Six Things About Office Life That Makes the Return to the Office Worth It
This week, like many across the country, I am making the return to the office with my colleagues for at least two days per week. My company is currently using a hybrid model with two days in the office minimum and three days working from home maximum.
I personally choose to work a minimum of two days in the office per week. Mostly because I can’t figure out how we used to do five days in the office, as after two days I’m exhausted! I hope to work my way up to three days over the coming weeks, but I don’t think I’ll ever do more than that – so long as hybrid working stays! – as I find I don’t need to be in the office five days a week anymore.
Quite a few of my friends and colleagues across various industries are also returning to work this week. A lot of them have quite negative things to say. Firstly about the cost of travel versus the cost of working from home. But also little things like having to remember to bring in lunches and not forget chargers and their masks.
However, whilst there might be a few genuine things that upset or annoy us about returning to work, there are also positives. Here are six things about office life that makes the return to the office worth it.
First and foremost is the opportunity to have in-person conversations. I’m not talking about awkward one-to-ones with your boss – although it can be helpful to have these in person. I’m talking about those water-cooler conversations you have with your colleagues and the lunches you can have with your friends. A long time apart can cause difficulties with internal team communications, so these in-person conversations are vital.
Also, the opportunity to meet new people within your business and chat over a coffee or across a desk together. When you work from home you don’t have these opportunities, not unless you live with your colleagues in a packed flat-share or you’re super conversational on Teams.
A weird plus to have, but it’s true. Training over a screen really isn’t great. Not only is it so much harder to concentrate due to distractions from email alerts, social media pop-ups, or additional work, but it’s also harder to train someone else. I can never tell if I’m talking too much when training over a screen or if the person I’m training is really getting it.
When training is done in person, be it a show-and-tell of how to do things or it’s a seminar on communication, it’s better to do it in person. You know then that everyone is paying attention and they or you can easily ask questions or for clarification.
I’m not talking about heading to the bar for a drink with your colleagues who you’ve spent all day with. I’m talking about the ability to do something you genuinely want to do after work.
I’ve found that since working from home I rarely go out in the evening. This is because the call of a night-in feels easier and safer than leaving my house at 6 pm to travel into Central London just to go shopping and come home at 9 pm. Whereas when I’m in the office in Central London anyway, it doesn’t feel so terrible to pop to the shops or go to the theatre or meet friends for dinner. I’ve found that since I’ve returned to the office my social plans have sky-rocketed because it’s so much easier to meet people when you’re already halfway there.
Central Heating and Air Con
I’m sorry but my flat’s heating sucks, so to be able to go to the office which has central heating/air conditioning in the summer is so much better for me!
Better Equipment and Desk Set-Up
Even though we’ve been working from home for nearly two years, my office setup still isn’t perfect. I invested in a screen, mouse and laptop stand but I haven’t got a proper desk chair. I don’t have a spare £100 to spend on a desk chair or any additional things like a separate hard drive or a standing desk. In the office, we don’t have to worry about this. Yes, I now have to bring my own mouse in – as I’m used to the shape of my ergonomic version – but apart from that everything is provided.
Reading on the Commute
And finally, a personal positive, I can return to reading on my commute. I hate commuting – this is one of the negatives for returning! But I do adore getting the chance to read my book or watch a TV show on my phone in the 30 minutes before I get to work. Working from home I don’t do this anymore, and I miss it being part of my morning routine.
Do you have any additional positives for the return to the office? Let me know in the comments below.