How does it look like to finally get to the office?
Since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and changes to the working guidance, returning to office has become a possible choice for researchers. However, in my case, ‘return’ is not an accurate term. I started to work as an early-stage researcher remotely in the early days of lockdowns in 2020. Since then, I have been working from home. Eventually, this week I got the opportunity to work physically at the University of York after more than a year and meet some colleagues. Hooray!
Once I started my work last year far from the UK, I thought that the situation would go back to normal in a short time, and soon I would be able to travel and continue to work at the university. As people might guess, it turned out that ‘soon’ wasn’t really soon! It took about six months after that date which I could travel to the UK, and another 11 months to finally work physically at the university. While I can’t tell work from home in the last couple of months was joyful (as it wasn’t!), its convenience is undeniable. Besides, I took advantage of this unwanted opportunity and improve my cooking skills!
Figure 1 – Campus East, University of York
Changing the workplace is not easy as it may seem. We have developed numerous habits while working in a place for more than a year; especially, in the COVID situation where people have to convert their homes into a home office. They may include everything about our lifestyles such as dietary, sleep time, working hours flexibility and even our dress. Some people find it easy to change their workplace almost instantly. For others, it may take a while to adjust themselves to a new workplace. They should deal with some simple challenges such as wearing more formal clothes, changes in environmental elements like lighting, natural sounds and even new desks and chairs or even commuting. It had been a while since I considered commuting as a thing. (Except for that couple of steps in the home to the desk!). However, the challenges could be helpful, too. After all, experiencing old routines again (or, in my case, some totally new ones) could improve productivity and lead us to have better work efficiency. Especially during the PhD program, in which there is always more works to do!
Figure 2a – First day at the new office
Figure 2b – First day at the new office
The first day of work from university was exciting. While most of my colleagues still work from home, I got the chance to meet with some of them face to face for the first time. Though because of COVID-19 measures, the department environment has not been fully restored, and some facilities such as the kitchen area are not fully available. An interesting part of the University of York is its wildlife, especially the geese that always honk from behind the window! At first, it might feel like a distraction, but eventually, it emerges into background sounds and doesn’t bother at all.
Is the new workplace meet my expectation? Of course, it is. This is a great opportunity for me, and I hope I will take full advantage of it!
About the Author: Mohammad Tishehzan
Mohammad obtained his master’s degree in electrical engineering (field and wave) from the Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran (2019). For his master’s project, he focused on analyzing and developing radar-based microwave imaging for medical purposes. Besides, he has several years of experience in EMC and RF compliance testing industry.