WFH – stated and revealed preferences

A few months ago, the organisation floated an optional survey about return to office. It was slightly biased, and didn’t touch upon certain areas the many WFHers wanted to get feedback on.

For me, another big issue with the survey was that it collected stated preferences, and that too with a big selection bias due to being optional.

The survey findings, summarised, were used as a reason to mandate everyone to come to office at least 2 days a week.

A month of going into office, Covid cases in UK started increasing again. The organisation removed the mandate to come to office in November, making it optional.

This made an interesting scenario to get a pulse of the revealed preferences. Some early observations…

The number of people coming into office has reduced visibly. Drastically. Equally interesting has been the split. Number of people in deep work roles, like developers, have almost completely stopped coming to office. Numbers in pipeline roles – managers of various things and people mostly – are going into office a bit more. There’s also, expectedly, a strong inverse relationship between commute time and office attendance.

Anyone wanting to do an honest, unbiased assessment of people’s preferences about coming to office, now has a good dataset readily available. Just collect and compare data of our security pass swipes for November and October.

Continue reading WFH – stated and revealed preferences

Work vs work

PN: How’s it going, Adi?

Me: It’s ok. I’m glad Wednesday’s nearly over.

PN: *laughs* You looking forward to the weekend already?

Me: No, I’m looking forward to Thursday, so I can put my head down and work.

PN: *laughs out loud*

Wednesday is the meetings filled day in our team. Tuesday is quite bad too. Thursday is a designated meetings free day in the huddle.

Happy

The whole team is working on a moderately big redesign. M & I are pairing on a spike to massively upgrade the technical implementation for a core part of the so, to support the design change.

Today, after we’d reached a significant milestone on our spike, I showed PAM1 the app as it works with the changes.

She. Loved. It!

She took it around the team showing the upgrade to everyone – other engineers, designers, PMs…Everyone. Everyone loved it, but the people who loved it the most were PAM and PN2. I could hear PN cooing over it for a long time. They both couldn’t stop smiling. Remembering the joy on their faces has plastered a smile on mine. Made my day ☺️


  1. She’s a senior UX designer playing a leading role in the redesign 
  2. He’s one of our product managers. He also co-led an earlier design upgrade which was shelved due to a change of management. Today’s change included much of the work that was part of the original plan. 

Return to office: questioning the old status quo

I got to station in time for 7.09 fast train to Waterloo, which would place me in office by 8.05.

Due to issues with Southwestern Railways, most trains are cancelled. I’m now on the 7.32 slow train. This means I’ll be in office by 9 AM if there are no delays.

Whose time does this lost hour come out of?

Will I need to work an extra hour for the late arrival? Or does the firm, which has mandated coming to office today, lose an hour of work? Or do we not talk about it, and leave bitterness festering on one or both sides?

No one had these thoughts or conversations before the pandemic. Post pandemic inforced WFH, most humans appear to have reset expectations but most organisations still seem to be stuck in the pre pandemic expectations.

Spoke too much

4 days off, and on my second day back I’m already struggling.

It was a Wednesday, the day of meetings. And I spoke in all of them, often about tangents1. Then I spent the evening fretting about speaking too much about things I shouldn’t be talking about.

Tomorrow is Thursday, the day of zero meetings. Target is to not speak to anyone about anything. Stretch target is to only speak to a couple of people about just the work I’m doing tomorrow.

I should just get Pam to jinx me2.

Continue reading Spoke too much

Me, here, now.

Work

I’m a developer now. After years of developing apps and extensions on the side, I joined as a full time Android developer last November. It’s been an interesting change, and it’ll be an interesting experiment — turning a hobby into a profession. Based on the little experience so far, there’s going to be a fine balance—learning and doing what I love vs the challenges (and learning) of working with some people.

