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MISSING OFFICE LIFE

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geek84

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Good Morning Folks

I hope you're all well. I have a 9 to 5 office job where I used to travel to and from my work place. However, since March we have been asked to work from home.

I am missing the usually office life (gossip/banter etc) and other general conversations. Is anyone else in the same situation?

What do you do to overcome this?

Can you suggest any 'zoom' meetings that I could join for social interaction?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
 

porker

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I have been working from home since end of Feb from a 'normal' routine of driving for 2 1/2 hrs every day into an office. I haven't physically seen a co worker since then and am unlikely to for the rest of this year. Our company asked us to work from home for the rest of the year even before the recent restrictions.

In general it has suited me well and not changed my job that significantly as we are a global company so I spent a lot of my time on Zoom like tools albeit I had some colleagues in the same office.

I miss a bit of the general chat and odd face to face meeting but on the whole I prefer the new work/life balance and saving time and money on travel.

We have a few people in the team have organised team lunches for chat on MS Teams. I have to admit I rarely attend as I personally don't need it but I think some people do. I would encourage you to do this as it may work for you. It's just a case of making the time.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Isn't that why god invented the pub? It closes early now, so you don't even have to worry about late nights and working. They would probably be grateful for the custom, and you could shout across the empty bar to the landlord, so no Covid risk, as you would probably be the only customer.

I have to say I much prefer no company at all but then I'm set in my ways. This place is all the gossip I need (which reminds me - have you seen what Mr Maskery is wearing now!?)
 

Geoff_S

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So many angles on this. I retired 12 years ago and at the start it was everything I wanted, except for the loss of day to day human contact. It got to the point where I was grateful when the postman knocked on the door to hand over a parcel. Someone to chat to! Don't get me wrong, I've got good friends, but of course I only see them outside of work.

I believe there are dangers as time goes on and the norm becomes working from home. Imagine finishing education and starting your first job. You go into an office for induction and training. You are then sent home with a laptop and you just sit there, day in day out, meeting no-one. Mind you, you might be prepared if you have spent the previous 3 years at university, doing an online degree from home, meeting no-one. And who knows, school before that as well, meeting no-one?

I think that the benefits of human contact element of work are not fully appreciated. Sure, people can be really irritating, office politics, backstabbing and all that, but also genuine co-operation and genuine friendships. Think about your friends, how did you meet them? I bet a few were at work.

As a suggestion, all those hours saved on commuting, if that applies, add them up and invest some of them in getting out to meet people. I have some friends that were initially so surprised that I would drive 80 miles for 90 minutes to meet them for lunch and then drive back home. When they questioned me about it, I explained that the distance was the same as 2 days commuting and the time was the same as 1 day commuting. There was a silence as they absorbed that, a bit of an eye opener. The reason I didn't do this when working, was not just because I was working but also because I was so sick of commuting that any sort of travel was bottom of my list. Situations change perspective, it seems to me.

In my opinion, Zoom and the like should be seen as no more than a useful tool for those times where it is not sensible to physically meet, and nothing else and we should be careful that the development of this idea is for more than just money & time saving considerations.
 
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Terry - Somerset

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I retired a little early about 8 years ago.

In more normal times we simply made the effort to engage more socially and locally. This is now not wholly possible.

So we have often used zoom, not just to video chat, but video meal out. Both households (possibly several hundred miles apart) order in curry (or your choice of fat and salt laden tastiness).

Each sits at table with laptop opposite. Can even program in an appropriate background - eg: curry house, tropical paradise etc. Not quite the same but as close as we can get!
 

doctor Bob

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I think I may have retired by now, but I'd miss the banter of the workplace and the fun. Going till I'm 60 then call it a day.
I'm still in the workshop everyday, we try and social distance, which is fairly easy. I'm hearing this a lot that the excitment of WFH has worn off and being with your Mrs 24hrs a day is draining...........
 

Spectric

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Well I am retired and did it early because retirement is the objective of your working life and we are not supposed to work until we drop, although the HMRC would like you to. I can see how some may be missing the office life from a social perspective, but make sure you have not fallen into a rut and are really just missing the routine, could be a good time to try something new. For me I suppose I missed the challenges of solving engineering problems, writing software and the general involvement in technology more than the social side but I just think of it now being a new phase and for me wood is the challenge, but make sure you have a varied range of activity, unfortunately not helped by the virus.
 

porker

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I've worked via Zoom type tools for probably an average of 5hrs a day every day for the last 5 years. So office or no office it makes little difference. I think that has contributed to a large degree to my lack of fulfillment with this type of work generally and agree this is no replacement for proper face to face interaction. Unfortunately the culture in particular in large multi national companies which operate in a large number of countries is very sterile these days IMO. I used to be a software developer and have an engineering background and used to love it, but all I do now is try to manage incompetent lowest cost groups of people 1000's of miles away who constantly lie to me about what they have actually done. It pays well so I just put up with it for another 10yrs and do what I like doing in my own time. I'm not emotionally connected to my work at all.
 
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I'm kind of in the same boat, 9-5 desk job (IT) with a 40 minute commute each way. We use microsoft teams to have our meetings, and after the main call, we'll usually hang around for a bit of banter, so it's not too bad.

