I met my colleagues after 17 months and now I love my job again
- I started a new job in August 2020 and spent the first 17 months working from home.
- I finally moved to London and visited the office for the first time in January 2022.
- I was afraid to adapt to office life, but I really like coming.
When Insider offered me a job in July 2020, I knew I would start working remotely.
At the start of the pandemic, I had left my roommate in Newcastle, in the north of England, and moved back to live with my parents in Bradford, like many other people in their twenties. I joined Insider as an intern in August 2020 and was told I would be working from home to start.
As I had a six month contract and the office was not open, I did not find it necessary to move to London.
I get on very well with my parents, the rent in London is incredibly high, I couldn’t go to the office anyway, and all my work can be done from home. So I stayed put.
Even when I was made permanent and Insider reopened its office in the summer of 2021, I still decided to continue working from home in Bradford.
I was sometimes jealous of my colleagues spending time together, but I was very anxious about moving to London. I was afraid of not making friends and not adapting well to working in the office.
Instead, I waited until a friend was ready to move to London – and I’m so glad I did. Knowing that he would be my roommate was a huge comfort.
Working from home has its advantages. You don’t have to commute or dress smart and it’s easy to fit your schedule.
But as the pandemic dragged on, I started to feel deflated. The excitement of a new job had worn off and I was tired of sitting at my desk in my room all day and video conferencing the same people every week. I had met two colleagues in person, but there were many people I worked closely with who had never spoken in person.
So, after moving to London and England lifting its work-from-home guidelines in January, I decided to visit the office for the first time.
I was really anxious. I was afraid that my colleagues wouldn’t like me and wondered what to wear and how to behave in the office. I also thought the commute might wear me out before I even got to the office.
So I spoke to a close colleague and asked what people were wearing and if they were bringing lunch from home. Having this conversation gave me tremendous comfort and she agreed to meet me outside the office on the first day and show me around.
Since then, I’ve been in the office at least three days a week. I sit next to colleagues I’ve talked to for months online but never met and spend my lunch breaks with people from other teams I haven’t met.
Sometimes my colleagues bring cake to work. From time to time, we will go for walks together during our lunch breaks. Rather than reluctantly getting out of bed to go to my desk every morning, I find myself looking forward to going to work.
I never know who will be in the office and I meet new people every day. After 17 months of working from home, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.
And in addition to the social side, working in the office is much more collaborative. I have a better understanding of what my teammates are working on and I can get their feedback on my work more easily.
Cumbersome messages beginning with Slack formalities (“Hi! Hope you’re doing well and having a great weekend”) can be replaced with a 30-second conversation at someone’s desk.
I really like working in the office, but I’m glad I didn’t rush my decision to move.