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Happy Hybrid Halloween… or the spooky side of virtual working.

It’s my third week as a hybrid organisation of one, and I am enjoying the new working routine! It’s very busy and also tiring to have so many new things to deal with each day, but it’s very much what I was expecting.

What I am missing at times is of course the colleagues I have worked with for many years, and in a more abstract sense, a bit of fun and interaction that comes with being part of a team. From the research I have done about hybrid working and virtual teams, I know that it takes a lot of effort and intention. So I set about making my own fun.

Regular readers will be very familiar with Posey, my dog, who for the past three years (well, nearly) has kept a faithful vigil next to my desk. Together we get through long conference days, difficult meetings, research reports and course design. And Posey is a dog who knows how to make her own fun. Sometimes just by rolling round on the carpet in the sunshine, or with her favourite cuddly toy.

But back to Halloween and hybrid working. In case the connection seems tenuous, I think Halloween is a good example of the kind of thing that in a co-located working environment is hard to miss. Cafes and canteens may have seasonal treats or pumpkin flavoured everything. There is likely to be talk of trick or treating… plans for the holidays and so on. Interaction like the ‘Secret Santa’ gift exchange is hard to replicate when you are in a team that’s distributed across the globe or when, like me, you are a team of one.

The ‘spooky’ side of home and hybrid working is that it can often feel quite lonely or isolated. Sometimes you don’t talk to another human being all day, and when you finally step away from your desk it’s dark outside. Days can easily blend into each other into one long grey slog.

Marking days like Halloween or a change in season provides me a bit of inspiration to have some fun, be silly and join into activities that I wouldn’t usually, and which can make my day more memorable.

This year, I am organising some radio with the wonderful folk at Reclaim Hosting, as part of my work with them. Get ready for Reclaim Halloween Radio on DS106radio come October 31st! I have some small decorations in my office as well, some autumn blooms and a small pumpkin and… fun tights to wear in orange and purple. Some of you may roll their eyes here, but those of us who appreciate those things will understand. In my mind, everything that helps inject some fun into my day is fair game.

A water colour drawing of pumpkins

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