Things I actually like about working in an office

This list will be short, and strangely there’s some overlap with yesterday’s list. Some of the things that frequently bug me about office life are still advantages over working from home. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far this week…

Nice Clothes: I’m sure the novelty would wear off in a week or two, but after 3 months of working in whatever I clothes I pull out of the closet in the morning (ok, 1 month of staying in my pajamas, then after the realisation that I felt like a total bum, 2 months of wearing whatever clothes I pull out of the closet) it feels kinda nice to put on a good pair of pants and a shirt with a collar. I just feel more professional and effective.

Stand-up Meetings: While it may be annoying to over-hear these meetings, its often fun when you realise you’ve fallen into one. You get up from a frustrating problem to get some caffeine and bump into someone else who’s been pondering the same issue. Before you know it, you’ve deep in an impromptu brainstorming session in the hallway, and you’re having a grand time debating potential solutions. You don’t get that working from home.

Regular Meetings: 95% of meetings are a waste of time, with too many heads and too many egos present to actually get anything done. But there’s that other 5% where you actually solve something or come up with a good plan of action, and it feels great. You can have these kinds of meetings over the phone, but you miss out on a fair bit of the comradery — on seeing the smiles on your co-workers faces.

Social Interaction: Its definitely great to be able to see my family during the day. I usually start work at 7am, catch up on my e-mail and other administrivia, then head up stairs for a quick coffee run at 8, and get to say good-morning to my wife and kids. Lunch time is just as nice, because I actually get to sit down with them and see them. But sometimes its nice to have mostly adult conversation — even if it is often lame and awkward. I’ve been unusually friendly this week, just because its nice to talk to people that don’t smell like puke or dirty diapers. I’m sure that’ll wear off soon.

Free Food: Usually once a week some department has some meeting or customer visit that provides an excuse to order in catering. I’ve become an expert at surreptitiously snagging some food as I stroll by. And during the summer there’s usually some kind of staff BBQ a couple times a month. Free food is the best kind.

Tomorrow’s my last day at the office, likely for the rest of the year. Over all, I still think I prefer my home office set-up — I have a better desk, a better chair, a better network, and a much better place to sit during conference calls. But its been good to be back in the cube farm for awhile. Plus the TV show starts back up again soon, so I’ll get my fix of office life from a much more entertaining source.

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