Back to office diary: ‘Taking baby steps on our way back to normal’

The author reveals changes in the workplace as he makes his way back to office after the Covid-19 induced break

Feb 02, 2021 04:21:00 AM | Article | Rinesh Jayarathne Share - Share to Facebook

Rinesh Jayarathne

It feels good to be back in Sri Lanka. I missed the beach in Angulana and the pol rotti with chicken curry. Mila Jay Kunis (my dog) is happy to have me back as well. Also, the morning chai in Mumbai has been replaced with Raja’s black coffee. There are times I really miss the chai! 
Well, a hell of a lot has. And for the better!
After being stuck inside an apartment in Mumbai for 126 days, I stepped out of the apartment complex for the first time and finally took that flight back to Colombo. It was the longest, and scariest 2-hour flight of my life.
Followed by 28 days of quarantine, 3 PCR tests, one malaria test, junk food, a lot of sleep and, 10 extra kgs in weight gain. Thank God, quarantine is over.
Having completed the quarantine period, after 10 years with apples and pencils, I felt it was the right time for me to move to an independent agency. So, here I am with Magic Mango. The energy of the agency is insanely positive, it reminds me of the mad buzz in Mumbai.
Covid-19 remains a massive issue here. The number of cases are increasing by the day. However, people seem to be going back to the ‘old norm’.
In my opinion, it is great to get our lives back on track, if safety precautions are followed since we are yet to receive the vaccine in numbers. 
It is great to see most of the corporates operate from their offices, restaurants finally getting back to what it used to be and, and the country opening again for tourism. If you are from India please go and book your ticket. We would love to have you in Sri Lanka!
During this period, I missed the hustle and bustle of the agency work environment, so it feels great to be back at work.
Whilst returning to work may come as a relief, the health and safety of the workforce is the top priority. The ways of operating in the agency has changed. New health guidelines have been added, client meetings are still on Zoom, 1m distance between workstations, wearing a mask is compulsory, creatives work on a roster and sadly the parties have been omitted from agency life, at least until COVID-19 is under control. 
All this may sounds a bit hectic but trust me it feels good to be back at work.
The baby steps we are all taking towards going back to normal is the best way forward. However, in my opinion, advertising is not an industry that can operate from home.
After almost a year of working in isolation, the industry is craving for human interaction. The madness of deadlines, stressful meetings, and a drink after work with your colleagues, is truly what makes this industry beautiful. 
Kudos to everyone for handling the long Zoom calls, fighting depression, and not giving up. 
We are taking baby steps, but we are getting back to normal! 
(The author is account director, Magic Mango)


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