It’s okay to admit that the initial work-from-home enthusiasm has faded, ever so slightly. While we remain amazed at how society has managed to adapt so quickly to all these changes, a certain frustration has most likely crept in. What was initially a novel and exciting experience has made way for a growing feeling of restlessness. That short distance to the fridge, initially so convenient, and suddenly extremely counter-productive to those healthy lifestyle goals you set for yourself. Then we have the good ol’ conversations by the water cooler, nice to have but we’ve learned to live without them… or so we thought. Yet, now surprisingly missing in your life for lack of social contact. Who would have thought this would be our reality, working from home?!
Working from home, like many things in life has its ups and downs. While it provides many great perks such as the flexibility and time savings from eliminating the commute it also takes away essential social elements of the workplace. If we do not pay mind, we might find ourselves thriving in the work part while neglecting the home part. Where is the balance in that?
And the workplace shifts once again…
Just when you thought you’d finally aced working from home, everything changes once again. The office gates have opened their doors and depending on your line of work, the hybrid way is now becoming your new normal.
Stuck in work from home mode – The Resistance to Return to ‘Normal’
No looking back, you cannot go back to the way things were. It’s sink or swim with the new way of working. Now that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel you might be surprised to hear that not everyone is rushing to get back to the office.
At the same time, we are also not eager to keep ourselves couped up in our homes in the name of work anymore. Although remote work has its advantages, such as flexibility and saving time on commuting, it can also have its downsides. The lack of physical interaction with colleagues and the blurring of boundaries between your work and personal life can lead to feelings of loneliness, social isolation, and even burnout. Now that it is clear that working from home is also not all it seemed cracked up to be, the urge to find the sweet spot between office work and work from home has started.
Getting back to the office after the pandemic is going to be a tricky one. Here’s why:
1. Remote work is the new norm
A lot of us have grown to love the flexibility and work-life balance that comes with remote work. The ability to work from anywhere, without having to commute and deal with office politics, has made remote work a game-changer. So, going back to the office full-time might not be our cup of tea. Some of us might prefer a hybrid model that allows us to work from home a few days a week and come into the office for the rest.
2. The COVID factor
With the virus still around, some of us are feeling apprehensive about going back to the office. It’s a valid concern and one that employers need to take seriously. Companies will need to ensure the safety of their employees by following the latest health guidelines and providing a clean and safe working environment if they want people to consider coming back in at all or more frequently.
3. Logistics, logistics, logistics
For those who are willing to go back, there are practicalities to consider, like transportation and child care. Commuting back to the office might not be as convenient as it used to be, especially with limited public transportation options. And for parents, finding a reliable child care solution might be a challenge. Again, if they want their workers to come back in, employers will need to their workers navigate these challenges to make the transition back smoother.
4. Resistance to change
Let’s face it, some of us are just way too comfortable in our new found work from home lifestyle and might resist going back to the office. Change is hard, and the thought of leaving our comfortable and familiar surroundings for a busy and stressful office environment again might be overwhelming. Employers need to be clear about why going back is necessary and help make the switch. They can provide training, support, social activities, and resources to help employees adjust to the new normal.
5. Hybrid models
Some companies might even opt for a hybrid model of remote and in-person work. It’s a great response to the latest changes in the work landscape. It balances both worlds, allowing employees to work from home when they need to and come into the office for face-to-face interaction and collaboration. However, this model is also still a work-in-progress. As with all things it has its own set of challenges, like ensuring effective communication and collaboration between remote and in-person teams. Employers need to make sure it works for everyone and invest in the technology and tools to support this new way of working for the long run.
So, there you have it. It’s a long road back to the office after the pandemic. Suddenly, there are many factors for employers to consider such as our preferences, health concerns, logistics, resistance to change, and hybrid models to make the transition back to the office as smooth as possible. It seems we are still a long way away from going back to ‘normal’. One might even wonder if that path even exists and if so, whether it is one worth taking anymore.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
– John F. Kennedy