in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #250 — The Works

Things are getting Christmassy. Boxes of chocolate biscuits have been cracked open in the office and I’ve found myself nibbling the more extravagant chocolates that have been gifted to colleagues from clients. Particularly when nobody’s looking.

Work commitments and social events meant that for the first time in a while I spent Monday to Thursday in the office. Once again I found myself wondering how I used to commute five days a wee for many weeks at a time. I really noticed the impact of not being able to exercise on my sense of wellbeing; getting back on my bike on Friday morning was wonderful and set me up for the day. I’ve also realised that I’m allergic to ‘perc’, the solvent used in dry cleaning; a day of wearing work trousers results in my legs itching for days afterwards. Our dry cleaner told me that nobody has ever mentioned it before. It can’t just be me?

On Wednesday we had our end-of-year regional ‘town hall’ meeting to reflect on the past twelve months and celebrate the winners of our internal awards. Panic set in on Monday when we found that the camera in our event space wasn’t working; it was eventually traced to a faulty cable which was swapped out on the morning of the event. We then had a power failure during the broadcast, but due to the resiliency that had been designed in, nobody noticed. The event itself went without a hitch. (This is what happens behind the scenes, people.)

Most of the office went out that night for the Christmas party, a black tie event at an iconic venue in central London. I’d declined to go, mainly because the idea of coordinating the logistics of different outfits and navigating late night trains filled me with angst. Perhaps it was the memories of the office Christmas parties of the past. Everyone had a wonderful time and the pictures were stunning, but on Wednesday night I felt grateful to be at home, tucked up on the sofa.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my role at work and mentally preparing for next year. There’s much to do.

This was a week in which I:

  • Spent a lot of time in project meetings for the new offices that we are moving into in a couple of our locations.
  • Met with colleagues to run through the potential operational and project risks for the office projects.
  • Made some crude revisions to the floor plan of one of our spaces and sent it back to the building architects.
  • Continued the workshop to review the status of the components of our offices and to refine the strategy and philosophy for each item.
  • Created and sent a questionnaire to an office space vendor to clarify details of how the setup might work.
  • Agreed in principle how we plan to work with a vendor that specialises in the meshing of office spaces with technology.
  • Met to agree a plan to resolve audio quality issues with one of our key meeting rooms.
  • Had our monthly operational risk review meeting.
  • Met with a team who have been working on a proposal for improving our ‘know your customer’ (KYC) workflow across our global organisation.
  • Had a follow-up meeting to discuss the taxonomy of document organisation within one of our functions.
  • Attended an excellent internal meetup organised by our Delivery Management Community of Practice on the topic of Value Stream Management. I’ve never seen so many cameras on in one meeting before; it was amazing.
  • Joined the monthly Teams Fireside Chat with Ilya Bukshteyn, Microsoft’s lead for Teams Calling and Devices. There’s nothing quite like getting your questions answered by the person directly responsible for the technology. I asked whether a solution is coming for being able to share Microsoft Teams Room devices between different organisations. He said that they get this question all the time from organisations like hotel chains; the answer is that it’s a difficult problem and won’t be looked at until 2025 at the earliest.
  • Took part in the office fire drill.
  • Spent time with one of our divisional CIOs who was in town for the day.
  • Prepared and ran a quiz using Kahoot! for our final all-team meeting of the year. It’s not cheap, but it’s quick to set up and works well. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
  • Used ChatGPT to help me with my Christmas shopping. I started with a plea for help and narrowed the focus to small, boutique shops that sold the kind of things that I was looking for. It worked pretty well and seemed much better than wading through pages of search engine results.1
  • Loved hosting this month’s Album Club. I can’t believe it’s taken me 12 years to get around to picking a Queen album. Lining it up for everyone to hear made me feel like an excited kid again.
  • Met up with two very old friends that I first met at university back in the late 1990s. It had been about eight years since we last met up so we had plenty to talk about. Names of things I thought I had long forgotten were brought up and made me chuckle. Great to see them.
We’ve come a long way from the computer labs all those years ago.

We’ve come a long way from the computer labs all those years ago.

  • Was so pleased to see my brother starting an excellent new role after having had some time out for a while.
  • Discovered that I own digital copies of a lots of albums that I have bought in physical format over the past few years. Amazon offer their AutoRip feature for certain albums, adding them to your Amazon Music library when you buy a physical copy. Installing the Amazon Music client on my computer meant that I could download whole albums and move them into my collection. When I’m out and about I mainly use Plexamp to listen to music streamed from my network drive, so having these albums added to my digital library is great.

Next week: Getting down to work as the diary continues to open up.

  1. ChatGPT seems to be having some issues right now, with disappearing responses and regular reports of a ‘network error’. I ended up resorting to taking screenshots of responses in case I lost the output, and resubmitting my prompts multiple times. 

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