This is somewhat of a forgotten post that got left behind in 2021, but I thought I would share this with you.
Since 2021 has been somewhat of a semi-weird year, where we started seeing a way back to the offices but also faced new trends and buzzwords. My favorite ones during 2021 were “hybrid work” and “digital fabric”, both heavily used in the Microsoft world.
I’m coming at this from a millennial’s perspective, maybe going back to my posts about being a millennial in the workplace.
1. Hybrid meetings are here to stay
Since we are seeing more people going back to offices, but in a more flexible way, hybrid meetings are here to stay! Hybrid means you will have people remote and in the room.
This comes with a lot of new challenges and a “do’s and don’ts” worthy of a blog post of its own. But it´s clear that some things will be challenging in this and I would say it comes down to culture and good meeting manners. But also the fact that you need a Teams-link in every meeting and you most likely can’t do an old school whiteboard session like you are used to, because most of our conference rooms are that fancy yet.
Having people remotely connected means that if there is a lot of people in the room, you can’t whisper things to your college since this will most likely be picked up by the mics in the room and you won’t hear the person actually speaking.
Another thing that might be on the list of things you didn’t think of is if someone brought “fika”/pastry to the meeting for those in the room. This is fairly common in Sweden and is usually delivered in some kind of paper bag made for bread. So it makes A LOT of noise. This is a BIG problem if you join through Teams since all you will hear is that bag.
Do have your pastry, even though I will be jealous, but please get rid of the bag before the meeting!
2. Being at an office
I’ve felt this before, but the pandemic and “the return to offices” has confirmed this and made my belief even stronger. If I’m going to an office I’m going there with a purpose. Not just because “that’s where I go to work”. This is a very personal thing, and I know a lot of people who prefer working from an office. But we are now seeing a shift in the “standard approach” and you are no longer the weird exception wanting to work remotely. If I look at the people I interact with daily, they are not based in the same part of Sweden as me anyway, so I won’t meet them at an office.
There is a point of showing up and having social interaction, but if I want to get stuff done I’m way more productive at home. However, going in for meetings and workshops is extremely valuable, but then again I’m going to the office with a purpose.
I keep coming back to this, some of my first posts touched upon this. During my time at Microsoft the phrase “work is not a place, it’s something you do” was something that was really pushed out. I think this is still relevant, and the pandemic has shown this.
However, I’ve picked up kind of a new take on that quote which is “The endpoint is the new workplace, and the workplace is hybrid”. I will come back to this in 2022!
3. Corporate life revolves around an office
One thing I think was pretty clear when we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic was that everyone got REALLY excited about going back to offices again. I was excited too, this meant that you could meet people again and do things face to face, which is important and meaningful. However, as I stated in the second point, this whole thing “business as usual” at the office and going there every day is not for me but I respect that people feel the need for this.
The standard has always been that you show up at an office to work, working remotely has always been the exception. If you are the kind of person who thrives at an office, that’s great! But if you are the kind of person like me, whose stress is reduced significantly by not having to show up at an office every day, that should be okay going forward.
The two years we have spent working remotely show that we can be just as productive and creative in a remote setup. Since not everyone is the same, we should in the future embrace that we are all different with different needs. Not everyone feels great about being at an office 5 days a week.
Also, the coffee is usually better at home and the line to the microwave is a lot shorter.
4. Hangout on Teams
In my world, I’m really bad at small talk in general and I have always preferred chat over talk. I’m the generation that if I call you, it’s probably urgent (or I’m driving).
However, working from home missing daily social interaction from others other than my girlfriend and dog have actually gotten me to value to call people or just connect to social team hangouts. I’m not always the person driving the discussion in larger groups, but I enjoy the company and listening in.
I’ve actually increased the number of 1:1 calls I have with colleges discussing work and other stuff. I usually call people with a purpose, but I’ve caught myself calling people just to small talk. Big learning for Ola!
5. I miss traveling for work
I had a really intense period in a previous role traveling A LOT. I actually never counted the number of travel days I had per year, but I easily spent 3-4 days traveling per week during some periods.
I was so done with traveling for work, and I wanted to settle for something more predictable being more in the same place all the time.
Now I’ve reached a point where I actually miss traveling for work. Maybe not 4 days per week, but the occasional longer trip to see a customer or just attend a conference.
I really miss that and I want to do more of that when we get more into a controlled Covid situation.
6. I’m not used to people anymore
I don’t consider myself as an introverted person, my conclusion is that I’m somewhere in between introvert and extrovert.
But this whole thing with only meeting people through Teams has made meeting people IRL something that I get really exhausted by. It really drains my energy.
We had a 1,5-day gathering with all the people who work at Advania Knowledge Factory and I basically needed a day to recover from just meeting people.
Getting back to not being exhausted after meeting people several days in a row will take some time getting used to.
7. Learn to stop working
This is probably what I’m really bad at during the weekdays, but I try really hard NOT to be in front of the computer on the weekends.
My typical day starts at around 9:00 am, most meetings tend to start then. I work until about 12:00 where I have lunch and take my dog for a walk, hopefully being back until 13:00 where after lunch meetings usually start.
Then I’m stuck behind the computer until about 18:00 or something like that when it’s time to start cooking dinner. I might not do actually work that late, it usually involves catching up on tech news and community stuff.
There is always one more email to reply to, one more blog post to read, and one more tweet to re-tweet. But learning when to stop is key and this is something I need to improve in 2022 to actually keep me sane. One thing that I’ve promised myself to actually start using is the virtual commute in Viva Insights. This is a really cool feature and the days when I’ve used it I’m more disconnected from work and can focus on other stuff. If you haven’t tried it yet, I really recommend you do!