Returning To The Office: A Parent Perspective

"Lord Sugar will see me now."
Exciting news, I went back to the office!

It's one day. But technically, I'm back, and it feels great.

The day arrived, where Dad would battle henceforth and mingle in the city. It took my youngest son by surprise.

Why was dad leaving the house? Are we going to war? Has mum kicked him out?

No dear boy, this is how the world works! He was just eighteen-months, in March 2020, when we entered lockdown.

There's a "lost" generation who don't understand pre-pandemic protocols, or ever seeing their fathers in suits. But "the times they are a-changin'" (Dylan, 1964).

Some parents are tormented by the "return to office" dilemma. Routines and childcare arrangements may change. But frankly, I'm happy and this is why.

The Commuting Experience

Thumbs-up to commuting!
Strangely, I enjoy my commute.

To some, commuting feels unnecessary or unproductive. Or time that could be used better.

But would you ever make two hours for yourself? It's time to reflect, to plan, to process or.............do nothing.

I was excited. I had sympathy for my wife. The days parental duties would fall on her. Getting our children dressed, is like wrestling hobbits.

Getting our children dressed, is like wrestling hobbits.

But I make no apologies, I've earned this. I've struggled through the pandemic, like everyone. But I deserve respite from the solitude and isolation of "home working".

If you are returning to the office, try to "switch-off". Let go of the stress. Your family survived before, and they will again.

The Future Of Working

Hybrid working is the future. I'm at peace with that. The technology that supports remote working, is almost flawless.

Office space is expensive and businesses can reduce costs. I'm lucky. In some careers, it's not an option. 

At present, nobody is forcing me in. I commute for the change of scene, and to feel normal. And it's nice to see my colleagues (in person).

Before I had children, a colleague told me that work was a "break" from home. It was no slight on his family. He meant that separation from home life, is important. He was right.

Find your balance and what works for you and your family. But don't feel guilty about resuming office life. Too often we focus on family needs, and forget ourselves.

Final Thoughts

Separation from the home is healthy, and we all need space.

Successful working encompasses people, processes and technology. Don't overlook the 'people' element. Interact with your colleagues, in person and face-to-face.

Working from home is great, but don't stay isolated. Get into the office and mix it up.

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