- What I miss
Isolation from the pandemic inevitably places us in front of sacrifices, the keyword is resistance I suppose, hoping that better times will come.
These times, these lockdowns, these quarantines make us reflect on how much some things, which we previously took for granted, actually are not at all. And certainly, staying at home makes us feel nostalgic for our freedom. But what do we miss most?
Some days I hardly remember the pre-COVID life anymore. Especially for what it concerns my work life.
I have been asked to do remote working (although I occasionally have to go to the office for some projects) and there were also positive things about it: less time lost for the commute to work and the consequent lower costs of a working day away from home. But there are also things I miss about pre-COVID work, things I may never have realized until the moment they were suddenly taken from me. And I thought of at least 5 and they are:
1. Face-to-face meetings
The videocalls are great, no doubt about it. Or perhaps rather quick than great. Even if it's not quite the same thing, remaining focused and attentive is even more difficult, the background noises may interfere in the communication, not to mention what is happening in the house at that moment. And the connection is not always the best.
2. Chatting with colleagues
I used to spend 8 hours a day, if not more, side by side with them and in the end you socialize, it’s normal, you become something more than two ‘desk neighbours’ and you also chat about family, girlfriends, some advice on investments or expenses to be made, a gossip if not more, with the advantage that being colleagues you can also let yourself go to some confidence that with friends perhaps you would not do so I miss them dearly and I miss that time spent with them. Working alone is different. It is perhaps more efficient but it really is lonely at times.
3. Coffee from the vending machine
Oh gosh, it is not and will never be as good as the one in the café, especially not like the one in a café back in Italy but even the vending machine coffee has its own way of being good, so good that I really miss it. Getting up from your chair, asking my colleague if he wanted to join me 3 minutes to have a coffee break of relaxation to break the rhythm of the daily work. Yes, I certainly miss the coffee break at the machine and the chat I was mentioning above.
4. The dress code
Sure it is nice to work in PJs or for some calls I wear PJ pants and a shirt on top but I miss to wear my suits and my business casual clothes that are now in my wardrobe getting dusty and probably too tight because I’m getting lazy and fat from being on the sofa or on the chair all day at home. The first week it is nice to just wear pyjamas, maybe. Then let's face it, even dressing for office has its own charm that I now miss very much. Because basically even the work uniform says a lot about who and what we are. And I’m not this pyjamas-wearing couch potato I look like now.
5. Collaborate shoulder to shoulder
Yes, there are endless online collaboration tools but that thing of getting up from your office chair, going to your colleague’s desk and working together is something beyond work. Collaborating is something anthropological, which has its roots in the mists of time, and which is basically part of our being ‘social animals.’