The Hybrid Workplace: Postponed

After a lot of communications and preparations to get us back into the office in mid-November, now we’re all back to working from home. All the time. Before Omicron, I made peace with the idea of going back to the office. Every week I went through one drawer, or closet, of my clothes. I’m not done yet, but I’m committed to finishing, even though I’m working from home full time. The act, though small, was long overdue.

Spending so much time in lockdown, without interacting with others physically, I hadn’t realized what I was missing. Going to the office two days a week motivated me enough to start going through my clothes. All of a sudden, I had a new lens on the tattered, ratty condition of them. I didn’t wear any of these things to work, obviously. However, it occurred to me that my collection of “at home,” “messy project,” and “yardwork” clothes was taking over. I think this happened as a I pawed through them looking for something acceptable to wear to the office. Admittedly, I only made it to the office five times. However, I selected each outfit the night before to save time. It gave me a taste of what to expect when we do go back, for real.

Aside from wardrobe considerations, I also started thinking about the amount of paper people would, or wouldn’t use, coming back to the office. I’m responsible for coordinating shredding services at our locations. Although it seems like a straightforward task, it’s actually kind of complicated. With people partially in the office, and then not at all, I reduced the frequency of the service. Or postponed it indefinitely.

The whole time I kept wondering, when we do go back to the office, will people still be so dependent on paper? I suppose some people have hooked up home printers and still produce the same amount of paper. But others, like myself, have likely never bothered to hook up a printer. Instead I changed my habits. I take notes electronically, especially with my favorite app, sticky notes.

I’m curious to see if my predictions are right, that people will produce less paper when we return. And that we’ll be able to maintain our reduced services going forward without any complications. And if a problem does arise, I’ll be dressed appropriately to handle it.

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