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Wednesday 1 September 2021

Pink and Green, Returning to the Office and Link-Up


Pink and green are a punchy fashion combination as over-60s style blogger Gail Hanlon, from is This Mutton, shows

Hello dear friends. So it's back to the office soon for me, but just for two days a week. I have mixed feelings about it. 

Two days is better than three, which is what I did pre-pandemic. I don't mind the commute too much because the one hour fifteen minute drive (on a good day) was podcast time.  I'm not too devastated about the loss of walking time, because I used to build a shorter walk into my days at lunchtime, and in Cambridge.

What I am concerned about is productivity and possibly even longer working hours.

Even longer hours? 

I'm sure you're wondering about those longer hours.  The perception persists that office workers are not doing much work at home. Well, let me tell you, the reverse is true!

The New Normal for me became longer hours because the US teams started scheduling later meetings. With the eight hour time difference between UK and California, the window for US meetings used to be 3pm to 5pm, but now it's anything up to 8pm.  

I'm wondering if those late US meetings will persist, because the earlier window is already booked solid for most of us. 

I'm an early riser, up at 6am, tidying the kitchen, sorting breakfast, reading the paper, doing some blog admin and then going for a long walk before starting work at 9.30. 

It can be a long day, and has to involve careful planning if I'm in late meetings because the hubster doesn't cook and likes to eat at 6pm. I have to have something ready that he can throw in the oven, with accompanying salad or vegetables prepared for him. 

Less productive in the office

The other thing that bothers me is productivity while in the office.  My job revolves around formulating plans using Powerpoint, and executing using Zoom meetings, email, Slack and the other Office apps.  Pre-pandemic, we all had our own desk in the office, and this was obviously in the optimum configuration for working in an ergonomic way, and avoiding future issues like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and RSI. 

We have a vast new building but it's already full, so there aren't enough desks for all the marketing folk. So I will be hot desking, and I find that a miserable experience.  You take your own keyboard and mouse and hope the docking station is compatible  (not everyone has the same PC), and that the monitors will suddenly burst into life so that you don't have to scrabble around on the floor.

After the initial excitement of being back in the office has worn off, the reality will be: finding it harder to do the usual work; having to stay in the office longer, and finding that many meetings are still conducted over Zoom because a) they involve other time zones, and b) colleagues in the UK office, from other teams, may be on a different schedule of when they are in the office.

Young people can still thrive while home working 

Some companies are trying to force their staff back, full-time, and these efforts will backfire.  News reports have been critical of older workers who are less keen to return, saying that younger workers need to learn from them and they're effectively being selfish by prioritising their work life balance over the future work force. 

My view is we need to build a new normal where it's not seen as essential to be present in the office all the time. Managers can still mentor and coach their teams online. Many companies offer mentoring schemes where experienced managers can offer advice. 

This can all be done effectively on line, but both manager and employee need to make it happen. In my experiece, what young people need is coaching in is how to deal with situations that may be new to them, or where they need advice on how to "play the system." Example:  how to pitch a new idea to a group that is entrenched in old behaviours and averse to new thinking. 

Most of us have proved we can be more productive working from home. The company I work for has has gone from strength to strength, even though it's an immensely stressful period with a takeover pending and uncertainty over the future.

Less commuting means less pollution;  companies will need less office space (saving money).  Johnson and co are forever going on about the small businesses that support office workers - the sandwich shops and so on. But takeaway sales have soared, so they need to adapt their model and start delivering to homes rather than businesses. 

Where companies insist on staff going back five days a week, it highlights a paranoid culture of control freak managers. The pandemic brought forward  change in our working lives that was coming, slowly. It accelerated the rate of change, and it's all good. Flexible working is hopefully here to stay, and no longer a perk that firms will grant (or deny) staff after a request has been sat on for three months. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in bright pink cropped trousers and light green linen top with lime bag and fucbsia sandals

Today's Outfit

I'm still resisting posts about transitioning outfits, even though summer seems to have gone for good this year.  Some regions of the UK had good weather last week but it was mostly cool and grey in the South East, and by the weekend it's going to rain even more than we're used to. (!)

I found a good hour of weak sunshine, early in the morning,  to take these pictures. 

I love the combination of green and pink, and this is a Paradise Green linen top from Kettlewell with pink crops from Roman.  I have't had anything in linen for years because I hate the way it creases, but this top is good quality and doesn't wrinkle as you wear it. The cute bag is from The Cambridge Satchel Company. Necklace is by Glowbeads and the sandals are old, you have seen them many times, originally from Topshop. 

Nothing was gifted for this post and no affiliate links were used. 

Is This Mutton shares a personal view on returning the office versus home working, and wears pink and green

If you're an office worker or retired, or have children in the early stages of their career, I'd love to hear your views on The Return to the Office in the comments. 

Join me on Friday for #FridayFavourites, my look at TV, podcasts and books I've consumed over the past month. 

Sharing this post with:  Beauty by Miss L, On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Thursday Moda at Elegance and Mommyhood, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile  at StylesplashTFF at Doused in PinkLizzie in Lace Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine WhateverFabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette #TheWednesdayLinkUp at Claire Justine, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion StyleStyle Six at This Blonde's Shopping Bag Happiness is Homemade at Life as a Leo Wife 

Now it's time for #WowOnWednesday, the link-up where where readers can find new blogs and bloggers can find new readers. A lot of the bloggers join the link-up on subsequent days, when they have new posts, so it's worth checking back! 

Readers' Favourites

Mireille at Chez Mireille - "Inspired by Pinterest and a Pair of Cowboy Boots".  Mireille followed the example of other bloggers in using Pinterest to find inspiration for how to wear her prized cowboy boots, and found a great location for the pictures. 

Wendy from The Inspired Eater with "The Strategy I Use to Maintain my Optimism as I Lose." If you haven't discovered Wendy's site yet, you're missing out. Wise words of wisdom with wit as she describes how to lose weight and keep it off, but not in the usual way!  Here she describes how to deal with sudden food cravings, and the cure involves podcasts and hard rock (or soft jazz, if that's your thing). 

Is This Mutton Favourite

My Bedroom Makeover by Cheryl from Cheryl Shops. Who doesn't enjoy a peak at someone else's house? And I need the inspo, because so much now needs doing in our house yet neither of us seem to have the motivation. Cheryl has given her bedroom a serene and tranquil look.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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