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To Office or Not to Office?

The Insightful Retrospection

The day started earlier than usual. I was about to start working from office from that day. I completed my home chores and ran a quick check on the important things to be attended in the office. It was all set and nice, when I got a call from my close friend. She was a free-lance content-writer and worked from home mostly. She wished me well for my re-initiated office-days and added that she still preferred working from home to office. This statement of hers got me thinking.

Am I the only person preferring office? Am I the odd one out?

This pondering thought led my agilist mind to do a retrospection of my work culture while working from home.

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Here are my retrospection points jotted during my office ride:

What went well?

  • Office travel time, cost and strain are saved.
  • Was available for the family, always.
  • Was available for work, always.
  • Gadgets and services have increased to cater home office connectivity, home entertainment.
  • Initially health consciousness was very effective.
  • Mindful recognition of every team member’s contribution was used as a highly motivating factor.
  • Tools and practices facilitating efficient remote operation were introduced and put to use

What didn’t go well?

  • Extended work hours, sometimes without breaks.
  • Personal management and grooming took a second position.
  • Health issues came up due to improper ergonomic conditions.
  • Social bonding was difficult.
  • Informal brainstorming and spontaneous conversations reduced.
  • At times, focusing was difficult.
  • Decision-making got delayed.
  • At times, technical issues took longer resolution time.
  • “On the job” training sessions were not effective.
  • Gadgets and services have reduced family quality time.
  • In the later stage of continuous “Working from home”, health consciousness took a down slide.

Areas of Improvement

  • Stick to regular work hours and extend only if needed, be it working from office or home.
  • Get necessary tables, chairs and arrange proper lighting, it’s not a “cost”, it’s an” investment” for your body, when a remote working condition has to be re-initiated.
  • Health issues call for strict exercising and treatment.
  • Allot regular collaboration time both for work and for family and stick to the regular schedule religiously.
  • Cut down on the gadget time for all including self, instead interact more.
  • Learn to politely say “no” if you identify that you are taking more than you can chew.


  • Resume all routines stringently.
  • Plan office travel time so that it is less straining. Find the breathing time between peak traffic hours and use them well.
  • Now that we have a combination of team members working from office and home, interaction needs to be planned accordingly.
  • Initiate social bonding irrespective of hierarchy, work experience and make yourself approachable to all.
  • Learn to break work based on due dates.
  • Don’t hesitate to delegate work and rely on teamwork.
  • Plan meetings and overlapping hours (between remote team members, client) to be effective.
  • Clear communication along with face-to-face interactions will save lot of trouble in conveying technical and non-technical messages, resolving issues and dependencies
  • Continue the mindful recognition of every team member’s contribution to motivate the team
  • Continue to leverage tools and practices facilitating efficient remote operation to reduce people dependency, errors and improve self-alignment and self-discipline.

As you can see, I prefer office-working to remote-working. Adding the improvements and learnings is definitely going to further improve my office-working culture.

As we move from remote-working to office-working, I recommend everyone to retrospect their respective work culture and add those needed improvements and learnings.

I am definitely “To Office”.

Thoughts on “To Office or Not to Office?”

  1. Vishnu Aditya Ashok

    Love the article Gayathri- Personally, I didn’t quite realize how easy its been collaborating and coordinating work until my first day working from home!

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Gayathri Narayanan, SQA Manager

Have a hybrid background of engineering academics, technical writing and software process quality assurance for about 20+ years. Other than work, interested in art, writing, music.

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