Over this second Lockdown, it appears that quite a few companies have decided to move out of the building where my office sits. Some have found that they can cope just fine entirely working from home, some have moved elsewhere, and some (I’m pretty sure) have just given up the ghost.
However, taking some advantage of that, I’ve been able to move my office to a larger/better one with minimum hassle.
The one I was in was OK, but had an issue with *very* thin walls – studwork walls, in an 80’s open-plan setup that was then converted to house multiple small businesses – to the extent that I could hear phone calls and conversations from the offices either side of mine, with absolute clarity. (Which meant I knew *way* more about their clients than I ever wanted to) And with the new prevalence of video-calls and so on, that’s even more of a factor.
The new one is better built, better lit, and larger. I’m paying a bit more for it, but it’s well within manageable levels. The only downside (at the moment) is that the fluorescent tube lights in it are noisy, with a buzz that I can hear all the time. However, I’ve raised that as an issue, and been able to get them to agree to change them to new lamps with an electronic ballast – I don’t have a clue, but apparently it’ll mean it runs silently. And if it doesn’t, well I’ll just unplug them, as I have in other offices.
Even better, the move was easy as chuff. It took two hours to move everything from one to the other, and get it all set up. I’ve probably got some layout changes to make, a couple of things to buy (a new office chair, for example, once Lockdown is over) , but it’s all good. I’m happy with the new unit, and hopefully it’ll be home for another couple of years.
As well as all the other stuff I was doing last week, I also moved office. As you do. Because of course life wasn’t already busy enough, and all that.
As it was, it wasn’t that much of a slog – I’ve stayed in the same building, but moved three floors down, and to the other end. So why move?
Basically, the previous office (which I moved to about a year ago) suffered from the absolutely shitty combination of ridiculously thin stud walls, and being surrounded by excessively noisy and selfish people. It was tolerable for a short(ish) while, but all told it conspired to end up pissing me off.
Of the three companies around my office, I had one lot who simply operated at maximum volume all the time, and who I could hear through the ‘wall’ all day every day. I had one lot who weren’t too bad, but were a counselling organisation so you’d sometimes be able to hear people breaking down and crying etc. in the middle of a session. And the final lot were just incapable of closing their door, so again I could hear everything that they did. (And if I returned the compliment and left my door open with the radio on, would complain that I was disturbing them, while paying absolutely no heed to the fact they were doing the same consistently)
There were other bits too that ended up pissing me off – the way others would turn all the lights on, but be incapable of then turning them off again (I suspect they had partners at home who just followed them around turning stuff off, as they were so incapable of doing so) and leaving the communal toilets either stuffed full of bog roll, or completely unflushed – and doing so Every. Fucking. Day.
So all told it just got to be too much, and I wasn’t enjoying going to work. I looked at offices in other places (particularly with the added issues of the commute for the next two-ish years) However, none of the ones I looked at had the convenience of location and facilities around, and all seemed to be at least three times as expensive as where I currently am.
However, I ended up talking about that with one of the directors of the foundation that owns the current building, and it turned out that a different unit was just becoming available. Ideal. Quieter end of the building, better walls, and just generally an improvement.
As is traditional round these D4D parts, I lay out my hopes and/or plans for the coming year on my birthday. Like New Year’s Resolutions (and as likely to be completed, it seems) but on a different arbitrary date. Because why not? It’s as good a day as any.
That list for last year (2016/17) wasn’t massively successful, mainly due to my inability to get out less, so I’m hoping to be slightly more realistic this year…
So, the plan for the coming year is…
- Keep rebuilding the finances, adding to savings and so on.
By the end of this year, I’ll have completed the whole bankruptcy process, and it should be off my credit history. (As I understand it. Some people have said it only comes off at six years from the end of the bankruptcy period, which’d make it September 2019. We’ll see)
- Exercise more, lose weight, improve health
Another ongoing process, carried over from 2016/17
- Complete September’s walking marathon
This imploded epically in 2017, so it’s another carry-over. And this year I’ll do some more training, and not destroy my feet four weeks before it…
- Write more
Actually complete some stuff, and see what to do with it from there.
I’ve also got some tech answers to this, giving me more time and space for writing (I hope)
- Do less
I’ve written about this before, but I am *really* bad at doing nothing. Lazy days do my head in, and I end up feeling stupidly guilty about “wasting” a day. But conversely, I’m acknowledging that I do need downtime for other things. So I need this as a reminder.
