once I’d done the tour. Whilst it was clear the company had done a lot of work to try to make the site safe such as one-way corridors, the restaurant was closed and some temporary staff didn’t seem rot follow the guidelines such as wearing face masks when walking around the office.

The second time was to visit the new office space that had been created for my division, but again the restaurant was closed and there was lots of building activity going on making it a difficult place to work.

The third time was this week.

I’d been invited to go into the office as a couple of my colleagues and my boss were meeting up so I booked a desk and drove to Birmingham on Tuesday. The new work area had now been completed and desks allocated for our department but as only a few other staff have returned and with social distancing rules still in place the area felt pretty empty and uninviting. On the plus side, the restaurant was also now open, albeit at a reduced capacity so at least there was the better refreshments than the coffee machine.

Anyhow, on arrival I found a desk and fired up my laptop, having first visited the Starbucks counter to get a Latte. Regrettably I couldn’t get the stand-alone screen to connect to my laptop as I knew I would struggle to work on a single screen, especially so used to my home set up of having three screens. So I started messing with the larger monitor connections trying to get it to come to life. Unfortunately, I subsequently managed to knock my large cup of latte over my laptop, mouse and laptop bag, sending me into sheer panic. Fortunately, a quick-thinking colleague obtained some kitchen towel and I was able to mop up the spillage and wipe down the laptop, which luckily hadn’t got covered in the coffee.

Once I’d calmed down I then proceeded to do some work and also have a nice catch up with my colleagues; it’s surprising how just seeing people face to face rather than on the phone or via Teams makes a difference. We all had a good natter and put the world to rights and then I had the job of ringing round my team to inform them their pay-rises & bonuses. Of course, it would have been much easier to do at home as those types of conversations are best done out of ear-shot of others but I found a small office and delivered their good news.

And then it was my time to get the news of mine from my boss and pleasingly it was very good news. Suffice to say the tax man and Tina will benefit 🙂

I remained in the office until late afternoon before heading back home and whilst we agreed it was great to meet up, I think the visits will now be fewer than I did in the past, even after the Covid situation goes away.

When I arrived home, I was greeted by Rio, who for the first time in a long while had been left alone, very excited to see me and wanting some attention for abandoning him. I think if he sees my laptop bag being packed up again he’ll pick it up and hide it so I can’t go back to work.