At the risk of shocking my New York colleagues, I return to the New York office for the second time in the same week. I was tempted to work from home because of my late flight the night before and also because I’m under the gun to get a revised report out later in the morning. I know I could use the time I would otherwise waste commuting into the office. I ultimately decide, though, to go in because I also have some important administrative work to catch up on that I can only do in the office.
I open my laptop on the train in. I have about 45 minutes before we get to Penn Station, and I spend it sorting through spreadsheets of workplace data. I need to show how our recommendations stack against their existing workplaces and the plans they originally had. Normally I like working with datasets, but this involves trying to extract data from multiple sources that aren’t very clean. It’s a good use of the commute, though.
By the time I get to the office I’ve got a lot of it done. I take a break for yet another call with my colleagues in India to try to wrap up our report. At this point, they’re helping me develop visualizations of new workplaces, which will help our client and their other partners implement what we’re recommending. I also take a little time to show them how we generated the recommendations they’re working on. Interacting with my teammates in different parts of the world is nice, and this is no exception. Most of my colleagues don’t know exactly what my team does and are always curious. Teaming usually includes some teaching, which takes me back to my time as an instructor in graduate school. I enjoy it, although the pressure to deliver often gets in the way.
Teaming usually includes teaching, which takes me back to my time as an instructor in grad school.
When the call is over, I get back to revising that report. I spend another hour or two on it and send it off to our client. A few emails and a few corrections later, it’s officially done, although I’ll have to come back to it later and add a final chapter to it when the work coming out of India is finished.
After lunch comes the real reason I’ve come back to the office today: my travel expenses. I haven’t done them since May, and the bills are mounting. I spend a good two or three hours organizing receipts and figuring out how each project will get impacted. At that point I hand it all over to an assistant who helps me file it. It’s a relief to get it all out of the way, although know I’ll be faced with a new pile in no time.
In the late afternoon, I call my new team member in Chicago to see how things are going. We do a little screen sharing session to review some ideas she has for the pilot research project. Getting a new perspective is refreshing. We talk about next steps and plan to talk again tomorrow.
The last thing I do while in the office is meet with the corporate design team I sit with. Our New York office is bursting at the seams. We’re struggling to accommodate growth, and the team has come up with ideas for how to reorganize space so that we can get more out of it. There’s a lot of potential, and because we already live in the space, we have good ideas for how we could work better. I give them some suggestions, referring back to some of the solutions we’ve recently developed for our clients, but mostly I just give them encouragement. They’re already doing a great job. Now we just have to come up the money to execute.