But I am getting a little sick of the same old environment to be honest. I think a change of location throughout the day is important. When working from home you don't get that switch from home life, to work life, and so it's easier to put in a lot more hours without realising. Sometimes those hours are productive, and sometimes not, as you're probably not thinking as clearly as you might do otherwise. You NEED to switch off. I'll often find myself coming back to my desk late at night and putting in a few more hours (I really enjoy my job) .... but I really shouldn't .... but it's all too easy.

Having said that, after all this is over, I would be up for a split week. Maybe 3 days in the office, and 2 from home. But given the work I do, that is probably unlikely to happen.

As for social interaction across Zoom and the like, see if there are any live events available for your particular hobbies?
 

Fitzroy

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I know the feeling of WFH becoming more draining with time. In the same boat as you regards being at home since March. Things my team have put in place.
- Mon/Wed/Fri team 15mins meeting to highlight any work issues that need support from me or the broader team.
- We use MS teams portal for team business interaction, ie questions from more junior team members on where to find stuff or cries for help. Basically an online shared chat group for business issues,
- We have team coffee 2pm on an Tues/Thurs, 20mins in the calendar, no agenda just to come together. I tend to drop in for a few mins and the make an excuse to leave as the boss being there tends to stifle the conversation.
- We have a team WhatsApp group for banter, on peoples phones so a definite channel for banter.
- During deep lockdown when you couldn't go anywhere we had a team quiz night every other week (families and house mates welcome).

Overall for me having short regular, daily interactions is very important. Providing multiple channels for interaction, formal and informal, helps as different people want to communicate/interact in different ways.

F.
 

Cooper

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I recently rediscovered UKworkshop’s forums, when the morning email arrived with the latest updates. For me reading the views, advice and banter has been a welcome alternative to my missed Sunday mornings in the Red Lion, where most of my weeks socialising used to take place. As the locals included retired engineers, mechanics, and computer professionals, the chat is remarkably similar. Being able to make my own occasional irrelevant contributions has also been fun.
Thanks
 

Jester129

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Finished work early, not by choice. Couldn't get a job due to my age, but of course they can't admit it. Even the temp work dried up. This is 3 years before covid. Got fed up of sitting on my backside drinking endless cuppas so decided to volunteer.
have been doing this for 3 years with the RVS (ex- WRVS) for 3 days a week, usually taking people to/from hospital where they're getting radiology treatment for cancer. I've met some brilliant, wonderful, positive folks 'getting on with it'. For you people out there feeling bored or with no projects at present, TRY IT. It gets you out of the house for a start, and you're doing something positive.

ATB,
Jeffers
 

SammyQ

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" Finished work early, not by choice. " Me too, three years off 'the magic 40'. I moved house, 200 miles and "across the shough" just after, then spent the last two years supporting Mrs Q. through chemo and trying to renovate our 'retirement' bungalow around that.
We have now been ultra-isolating since mid-March and I can tell you that is almost as much fun as putting your wedding tackle in a vice and tightening the screw, bur not quite.
I miss the interaction with colleagues and my pupils; Belfast "Bant" - from both contingents!- had to be experienced to be believed. "Sir? You wearing that tie for a bet?" is probably the mildest, most repeatable in public, quip. Great leveller of egos and tough love personified. Loved it.
Zoom meetings with our kids are great therapy, but I miss the social millieu.

Sam
 

Robin Whitfield

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It's taken me a few years of working as a (solo) freelancer to really start missing the office. I had some pangs in the first year that kind of faded with improving my social circle outside of work but of course most of that has vanished now.
Even conversing with the same people and periodically meeting up with individuals has nothing on the twice monthly socials that I used to organise. We try to have (remote) movie and game nights, but it's not quite the same.

Before the pandemic kicked in I'd been working up to having a (flexible) workplace based role again but that was in the theatrical industry so things have changed substantially there!

Right now I'm distracting myself from the lack of social contact by buying broken tools and finally getting around to building up a workshop, which is what brought me to this place.
 

selectortone

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I believe there are dangers as time goes on and the norm becomes working from home. Imagine finishing education and starting your first job. You go into an office for induction and training. You are then sent home with a laptop and you just sit there, day in day out, meeting no-one. Mind you, you might be prepared if you have spent the previous 3 years at university, doing an online degree from home, meeting no-one. And who knows, school before that as well, meeting no-one?
E M Forster's novelette 'The Machine Stops', published way back in 1909, predicts where that road leads. Everyone lives alone underground in their own little capsule and communication is via a giant world-wide machine that provides everything. Quite scarily prescient.
 

AJB Temple

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Perhaps I am alone here. This thread is quite sad. I spent my career in professional office life, running businesses. I exited the last one 15 months ago and have not been back to London since. I do not miss in any way having to guide often clueless staff through simple things, or deal with new graduates who have done nothing, but still reckon they deserve a pay rise. The people I employed were staff not friends and I do not miss the office at all. Being the boss is a lot of the time about acting in a particular way and although I will no doubt have another business, it will involve a great deal more WFH and private time for me.
 
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