Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been itching to get back to the office. Sounds crazy right? But hear me out.
I don’t have the pressure of home schooling children, I live in a good-sized, nice flat with a beautiful park nearby, and yet there is something I miss about gearing myself up for the day on the commute to the office, grabbing my Pret cappuccino to go and asking my colleagues how their evening was (especially as back then people actually had plans after work).
As far as employers go, I have to admit I’m extremely lucky. Over the past year senior management have been mindful of unusual working conditions, making sure we’re not over capacity and regularly encourage us to take breaks. Yet, even with all of this support, I’ve probably worked harder this year than ever before with little time to switch off, and i’m sure many of you feel the same.
Think about it, how many times have you felt the need to reply back to a message or email within 2 minutes because where else would you be other than glued to your screen? Or it’s getting close to 9pm and you haven’t shut your laptop down because what else is there to do in the evening?
Burnout has become a real topic of conversation over the past year and the lack of change in our daily environment is something that I feel could be a strong contributor of this. There’s no option to just ‘leave the office behind you’ and meet up with friends and family to take your mind off of a busy day. Our 9-5’s have become our 7-10’s.
Like many, i’m not keen to go back to the office 5 days a week as I don’t want to completely lose the positives of working from home – I don’t think I have ever been so on top of my life admin in so many years! However, the office environment can help provide natural distractions that working from home by yourself simply can’t. Whether that’s bouncing ideas off of each other, going to the kitchen, popping outside for a breather, heading into meetings and getting away from the screen. Not only that, when you leave the office at the end of the day there’s the chance to leave work behind and go back to the comfort of your own home. I’m looking forward to home becoming a sanctuary at the end of the day again.
So yes, i’m very excited and interested to see the approach businesses will take from the end of June. Will we be able to have the work life balance we’ve always strived for?