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Managing an office from home: 3 lessons learned during the pandemic

“The New Normal”? Okay … let’s be honest. For many people, this “new normal” was a way of living that one could easily adapt to. I mean, besides the obvious nasty part about it. It seemed that people secretly appreciated it, this “the new normal” thing. Typing reports from the comfort of your own home, serious Zoom meetings with colleagues who don’t know you’re wearing your favorite Garfield pajama bottoms, taking a long walk to get you 10k steps in while on a business call. People made it work.

F *** “The New Normal”!

As an Office Manager, had I jumped on the "the new normal" bandwagon with enthusiasm like many of my colleagues? … Not so much. How the hell could I deal with this?! I am an Office Manager without an Office to manage! How could I seriously get value out of my work when the whole core of what my work consists of has suddenly disappeared! I know…. quite dramatic, but that’s how I felt for the first few weeks during this pandemic. I got slightly depressed because I really had the feeling that I couldn’t do the job without having an office.

The ACTUAL new normal!

Like a bad break-up, I think I went through different phases and after a few weeks, I was ready for change. Below are 3 lessons that have helped me to woman up!

Lesson #1: Make an inventory of all your work.

As an Office Manager I thought that all my work consisted of tasks that I could only do at the office. After clearly writing down all my tasks, I discovered that for 50% of my work I don’t actually have to be at the office.

Lesson #2: Create a day flow.

It’s very easy to get into a “lazy flow” while working from home. You are in your own environment, there is a bed, there is a TV, there is Netflix, all kinds of distractions. To have a good workflow I needed a good day flow to bring focus. My day flow consists of getting up every day at a set time, a morning and an afternoon walk, getting dressed working appropriately, and not putting on those raggedy Garfield pajama bottoms.

Lesson #3: Checking in with your colleagues

I regularly check in with my colleagues to see if they needed my help. Also, with the help of a colleague, I wrote down some general tasks that have been forgotten and that can now be picked up again.

“The New Normal”, maybe not so bad.

These lessons ensured that I had more than enough work. In fact, “the new normal” that everyone is talking about isn’t so bad after all. I don’t mind working longer if needed and I like to log off earlier if there is room for it. Look, I am only human, so I had a rough start but, in the end, it worked out pretty well.


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