Photo by Christin Hume / Unsplash
It has been about 6 months since people start saying "oh things are gonna go back to normal very soon", and it seems like a lot of companies are either waiting to see what the new norm will be, or just go straight back to office all the time. So it only makes sense that I also start thinking more carefully on what exactly am I looking for, and what can I do to make that come true.
Status quo: Pre-pandemic
Before pandemic, I have always work in the office, and that has always been a no-brainier.
- When I got my first job, I was trying to move away from HK 🇭🇰, so a job that asks me to show up to office is probably a bare minimum requirement.
- In the beginning of my life in Berlin, I have a lot to learn, both professionally and recreationally. Even to this date, most of my friends I've made are from places I have work(ed). And being able to "hang out in the office after TGIF, because I am not comfortable at saying 'No'" actually helped me to learn how to interact with people
- (I need to check, but I vaguely remember that I still can't take a full time remote job if I want to live in Germany, until I got my German together and get a resident permit)
That means 40(-ish) hours per week, Monday to Friday, 9-to-5(-ish), for 3 full years. And that also means 1-2 hours of round-trip commute everyday (somehow I usually live as far from office as possible), arriving at the offic
Status quo: During pandemic
Just like most tech workers, I start working from home in early 2020, and apart from moving from WG (i.e. "Wohngemeinschaft" shared flat) to my own rental apartment, there isn't anything special. Still 40(-ish++) hours per week, Monday to Friday, 9-to-5(-ish).
The biggest difference is that now I don't have to pack my bag, change to something more reasonable, and commute. I can spend the extra hours sleeping, exercising, or just start working earlier (which I am avoiding as much as possible). And generally speaking that is a pretty nice experience, because it give me more flexibility for my time. The reason why I can't say for sure is because it's just so many things happening at the same time, i.e. it's not a control environment to see if "no commute = better productivity".
Another major takeaway I have with this whole WFH situation is that, I got stressed out just by being in the office. I am sure seating right next to the corridor, which itself is next to the bathroom, does not help at all, which is why quite often I just took my laptop, go to a different floor, and sit next to the high chairs staring outside the window. I don't mind working in open space, in fact, one of my favourite weekend activity is to just bring my laptop to Starbucks (I know I am basic), and just write random code/blog post/browse the interenet. However, when it comes to 9-to-5 jobs, the idea that everyone arounds me can just look at my screen and see if I am actually working, that just stresses me out.
What am I looking forward to
Now that with 1 shot of vaccine in my body, the idea of "things going back to normal" is what most people have in their mind. And this is what I would like
A "mostly remote" hybrid model
The word "hybrid model" has been thrown around a lot, but obviously it is up for interpretation. And for me personally, due to the whole "I am 4 years in Berlin and still can't speak B1 German" situation, I can't do full remote. Besides, I enjoy TGIF, and just hanging out with my colleges and friends. However, since I have deduced that I don't enjoy the stress associated with open offices, I also wouldn't want to do full time in-office again. What I would prefer is a mostly remote environment, in which I can go to whichever cafe I feel the most productive & happy to be in; and the occational in-office meeting, followed by a series of relax and just fun chit-chat with my colleges.
Well, this feels a bit anti-climatic for having such a short answer. I don't really have much to add to "why I want a mostly remote hybrid working environment", plus this is just what I'd like, not "what everyone should do". So I'm just gonna leave this here.
Before I go, just 1 minor thing to point out: this is all assuming I will be working the same type of job (developer/manager to developer/IT in general). If I decided to change my career to do something entirely different, that would be another story obviously. With that out of the way, have a nice day everyone! 👋