Hannah MacMillan

Did you feel that?
Another shift?
No, not another work shift. Not a morning, evening or night shift. Not split, rotating or graveyard. Well, with the way the retirement age is going, most people will have to skip the graveyard part of life to even get to their shift.
No. A shift in perspective.
I’m sure I may have mentioned a few months back that I was ditching my hospitality pinny to go into the big bold world of the corporate office. With my dreams of TV and acting sat on the shelf, the dust noticeably gathering, I turned my focus to what I actually needed i.e. a better time schedule for my partner, my friends and family, and for myself. Amongst other things, of course, but I came to realise that I needed that important structure. So I jumped into the ring flying the biggest red flag I had, ready to take this nine-to-five blonde wigged bull by the horns.
And it tossed me to the other side like I was waving a rag rather than a coat of many colours.
I didn’t do it badly. In fact, I am pretty good at what I do. But the thing is, I can’t really describe what I do. I organise events for all these members in the building, pop-up events and parties, entertainment to make this office ‘the cool place’. A wannabe noughties Google office, minus all the slides.
I would love a slide though.
I’ve recently discovered, however, that this structure wasn’t the main thing I was looking for. Yes, the hours are great, and it’s fantastic to do whatever I want at weekends. As for organising events and meeting new people – love, love, love! But what was bizarre to me was how weirdly lonely I felt. The amount of people I would meet and greet in a day is easily in the hundreds. I was always talking to someone, joining a meeting, on the phone or just casually chatting. But part of me missed hospitality. It was easy for me to swap a shift for an audition every now and again, have a day to myself then go to work in the evening, or finish at lunchtime and have a date evening. I missed that, and I missed it even more when others were doing it all around me. Living flexibly. And I’m not the only one.
Turns out that being a receptionist (that organises fun get-togethers) comes hand in hand with being an on-site unqualified therapist. The number of stories and dramas that I receive at my desk would be enough to guarantee any gossip magazine tens of years’ worth of publication. But the one thing that’s repetitive in my ear, is the older crowd screaming for the old structure back, whilst the youngsters who have been caught in the aged day-to-day routine are crying for freedom.
Less interviewees are turning up to meet in person, because fresher companies will be sure to video call you first before having to wait and see if you even turn up physically. Simple ‘benefits’ like occasional sick pay, pension schemes and birthdays off, are becoming more of a contractual expectancy than a company benefit. Especially to people like me, whose birthdays land on a bank holiday.
Every. Single. Year.
A new revolution is happening, and who thought the main weapon would be where you sit in your contracted working hour time?
The days of un-ironed shirts, single desks lined up like a Victorian classroom, lukewarm coffee and long commutes are done for. People have realised that yes, that meeting really could have been an email. And I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have another hour in bed than be sardined between a stuffy businessman who is under the impression that everyone on the train cares for his big business words of self-importance, school children who are young enough to enjoy being awake at 7:30am without a sip of caffeine, and the office manager who simply can’t let go of her oversized Michael Kors bag whilst playing Candy Crush, or stalking her ex on Instagram.
Also, if you’re criminal enough to not take your bag off the spare seat on a rush hour train, I’m sure there is a special place for you (downstairs) in the afterworld. Right next to people who choose not to recycle.
The world of work doesn’t expect you to clock in and clock out anymore. It doesn’t expect you to take your lunch break at a set time or expect you to stay later than your shift time to show ‘passion’. It expects you to work your contracted hours, work them well, and enjoy it. Anything else you do in your own time is up to you. And with the amount of companies taking on the hybrid/co working office, it’s clearly working.
Who would have thought that happy people out of work hours, would bring in happy people in work hours? Madness, right?
As the old saying goes: If you can’t beat ‘em, join em.
I’m going to give this whole hybrid working thing a shot. In fact, while you’re reading this right now, I’ll already be a week or so into my new job. Yes, a round of applause for me. I hear ya.
But what am I doing during the day? Guess. Am I:
A) Working away on my laptop at home with my dog in my lap, hot coffee and homemade breakfast at the ready?
B) On my way to meet a friend for a two-hour lunch?
C) Choosing to work in a hybrid co working space for a change of scenery?
D) Enjoying my early finish on a Friday with a beer and a takeaway?
Any option sounds fairly dreamy.
Maybe it’ll work out this way, or maybe I’ll be losing my mind and decide the rat race is worth the stress just to be constantly surrounded by people.
Stay tuned to find out.