- Business ideas
Look at completing some of the business ideas and plans, and see what I can do with them from there.
And for now, that’s it. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more successful than last year’s list!
Over the weekend, I ended up moving a lot of my email processing over to Amazon’s “Workmail” product. So far, it’s gone pretty well, but we’ll see what happens over time.
The email server/service I was using (via a company I do a lot of my hosting with) was generally OK, but had some significant issues which they didn’t appear to be able (or willing) to fix. The main one was that emails with attached files – particularly PDF and Word documents – would occasionally disappear. They wouldn’t bounce back to the sender, and they wouldn’t tell me (the recipient) that something had gone wrong, they’d just disappear with no notice to anyone.
Generally it’s been survivable, but last week there were things for HMRC and others that didn’t make it – things that were, safe to say, bloody important.
So I’ve moved the primary accounts over to Workmail, and it’s been quite smooth. The setup didn’t take long, and while there were a couple of teething errors when it came to migrating the emails from Old to New, it all worked pretty nicely. Once I knew what the hell I was doing (and/or looking for) it became even easier/better.
After that, the main ball-ache has been putting the new accounts onto all my devices, and getting everything to syncronise properly again. It’d be nice if you could just push the new account to your devices, but that’s a level of tech that’s above and beyond what we’ve currently got, sadly.
Still, it’s all worked, I’m fully moved over with all my key accounts, and it hasn’t made me want to throw computers through windows. Even that is pretty noteworthy, I think.
This week, I’ll be changing office. Nothing major – just at the other end of the building from my current one, and on the back of the building rather than the front. There’s a number of reasons for it, but it’s mainly because the front of the building is a sun-trap, and it all turns into a rancid sweatbox. The back of the building is cooler (or at least more consistent) and that’ll be nice.
I also wanted a bit of change – it’s not a major one, but it’s still a change, a new view, and sorting out all of that stuff. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m in a bit of a stasis block at the moment, with no change in (for me) way too long when it comes to house, job, contract, clients and so on. Location-wise, I’m likely to be staying where I am for another year-and-a-bit, so moving office (even while staying in the same building) means just a bit of change.
I’m sure there’ll be more coming in the future, but for now, this should be enough.
Along the way, I was also pleased to see, when I prepared to move the office, how little crap I’d actually accumulated in the eighteen months or so that I’ve been in the current one. I was able to move everything within an hour, and had a half-bag of rubbish to get rid of along the way. And that was it.
So on that score, it’s all been pretty successful. For the office itself, we’ll see how it goes, but all told it’s not really much of a change, so should all be fine.
While there’s been a fair amount going on in current affairs, what with Brexit, Trump, Terrorism, Article 50, and so on, round here it’s been pretty quiet. (Which is no bad thing – as has been observed before)
Instead I’ve been swallowed up in work, doing stuff for two different clients, plus figuring out some stuff of my own, and the website for my own business etc. etc., which has resulted in the low-to-sod-all quantity of posts here in the last week.
There are things I could moan/write/rant about if I were more in the mood, including
- Why people leave it ’til the last possible moment to supply really useful/essential work-based stuff, then try to make out it’s my fault that the project is delayed.
- Why a number of people are incapable of switching off the things they’ve switched on – particularly when it comes to lights etc.
- How do people live and move so bloody slowly?!?
- and probably a bundle of other stuff too.
Some of those may still happen, in fairness. But not this week. I’ve got other stuff to be doing.
The first week of the year’s started well so far, with a fair amount of preparation being done for the rest of the year.
Among other things, I’ve signed myself up for a couple of training programmes for more technical stuff, as well as laying out some plans and concepts for the main development things I want to work on this year. I’m currently hoping to have got at least one of them launched by the end of January, so I can see how it develops.
Along the way, I’ve figured out a couple of starting points for writing as well, which may or may not work out.
So it’s all a bit promising for now. We’ll see how it works out.
And not to be ignored, I’ve also started work on losing some of the weight I put on over December. It’s safe to say, I’m not overly happy with how much got put on (although I’m not back to where I started this time in 2016, so it could be worse) in the space of a month, but as we’re now back to a point where I can (and will) eat more sensibly again, it should all work out OK in the end.
Onwards and upwards, and all that piss.