30 September 2013

Location location location

Earlier this year, I received news at work that sent my anxiety levels sky-high. 

Was I under threat of redundancy? Did they expect me to take on extra responsibilities? Had a colleague resigned? 

No, the news was that they proposed to move our team of six to another bank of desks.

For most people, the idea of shifting 30ft to the left would probably be no more than mildly irritating. For me, it was a truly daunting prospect. I had no desire to uproot myself from the comfortable nest I'd created: after nearly two years, the patterns of the objects on my desk, and in my drawers, were well established. 
Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan/

Prior to transferring to that area, I'd worked a split week of two days there and three in my old office, which had enabled me to prepare gradually for the permanent move.

I'd spent a huge amount of time, after office hours, cleaning all the surfaces with antiseptic wipes, emptying out the previous occupant's belongings, and deciding where to put mine. That quiet time had given me the privacy to straighten and order for as long as I'd needed to, without attracting odd looks or irritating others. I wouldn't have the luxury of doing that, if I had to relocate again.

For weeks, I hoped against hope that the move wouldn't happen. It wasn't actually practical, as it would take us further away from the managers we worked with. Maybe somebody would see sense and the decision would be reversed? 

It was not to be.

The move was complicated by the fact that I would be on leave at the time. So, not only did I have to wind up my work for my holiday, but also pack my stuff into boxes. I would then return to a muddle, while my colleagues would already be established in their new homes, having moved the day before. 

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/
And I'd have to create my new order in front of them. Ideally, I'd have copied the layout of my old desk, but the new one was a different shape, necessitating a complete re-think as to what went where. 

I dreaded going back to work.

The first task, when I returned, was to wipe down my desk and all of the equipment. I felt I needed to explain myself, but my colleagues reassured me that they had done the same. They also admitted to having spent most of the morning getting settled in. Time-wise, at least, that took the pressure off.

Predictably, of course, they were all too busy to pay attention to what I was doing, which also reduced my stress. 

In the end, I managed to set up my new nest in less than an hour and a half, and feel comfortable enough in it to get on with tackling the holiday backlog. It took me months, though, to get used to the new patterns and to stop reaching for things in the wrong place. 

Thank goodness we don't have to hot-desk like most of our colleagues: setting up my desk from scratch on a daily basis would hardly be conducive to getting through the 'to do' list.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like maybe the anticipation of the move turned out to be worse than the actual event? Either way, glad you're settled in!

Helen Barbour said...

Indeed it was. But, of course, that so often turns out to be the case when I'm anxious about something! Anxiety really is a time-consuming, energy-sapping thing. You'd think I'd have learnt by now how pointless it is to worry...

Cheryl said...

Anyone with any sense wipes down the desk and stuff if they move in the office. My whole department moved a couple of weeks ago, and the manager even provided a box of wipes!

Helen Barbour said...

I agree, especially with all the bugs - stomach, cold, flu et al - that fly around our place!