Workers are suddenly feeling happiness and angst; frustration and relief. Sometimes all at once.
This is office life in summer 2021, the sort-of-maybe-hopefully-but-probably-not-ending stage of the pandemic, Employee’s huddle near a television playing football, laptops open. There are small faces on Zoom tiles everywhere — at desks, in huddle rooms and on the computer screen a man holds above him, shouting “Can you see?!” as he walks through the kitchen.
In March 2020, tens of millions of people shifted to working from home to avoid exposure to Covid-19.
In April 2020, 70% of people “always or sometimes” worked remotely. Today, that share is closer to 56%, even though 61% say they prefer working from home.
Now, Companies all around the world are planning to bring more workers back to the office. Business leaders by staffing firm LaSalle Network found that 70% plan to have employees back to the office in some capacity by the fall of this year.
Over time, many workers adjusted to working from home during a global pandemic. And while vaccinations are proving to be effective, many will now need to learn how to work from the office during a global pandemic.
High-profile companies say they will be using a hybrid work model, where workers spend time working both from the office and from home, going forward. And business leaders don’t seem to think that shift is temporary. 77% said they believe their workforce will use a hybrid model through next year.
“When it comes to work productivity, ‘Where can I do my best thinking? Where can I do my best coding? Where can I do my best work?’ You’ve got some people who say from home, some people who say from the office and almost an equal percentage who say it doesn’t matter,” says Brian Welle, the VP of people analytics at Google. “Wouldn’t it be easy if it were nice and simple down the road that you categorize people into one or the other? And it’s not that way.”
In part because of this split, A lot of firms chose to embrace a hybrid option.
“Where we ended up as a company is offering as much flexibility as we could to enable Google employees to optimize for themselves, while also giving teams what they needed,” he says. “What it looks like is a default option, that we think most employees are going to take advantage of, which is coming into the office three days a week and working from another location two days a week.”
Hybrid work, he says, “Lets you do all the things we came to love about working from home, while also getting that moment of connection and the ability to do innovative work in person in the office.”
What does that mean? Well, it’s a signal for local cities and highway administrations who could right now by adjusting what those traffic patterns look like. So there’s going to be traffic jams in ways that we just haven’t seen before and haven’t anticipated.
More traffic will lead to longer commute times for workers and will take away personal time that remote workers have become accustomed to, which could lead to a more frustrated and tired workforce.
These changes in when people travel will also impact nearby businesses,
Awkwardness and Conflict
Many of us are going to have to re-learn how to socialize and get along with one another.
And while we are all still working on strengthening our interpersonal skills, this could, unfortunately, lead to office conflicts.
During times of lockdowns, quarantines and separation, people have gotten used to isolation and, in many instances, forgotten the value of social interaction.
We all understand that going back to the office could be daunting for many of us. However, getting back to our new normal is Definity something good that all of us need now.
So, whether you are going back to the office or working from home. Rest assured that we all need some “getting used” to it.
Like we always say “Have fun, and Enjoy the ride”.