If it wasn’t for the fact that the train operator is running a reduced timetable “that reflects the current demand for our services”, I would say that the commute to work is now back to the pre-COVID-19 experience. The trains are packed both into and out of London, often standing room only at peak times. I’m enjoying the fact that going into the office feels like just another thing that I do now and isn’t a big deal. I still love working from home and the benefits that it brings, but being in the office doesn’t feel as much of a bother as it was at first. We had a four-day week due to the early May bank holiday in the UK, and I found myself in the office for three of those days. It’s definitely enough.
A week in which I:
- Exhausted myself on the bank holiday by going for a decent run and then spending over ten hours painting two sides of our garden fence. I felt like a consultancy who had bid too low on a job and had to see it through for reputational reasons. I still have the panels at the back to do, but they will have to wait for another weekend where I have a day to spare. I’m really pleased with the end result. Having a vast backlog of podcast episodes to listen to was a great help. I’m not sure the spray tool that I bought for the job did much to help, so next time I’ll need to remember to just use a paint pot and a big brush.
- Said goodbye to one of my team members as he moves onto his next chapter with a move abroad. It was great to see him one last time in person before he left us. He was a very popular colleague and will be missed.
- Had a meeting with the team and vendors involved in our annual investors’ conference. There are still lots of variables; from a planning perspective it would be good to fix them as soon as we can, but there is value in keeping things fluid for a few more weeks.
- Met with our audio/visual vendor to discuss our two most complex rooms in our London office, and what we can do to improve things in the short term ahead of some more fundamental changes.
- Had two members of the audio/visual vendor come on-site to get our office collaboration space up and running with a permanent solution for hybrid ‘town hall’-style meetings. We still have a lot to do to optimise the space, but the technology has taken a big step forward thanks to their help.
- Wrote, edited and sent out communications on our planned move to Teams telephony in our London office next week.
- Caught up with our front office business manager on a project we ran a couple of years ago to fundamentally change the way we manage unstructured data. Agreed that it is time to revisit the principles and run some refresher training.
- Spoke to one of the potential digital signage vendors about the next steps in testing their solution in our environment.
- Spent time with our CIO to discuss and agree how to represent our project portfolio. I need to try and spend more time in this space if I can.
- Started thinking about and researching how we can increase digital literacy in our part of the organisation.
- Took part in a meeting on an initiative to revamp how we create and manage our internal and external presentations. It got me thinking about the excellent Clear Writing For Busy Readers training I did a few years ago.
- Attended a surprise online celebration for a colleague who has 40 years of service with the company.
- Enjoyed the first weekly buffet lunch in our London office. They’ve been scheduled to take place every Tuesday. Hopefully people won’t just grab some food and head back to their desks. I think these things need a little curation to make them work, but the first one was pretty good as I ended up talking to some colleagues that I don’t usually interact with.
- Prepped and then chaired our school governor Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee meeting. I joined the meeting from my office; although it meant I was home late I much preferred it to the evenings pre-pandemic where I used to have to rush away early from work to get to school. As part of the preparation I for the meeting I brought our projects/big spend list up-to-date and plan to keep it current for future meetings.
- Had an hour to make a decision about buying a ticket to a gig next week. The venue only holds 150 people and it’s been a while since I’ve gigged solo, so I decided to go. I’m not that familiar with the artist’s work but from what I’ve heard so far it should be great.
- Cleared out our bedroom so that it could be repainted, along with our downstairs toilet. All done in a few days and we’re back in again. They look great.
- Enjoyed listening to a whole Erasure album for the first time at Album Club. I know lots of their singles but had never listened to a whole album. This is one of the many, many reasons why Album Club is so wonderful.
- Didn’t make it out for the cycling club ride on Saturday, opting for an indoor ride instead. We had a little rain which wasn’t forecast and I couldn’t bring myself to contemplate cleaning the bike after the ride. After the past couple of weeks it was quite good to have a less demanding exercise schedule. I’ll get back on it again next week.
- Had a friend over again to watch the Formula 1 race on Sunday evening. I’m loving sharing the excitement of the races.
- Spent Saturday evening at the Centre for Computing History for a Dev Talk on 25 Years of GoldenEye. Three of the original development team members were on stage — Martin Hollis, Dr. David Doak and Brett Jones — and they kept the audience transfixed with the stories of their experiences. I’ve never been much of a gamer but I have many happy memories of playing hours and hours of GoldenEye with my friends, back in the days when I had far less obligations and responsibilities. The development work seemed to fall somewhere between the small teams of the 1980s and the larger teams of the modern era. They had to make do without the Internet as a reference tool, meeting the challenges of fitting the code within the restrictions to processing power of late-1990s consoles. It was fascinating to learn that the multiplayer mode which made the game live so long in the collective memory was added just four months before their deadline. The museum itself is a wonderful place and it was fantastic to see the CEO Jason Fitzpatrick again; I first met him at the BBC Micro 30th birthday party about a decade ago, before the museum was established.
Next week: A big go-live of our Teams telephones in London,a work social event and a solo trip to a gig.