For the final instalment of her blog on teleworking, Edge deputy editor Alexis Thompson, compares life in the office with a life working remotely
After a month of experimenting working from different locations, including a coffee shop, a drop-in office and from home, I’m back at my office desk and ready to face all those meetings I have scheduled in my diary and deal with the phone ringing off the hook.
For most, even on the days when it should be quiet, working in the office always seems busy – there’s always someone just ‘popping by’ with a request to find/ do something, and it’s rare that a day goes by without some kind of meeting and brainstorming session with colleagues.
Having said that, I’ve enjoyed working remotely but I have to say, it is good to be back. Being in the office 9 to 5 gives my life some sort of structure and order, and I am a people person, so I do enjoy being around my colleagues and working on projects with a team. But the main question I set out to answer before I began this blog was ‘is working from the office more productive then working remotely, or vice versa?’ I’ve written my final blog from the office to compare notes and discover which proved to be the most productive working environment for me.
My day in the office
9.30am: Arrive in office and switch on laptop then head straight down to the canteen for a cup of tea and some cereal for breakfast. I can't function without a cup of tea before starting my day!
9.40am: After a quick catch-up with colleagues, I check through my emails and then put together my ‘to do’ list for the day. I have a busy day ahead as we’re launching ILM’s new City Foundation course at Mansion House in London this afternoon and I will be going along to conduct interviews, gather quotes, etc at the event.
9.40am- 11am: Set aside some time this morning to check all the copy I have commissioned for the next issue of Edge magazine is in – some pieces are still outstanding so I send a few emails to various contacts to chase in the copy.
11am- 11.30am: Have a meeting about the launch event later today with managers and colleagues – discuss where we need to be at what time, who we should be speaking to, and how the filming will work for the interviews. Useful meeting as at least now we have a finalised schedule.
11.30am-12.30pm: Put some articles up online but keep getting side-tracked answering emails and the telephone, which has been ringing a lot this morning.
12.30-13.45pm: Pop down to the staff canteen to grab some lunch and then straight back to desk to carry on working. Don’t really have time for a proper lunch today as we’ll be leaving soon to go to the event.
13.45-2pm: Time to grab a quick cup of tea from the café next door and then quickly run through how the camera works with my editor and what equipment we’ll need to take with us to the launch.
2pm-3pm: Quickly check through the news and see if there’s anything relevant to Tweet from our Edge account, and then do a few last minute admin tasks that need completing. At 3pm we down tools and make our way to Mansion House ready for the launch.
3.30pm-6.30pm: It’s a busy but fun afternoon interviewing and filming lots of key people at the event. Myself and my editor, Helen, have a number of people to speak to about the qualification and what it will mean for the City. I learn some basic camera work skills and interview our CEO Charles Elvin about the event. The team pulls together and it all goes smoothly, so we end the day with a glass of wine to celebrate.
This particular day working from the office definitely seemed busier than the days I had been teleworking, but that was probably because we did have a launch event to attend and my day was a lot more varied. Comparing it with the days I'd worked from the drop-in office, coffee shop and at home – it has definitely been more exciting, and I always enjoy working on projects with a team. Working remotely left me feeling a little isolated, even though I could communicate with my colleagues via email and the phone, it wasn't as social and I think it's a lot more effective to communicate with people face-to-face in order to get the results you want.
I’ve enjoyed working from different locations away from the office, in particular I found working from the drop-in office to be both productive and relaxing – I was away from the distraction of my usual working environment and my workflow wasn’t interrupted by the ringing of the telephone. However, being in the office does help to give my day some structure and moreover it allows me to interact and discuss ideas/issues with colleagues. Did I find it more productive working in or out of the office? Up to some extent I was more productive working from home and the drop-in office because I had less distractions, but in terms of sharing and pushing ideas forward and making decisions, I actually found it more productive being in the office as I had my colleagues and my managers on hand to discuss things properly.
Surprisingly I've discovered that even though it's nice to be able to break the week up by working from home, a drop-in office, or a coffee shop one day a week – for me personally, I think I’d prefer to spend the majority of my working week in the office.