I spent 17 months working remotely during the pandemic. Now I'm back in the office and 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.
When Insider offered me a job in July 2020, I knew I'd start off working remotely.
At the start of the pandemic I'd left my house share in Newcastle, in the north of England, and moved back in with my parents in Bradford, like many other people in their 20s. I joined Insider as an intern in August 2020 and was told I'd be working from home to start with.
Because I was on a six-month contract and the office wasn't open, I didn't see any need to move to London.
I get on really well with my parents, rent in London is incredibly high, I wouldn't be able to go to the office anyway, and all my
Even when I was made permanent and Insider reopened its office in summer 2021, I still decided to continue working from home in Bradford.
I was sometimes jealous of my colleagues spending time together, but I had huge anxiety about moving to London. I was worried about not making friends and not adapting well to working from the office.
Instead, I waited until a friend was ready to move to London – and I'm really glad I did. Knowing that he'd be my flatmate was a massive comfort.
Working from home has its perks. You don't have to commute or dress smartly and it's easy to adapt 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 bedroom all day and speaking on video calls to the same few people every week. I'd met two colleagues in person, but there were loads of people who I worked with closely yet had never spoken to face to face.
So after I moved to London and England lifted its work-from-home guidance in January, I decided to visit the office for the first time.
I was really anxious. I was worried my colleagues wouldn't like me and stressed about 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 wore and whether they brought lunch from home. Having this conversation was a huge comfort to me, and she agreed to meet me outside the office on my 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'd spoken to for months online but had never met and spend my lunch breaks with people from other teams who I hadn't come across on Slack.
Sometimes my colleagues bring in cake to work. Occasionally we'll go for a walk together on our lunch breaks. Rather than grudgingly rolling out of bed to shuffle over to my desk each morning, I find myself looking forward to going to work.
I'm never sure who'll be in the office, and I meet new people every day. After 17 months working from home, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.
And as well as the social side of it, working in the office feels much more collaborative. I have better awareness of what my teammates are working on and can get their opinions on my work more easily.
Cumbersome messages starting with Slack formalities ("Hi! I hope you're well and had a good weekend") can be replaced with a 30-second chat at someone's desk.
I really enjoy working in the office – but I'm glad I didn't rush my decision to relocate.
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