Running

I haven’t run since early December. More than two months. I wasn’t running much before that either, not after September. Hamstring and ankle were acting up last year. That’s just one excuse. I’ve gained a lot of weight (+13Kg, Dec ’19- Dec ’20), and it puts more stress on joints. I started a new career, and started working longer hours with fewer breaks. My favourite running buddy is growing old and getting past the age for running. Bruno left us, and I was depressed about it. I’ve got plenty of excuses, no runs. I could do with a friend, and a run. Or just a Parkrun.

Gardening

I took a few cuttings last autumn. Most have survived and taken root. Some have really thrived. A few died. I planted a bunch more of tulips and hyacinths. Finally trimmed back the apple tree and roses after a couple of years. The daffodils buds are starting to appear. First crocus have flowered. I’m looking forward to spring. I’m looking forward to another summer of getting hands dirty in the garden.

Reading

Reading took a back seat in second half of last year. Probably an effect of too many good books in the first half raising expectations. I finally picked back up over December holidays, and have been keeping it going this year. I’m always up for reading recommendations, so please send me any and all.

French

Duolingo can now understand my pronunciation of most French words and phrases. I’m barely past the beginner level, but still at it. I might even say that I’m starting to enjoy the language. Finding a few good French series on Netflix has also helped keep the interest alive. If only the Paris marathon didn’t get cancelled last year :(

Personal apps & projects

I haven’t updated any of my apps and extensions since I started this job. It’s been hard to motivate myself to code more after spending hours coding in the day job. It’s hurting.

Google ended support for subscriptions in Chrome extensions earlier this year. I didn’t update the extensions; I’ve lost all paying subscribers, and they may have lost access to premium features. Dropbox is making a breaking change to their API/SDK again. I’ve got a few months to update both Todo.txt apps, or they’ll stop working for a bunch of users. I want to make some important and useful changes to a few other apps as well. The backlog is growing. And it is fuelling a latent frustration inside me, with myself.

Head & heart

Keep missing meeting parents. (And occasionally getting pissed at them). Don’t have kids, or any prospects. Chewie is growing old. Bruno was taken away. Dudley visits less often because his family are home all the time. Haven’t been outside Guildford, forget a vacation, in a long time. The learning curve at work is flattening, and people issues starting to crop up. I’m not running. I haven’t heard from a few friends in a while. I can’t go swimming. I’m still in debt. I’m not meditating. I’m way overweight and unfit.

I’m not sad, but I’m not happy. That is sad.

Continue reading Me, here, now.

A hard thing

I didn’t realise it’d be this hard. I didn’t realise it needed courage. I didn’t realise it’ll cause even more anxiety.

I didn’t realise notifying bad behaviour, and asking for help could be this hard. It was harder than ignoring or living with bad behaviour, which I’ve done in the past. It was way harder than fighting back, which I’ve done too often in the past.

I had strong support from R all the way1. I knew they were in the wrong. I knew if there’s retribution, it’s a cost I’m willing and able to pay.

Still, it was hard. Shit scary hard.

Continue reading A hard thing

Super Monday

If we were measuring life segments on a 0-10 scale, the weekend was a -10*

Today, in contrast, was a super Monday. It started at 5, quickly climbed to 8, stayed high all day, and finished at 10.

The day started well. I made the morning coffee manually for the first time since 13th October, when we bought the coffee machine. The return of this morning routine helped. Gave me a few minutes to walk around, smell the brewing coffee, and prepare for work.

I had no meetings or chats all day, other than the 10 minute morning standup. A full day of coding, reviewing, and studying with no distractions. Completed a good PR, merged two, and reviewed one.

I had a good walk with Chewie and Dudley in the afternoon. Didn’t meet any humans. FTW!

Lunch was more comfort food. Alu-methi parantha with chicken curry, and some Chewie cuddles.

Thanks to no meetings, I even finished work at 6. With a smile.

Then I went for a run. My first since early October. It was short, slow, and hard. But, I ran! Win!

A very good day, indeed**.

Continue reading Super Monday