Office cricket no more working in new remote world
NO office cricket. No passing around the beers. No cranking up the Christmas carols.
It's been an end of year like no other.
Working remotely has delivered a range of challenges that we have dealt with since The Queensland Times office was effectively shut down in March.
We had hopes of returning to what we called our QT dungeon at West Ipswich then COVID got serious. The final blow was our beloved Ipswich newspaper being sadly brought to an end.
It was head home to continue serving our all-important Ipswich community.
It has been ultra strange times since.
While I have adjusted quickly to our new working arrangements, it hasn't been easy.
Locked up for hours at a time has made one day blur into the next.
Lots of work can be done working at home but only during quiet times.
When all the family is going about daily life, or the neighbours start mowing, it can be distracting trying to get work done.
Thankfully I've managed to get out several weekends in recent months to catch up with sporting colleagues, inhale some fresh air and enjoy finding good stories - face-to-face.
However, it is the office environment that is missed most. It's the people you enjoy working with but can't share festive times with.
The week leading up to Christmas Day was always soothing in the office - like releasing the high pressure valve after a hectic year.
With a quieter than usual office in those past years, the cricket bat often came out for a fun way to also relieve the stress.
Former QT photographer Rob Williams used to lead the charge, seizing on every opportunity to have a hit, often just missing our computers with his strokeplay. But don't tell the bosses.
Then there was the Christmas week tradition of passing around some beers or wine to sip on while working away, daring to dream about some desperately needed holidays ahead.
Given the long hours, amount of weekend work we do and multi-tasking demands in regional media, having a few pre-Christmas drinks in the office was always welcome.
But not this year.
The reality has just hit home as I sit in my makeshift office generating content for the week ahead.
Thankfully, our dedicated QT online team enjoyed a few cold ones at the Pumpyard Bar and Brewery last Friday afternoon.
What a pleasant place to chill a bit, savour a fine ale and most importantly, chat to workmates. That was almost a new experience.
No doubt, other people around the Ipswich area are welcoming similiar Christmas get-togethers and enjoying each other's company.
But it wasn't long until we, at the QT, were back working remotely.
Most people in the Ipswich sports community are understanding and ever helpful when I bother them for a story, especially at this time of the year.
But as tempting as it is, I haven't reached for a beer during work hours yet. It just doesn't feel right with no office to share.
But as another Christmas Day approaches rapidly, thanks to everyone who has helped me make a full transition to digital and remote life this year. Your support is valued and much appreciated.
I hope you have a safe and relaxing break in the days and weeks ahead.
And maybe just grab the cricket bat and a few beers.