I left my house with my supply of masks, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and got into my car. Today is not like every other day since March 16th (almost 3.5 months ago). This day instead of taking my computer and my paperwork and taking the 15 step climb to my upstairs hideaway to go to work, I am heading to an office almost 40 minutes away. I have made the decision to head back to an office to work instead of sheltering in place. Did I have to go? No but I decided it was time to venture out into the work and see what was going on. I had been to the supermarket, the doctor’s office, a few stores and a few friend’s houses but I had never been to work.
I had talked to my managers and said to them that I needed to get out of the comfort and solitude of my hideaway and see what was happening in the outside world. I had made the decision to head out to a customer’s office, a specific customers office, because I knew the layout, had a desk that was dedicated to me and the area was divided by partitions so I basically was in a cubby hole. After the decision was made and approved by my managers and my ‘real’ boss (my wife), we decided to contact the customer and check in with them. I was very comfortable with this customer as I have been dedicating the better part of a few years working on their projects and had been working on them in seclusion since March as if I was in their office. I told them that I wanted to head into their office and asked them how they were handling the pandemic and whether they had any concerns with me entering the building. They said that they might have had a problem with others but with me, I was a regular there and always welcome as if an employee. They also said they had supplies if needed and that people were required to wear masks when social distancing was not possible and most wore them while walking around the office or sitting at their desks.
Permission received from all my stakeholders so it was time to pick a day. I decided on Wednesday as it was in the middle of the week and it would be a good day to see how things were going. I contacted a few people that I dealt with at the customer and informed them that I was coming in. Not sure if I was asking for permission but felt as we worked closely together, they should at least know we might be working even closer. I went to sleep the night before a little excited and alittle scared as I was not sure what to expect. My managers said to me that I should assess the situation and if I felt uncomfortable, to abort and head back home. I went to sleep and awoke the next morning even more excited. Today was the day.
I knew the first part of the trip was easy. 40 minutes in my car by myself and snug as a bug in a rug. Piece of cake. My car still had the same amount of gas I had back in March as I hadn’t really travelled much. My Ezpass still worked as it had the same balance I had on it. I was off. The comute was easy. it seemed like a weekend as no one was on the road. I don’t think I used my brakes until it was time to make a right into the parking lot. I did it and pulled into my usual spot. I always park 2 spots from the right and I pulled. I turned off the car and watched a few others pull up, wave, put on their mask and head it. Easy peazy. No one seemed really to be out of place and no one seemed to care. So I waited for all the people around to go in and now it was my turn. I put on my mask, grabbed my supplies and my briefcase and headed in. I got to the door and I must admit, I was a little nervous. I opened the door and the receptionist smile (I think) but could tell behind the mask and buzzed me in. Everything seemed as I left it. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I saw the wipes and the sanitizer on the wall but I had mine. I walked down the hall to the area where I sit and there were 2 of my fellow area-mates there and we said hello and had the normal morning hello with the added “look who decided to come back” and I took out my supplies and started to wipe everything down. They went back to work as I cleaned and setup my computer and papers. I then sat down and took stock of what had happened and I realized other than a few war stories that we talked about concerning the pandemic, everything was about the same. People were nice but professional. Did their job but talked about their experiences of the past 3 months but still, were there to do their job.
I worked the day and visited with a few of my colleagues. Everyone stayed at a distance and if they weren’t already wearing a mask, they put it on when I came by. We talked about out experiences and then just got down to work. I left the office about 6 pm that night and got back into my car and got ready to drive home. I thought to myself, easy peazy and pulled out of the parking lot.
I have been back 4 times over the past 4 weeks now and I had to remind a few people to wear their mask or I stayed more than 6 feet apart to distance myself but my nervousness has gone now and it just about getting the job done. The war stories of the pandemic have lessened and its back to the local sports team or politics or new gadgets we see on tv. Almost normal…