About work environments

March 06, 2023

Today I braved ingrained habits of several weeks, and surfed just ahead of the gathering snowstorm expected to hit us during the night.

We can stop the heroic music now. Yes, I went to the office for the first time in a whole lot of weeks. (For those new to the game, offices used to be the standard places to gather when doing work.) It is pretty nice to meet colleagues face to face, and even when the coffee machine is broken it is nice to change you work desk up every now and then.

Of course, I did not actually use the desk at work to do much work at all. It was meetings and other discussions all the way through, as it should be. Get code written? I can do that when I have a quiet place to sit down and (try to, failing repeatedly) focus.

The whole "offices now versus before"-thing is a little more fresh in my mind again because I have been re-listening to a collection of Cortex episodes around the 100 episode mark, just before and while the first wave of the pandemic came rolling in. Together with the very start of the podcast, all state of the apps, and all yearly theme episodes, I think this little cluster is one of my favourites of the show. Episode 96 feels like a classic episode all of its own, and hearing the evolving discussions about coping with the pandemic is as interesting and inspiring as it ever was. The topic of thinking seriously about your work environment became a lot more relevant for me as the pandemic hit, but it remains just as relevant going forward now that we all take the chance to choose where to locate our work much more often.

I do have the luxury of a whole room to use as my office when working at home, and I have set things up very much the way I like them, but there is definitely even more I could do to, for example, separate work from spare time.

The thought is stimulating.

I do switch computers and thus desktop backgrounds and some other clear boundary markers, but is there even more I should do? Would I benefit from delineating work hours more clearly, for example? Could I experiment with work light versus podcast light? Should I switch up more equipment? Work keyboard versus spare time keyboard? There are so many interesting possibilities!