Working from home to going back to the office

A junior UX designer starting a new job in the big city, then having it to rethink what work is

I started working at IB as a junior UX designer early 2020. I was getting used to waking up at 6 in the morning to make my hour-long commute to work. I loved working in the office because it was something I had never really experienced before, having my own desk, working collaboratively with other people and working on a mix of client projects. I was getting into the routine of long travel times, rushing around and feeling like I needed to be doing everything all at once. I had just started getting into the groove of working in an office and then it all stopped.


The coronavirus pandemic hit, and I was suddenly working from home. I was lucky to still have a job but I couldn’t help thinking that I had taken a massive step back. I still needed to meet deadlines, be positive and keep up my creativity all whilst working in a small box room. It’s hard not being able to turn around in your office chair and ask a question to your colleague, instead you have long threads of messages back and forth. I had no physical boundary between me and work as I had to work from my bedroom. I realised that my commute home was a way to unwind which I didn’t have anymore. I’d find myself thinking about work in the evening because my notes from the day would always be there. My story isn’t unique, I know everyone working from home felt like this.  

Well, 6 months later I’m back in the office!

I waited for this day to come, where I could put on proper work clothes, sit at my desk and feel somewhat normal again. I can now have office chats to break up the day instead of staring at a screen and getting overwhelmed by my thoughts. Our office has moved out of greater London and I can now walk to work. This change of lifestyle has been great. I used to feel like I needed to be doing everything at once, meet friends and family, rush to catch trains, be my best self. But I love this more relaxed environment where I can walk to work, wake up later, facetime my friends and family, and have more downtime to do what enjoy. My mindset has changed, and I now find it easier to be inspired by the little things. We face into London and I get a great view of the planes landing at Heathrow, I’ve downloaded a flight tracker app so I can see where they came from and I now find inspiration in watching the planes pass by while I work.

This change of lifestyle has been sudden and overwhelming, but it has been so beneficial to me. The office building isn’t back to normal yet, there is hardly anyone walking around the corridors and the white concrete walls make it feel like a ghost town. But the office is vibrant and full of plants and occasional games of Mario Kart. I find completing my work more self-gratifying for some reason and I’m hoping that it will only become more normal from here.