Return-To-The-Office?

I’ve often said that if I hadn’t had a job that required me to go into the MegaCorp office every day, I might have worked much longer. As everyone has learned during the CV19 pandemic, people are happier when pretending to work from home. 🙂

Related: The Onion: Working From Home

With the CDC announcement yesterday that vaccinated people can now safely go back to work – with no masks or distancing requirements – I’m sure companies will be anxious to reopen their offices. Last month, CNBC reported that 70% of company CEOs and HR Leaders said they expected to have folks back in the office by at least this fall.

It’s been nice to have my neighbors home during the day for the last year. Normally, our neighborhood is quite quiet during the workday. This past year, people were home & happy to be outside during the day – working in their yard, out for a walk, or chatting on sidewalks.

Likewise, stores and restaurants were busier in the middle-of-the-week in the middle-of-the-day. People have been less tied to strict office hours and more able to sneak in an errand or pick up lunch during the middle of the business day.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to the return-to-the-office announcements. I have friends who wish to never return. I’m guessing that will prompt a few of them to say ‘enough’ … now is the time to execute their FIRE Escape and goof-off at home forever!

How do you think people will respond to return-to-the-office?

Image: Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Return-To-The-Office?

  1. At my not-quite-megacorp, I expect a fair number of people to take advantage of a new “flex” arrangement where they can work one or two days per week remote.

    I’ve enjoyed many aspects of WFH, including the lack of an easy (no traffic), but still 30 minute, commute. But I’ve also missed some of the social interaction and collaboration from the office that really help build both professional and personal relationships.

    Hopefully this will be a good mix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That seems like a pretty good flexible arrangement. I imagine a lot of companies will start like that. It will be interesting to see how employees respond. Will they take advantage of the opportunity or use being in the office as a basis for getting ahead faster?

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  2. It’s great to see the return to work discussion coming up. I think there will be many that decide to continue to work from home, where others are looking forward to returning. I miss some things about working in the office (being able to have those hallway meetings etc) and not others(commute). I think for me I will become a hybrid worker doing more at home than in the office. Even before the pandemic our office was moving towards an “activity based” workplace without assigned offices or workstations. I believe when we return to the office we will find that the pandemic sped that process up.

    Here in Ontario we just extended our lockdown to at “least” June 2. I am looking forward to the stores opening and the stay at home orders lifting. The vaccine rollout is picking up now that the vaccine supply issues have been sorted out.

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    1. I was happy to avoid the flexible office space my whole career. Perhaps combined with flexible workdays (and having been gone for a year) it would be better. It would seem to make things a bit confusing – figuring out both WHEN colleagues are around and WHERE they are sitting! 🙂

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    1. I don’t know how we could have done our jobs without being in the office. I can count on one hand the number of days I would WFH in a year of working. Usually just to finish writing performance reviews or doing a budget.

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  3. Pandemic year taught a lot of folks how to work efficiently and productively away from central office. I think many will demand premise-flexible options now. Businesses that want to hire and retain the most valuable employees may find that the workers of the future do not want the restrictions of the past.

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    1. A few weeks ago, my son’s company sent an email asking people to work ‘Office First’ – spend 80-90% of your time back at your desk. Now he said they sent out another asking people to just come in 1 day a week.

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  4. I was a claims adjuster out of college, I was in the office 1 1/2 days per week, more so in the beginning when training. I preferred being in the office when I worked full time. As a manager I was much more productive sticking my head into someone’s office to chat than I was on the phone. There are many subtle clues gained from in person discussions that you don’t get via phone. Many times when people would call for advice I would pop over to see them in person even if it was across the street. Relationships are so important. I worked with an Iranian who started every meeting asking about family, it was a cultural thing that brought us closer and added much to our work relationship.
    I can only imagine the challenges now of demanding people be at the office and employees asking to work from home. Work from home was great when employer wanted it but not so much when employee wanted it. I know my former employer has everyone back and will not allow remote work. Guess what? A manager can only work two hours a day due to childcare and since she is exempt they have to allow it. Would you rather someone be 70% effect 8 hours per day at home or 100% efficient 2 hours per day in the office? I’ll gladly say not my problem I’m retired!!!

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    1. When I was working I often used to say: “I want my team to be productive, not busy.” I think a combination of in office & WFH is ideal for being productive, but only if you can get everyone in the office together at the right times. It’s a coordination problem – and those are not easy to solve.

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