Lately, it feels like I’m being pulled in two directions…
Octopus Group’s Nicole Jones analyses what’s good and bad about working from home (WFH) but more to the point, where does she do her best work?
OG Towers is back open for (socially distanced, deep-cleaned) business. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) wants me back in the office. Rishi Sunak wants me back in Pret.
And my boyfriend is really just desperate for me to sod off at least three days a week. (Apparently I ‘talk too loudly’ on the phone.) But there are plenty of benefits to WFH… Like getting all the laundry done midweek, and cracking out a few downward dogs in my lunch hour.
Where do I work best?
It’s a hard call to make, and in a world where (OG being the sensible employer they are) we can increasingly choose where we work, I don’t know what to do for the best. So more and more, I’m asking a new question. With different tasks on my to-do list: where do I work best?
Ideation and creative: The office
I had a beautiful moment, the other day. It was the first time in approx. three months that I looked at a creative problem, tried to figure out how I could tackle it, and the solution rolled out before me in my mind’s eye, like a glorious, B2B-markety red carpet.
And then I said it out loud and the two people in the room with me said: yeah, that’s the one.
The idea-generating aspect of my role hit a serious wall after a few months of lockdown. At times, I felt like the ideas-generating bit of my brain had withered away into nothingness, leading to a genuine existential crisis about whether or not I am in fact Completely Useless. Nope, turns out I just need the spark of human company to have good ideas. When it comes to creativity, it’s the office all day long.
Blog writing: Home
I’m going to go home, for this one. Once you’ve factored in a few Zoom calls and a bit of admin, it takes me about a day to craft a solid, 800-word blog. And there’s just something really satisfying about starting out with a blank page at 8am, ending up a 4.30 with the finished article before me, and slamming the laptop lid closed.
Thought leadership and eBooks: The office
’Nic, why are you perfectly happy to write an 800 word blog from home, but want to be in the office for anything longer?’
You may well ask. Look, call me a princess, but I need a Big Screen when I’m dealing with facts, figures, graphs and research. Also, I (like many 20-somethings) don’t have room for a proper sized desk in my flat. I caved and bought the smallest one I could find about two months into lockdown, and OG kindly sent me a desk chair too. But it’s just not ergonomic. My hip pain is real. If I need to be at a desk for two days solid, writing a meaty bit of thought leadership, it’s got to be the office.
Proofreading and copy editing: Home
Can easily be handled on one screen, not two, ergo I can do it with my laptop on my knees, sat on my balcony. Also best done (IMO) in perfect silence, i.e. without Head of Copy Jamie Fewery singing tunelessly over my shoulder. It’s a clear WFH winner.
Literally any task that involves consulting a spreadsheet: The office
Excel spreadsheets trigger a nervous cortisol response in me, and I don’t want that negative energy anywhere near my sofa.
Daily team meeting: Home
I’m torn. I always enjoyed our daily stands up: Creative Director Dave Montrose chowing down on a PBJ. Studio Manager G calling the shots. Marketing Automation Expert Luke Whitton, wandering by and joining in for no real reason…
On the other, our 10am team video calls have been one of my undisputed lockdown highlights. And I bloody love a bit of interior design, so I’ve enjoyed nosing at everyone’s living rooms. Sod it, I’m going to go home.
Fielding quick requests: The office
‘God, I wish people wouldn’t interrupt me when I’m at my desk,’ I used to think, moodily. ‘I’m trying to write over here. It’s very disruptive.’
Oh, past me. How little you knew. ‘Hopping on a quick video call’ and having to frantically draw my eyebrows on is INFINITELY more disruptive than somebody taking a perfectly reasonable 30 seconds to ask me a quick question. It’s the office all the way for this one.
Home, obviously. I’m not a maniac.