From bedroom to boardroom – returning to the office
Returning to the office post-pandemic means that we’ll be leaving the comfort and safety of our homes. What was previously routine has become an adventure being forced to adapt to working from home (WFH) because of health and safety means that we are more sensitive when adapting to coming back in.
We at Cherish believe that a healthy, safe and welcoming office contributes greatly to our employees’ wellbeing, which directly reflects on the success of the organisation overall. Here’s our experience and advice on how to navigate the brave new world of working from the office.
Change of scenery – hybrid model of working
Many of us have been confined to our houses, apartments and even rooms, for months. Scheduling a day in the office, as scary as it may seem at first, will bring a change of scenery many of us will find refreshing and stimulating. It makes you feel a part of a larger team, and part of a business that has plans and is working towards them. Being part of a team makes us more resilient as individuals.
However, we also noticed that some team members find it more challenging to focus in the office, it’s information overload. Therefore we have organised our office space in a way that people can always have ways to ‘escape’ into a quiet room when they feel overwhelmed or just need to put their head down for work.
We have become used to the flexibility that working from home provides, and surprisingly, we have felt more productive as a result. Before the pandemic, Cherish was operating a four-day office, one day at home week, but the pandemic has fast-tracked us to a hybrid style of working with a 60:40 split between home and office. We believe this is the best solution for 2021 and but we’ll be reviewing this regularly to make sure our team stays happy, healthy and motivated.
Face-to-face meetings are important
We’ve gotten used to being on video calls and conferences so much that we are sporting top half dressing trends! on how to best dress your upper half of the body for Zoom meetings, but working in the same office as colleagues has its benefits. Popping over to ask a question is much easier than scheduling a call as your colleague is just a safe distance away.
Formal meetings can also benefit from physical attendance. Making that initial coffee and chatting about the weather and the day means that we’ve established a personal rapport before the business takes place.
However, with new hybrid working practices in place, we’re conscious that the team working from home is as present as those physically in the meeting. We’re considering how we can address what experts are calling proximity bias to ensure that nobody is overlooked.
Bring lunch meetings back
Going out for lunch with your teammates or even seeing people on the street or in restaurants/pubs gives us a sense of familiar normality. Inviting clients over for a meeting in a social setting is a great opportunity to reconnect and strengthen the relationship.
Ditch virtual brainstorming sessions
At Cherish we strongly believe that collaboration brings out the best in every team member, and while we have found ways to collaborate while WFH, the energy of being in one room and bouncing ideas off each other can’t be replaced by any digital solution (yet). Therefore we like to book an in-office time for a brainstorming session for new business proposals and client campaigns.
Make your commute more fun
One dreaded aspect of returning to the office was the commute. Over the past 15 months, most of us have become accustomed to an extra hour in bed and a few steps between kitchen and desk, but we’re getting used again to the daily bus, train, tube, tram ride to the office and back. But consider this time well spent and make the most of it by:
- Reading a book you never have the time to pick up at home or listen to it if you can
- Scroll through your photos and remember the fun times with those you love
- Use the time for research on upcoming work and life plans
- Find a podcast you can listen to or maybe a meditation course for some pre and post-work relaxation.
- Write your thoughts down, begin an opening paragraph to a short story or take notes on what you see around you
- And on that note, look up and look around. This is the time of day when you’re amongst the world and remember how lucky you are to be part of it
Whatever you do, we encourage everyone to see returning to the office as an opportunity to shape your workplace the way it works best for you and your employer, and if you’re struggling then make sure you talk to your boss about it. After the past 15 months, we’re all much more human.
Do you prefer remote work, working from the office, or a hybrid model? Let us know in the comment section!