Come “Freedom Day” on the 19th of July, many offices will be expecting an influx of staff, some for the first time in 18 months.
While many office managers will be preparing for their staff’s return with an office refresh or additional safety measures, many people who have worked from home for the whole pandemic may be feeling unprepared for the change of routine.
We wanted to see how people were feeling about heading back into the office, so we’ve taken a look into workers’ attitudes towards heading back to the office, including what they’ll miss most about working from home, alongside what, if anything, they’re looking forward to about their return.
What will we miss the most about working from home?
According to the findings, some of the top things workers will miss most about working from home are as follows:
- No commute (49%)
- Lie-ins/getting up later than usual (42%)
- Peace and quiet (41%)
- Working in their pyjamas (28%)
- Spending more time with their furry friends (26%)
One in 10 (13%) also stated they’ll miss seeing other people’s pets on Zoom calls.
What have we missed about the office?
Looking at the things workers are most looking forward to ahead of their return, although 15% state they’re not looking forward to anything, for those that are, some of the top factors include:
- Office gossip and banter (35%)
- After work socials including drinks (31%)
- Big, collaborative meetings (18%)
- Perks such as free food (17%)
- Escaping their childcare responsibilities (14%)
It’s no secret that many workers may feel a little anxious ahead of their return to the office, having worked from home for nearly 18-months now. So, to help workers best prepare, we spoke to Julian Hall, co-founder of My Internal World for his three top tips:
- Pre-book face to face meetings
Make it your mission to reconnect and have physical meetings with those you have missed. It’s so much better to start the return to the office with pleasurable meetings to look forward to. Think of this as the first day at work when part of your settling in was building rapport with fellow workers.
- Make yourself aware of the new office rules
Before your return, you should be informed of the new rules your office space has implemented to ensure the safety of its staff. Take some time to familiarise yourself with the new rules and communicate any questions or concerns you might have with your employer. By doing so, this will ensure you’re mentally prepared for how the office may have changed when you return.
Use breathing to manage your emotions. Before retreating into anxiety or rising to fight because of restrictions or behaviour you do not agree with, stop, spend 60 seconds focusing on your breathing. This has two advantages; you are engaging your parasympathetic nervous system and starting to lower the adrenaline in your system, and you are giving yourself time to respond rather than react.
How to make the day easier
Many employers will have set out a phased return policy for employees to help ease them back, so we also recommend you read this before your return, so you’re fully aware of the changes, and what’s expected of you in terms of working days within the workplace.
You also need to consider the return of the commute. Having not experienced the daily commute for such a long time now, a trial run will help you to determine how long the commute may take, or whether there’s an easier route that can be taken.
If you’re a business leader, consider making your staff feel welcome when they come back to the office, with a welcome basket, or a (safety conscious) team event like a BBQ or picnic. Ask them about their concerns, and how you can make the transition as easy as possible for them.
Find out more tips on how to be proactive in an office here.