A recent BBC article spoke to four people regarding how they feel about returning to the office after working from home throughout the pandemic. While most of the UK’s biggest employers are planning on hybrid working rather than full-time, employees are hearing more and more about return plans. We thought it would be helpful to share the BBC findings as they very much mirror the experiences of those we’ve spoken to.
“I’m a bit on the fence about returning.”
Laura Blackwell works for a digital marketing agency and hasn’t yet met her colleagues as she has only worked from home since she was recruited. She feels comfortable with her new colleagues despite the remote working, but adds that the working arrangement has been “somewhat of a godsend” after experiencing mental health difficulties.
Laura’s employer is aiming for a hybrid working model with some working in the office and some working from home. His flexibility will no doubt pay off with loyal and engaged workers.
“There is just no question I work better in the office.”
Adam Jones is a salesman for a media firm and strongly believes he is more productive and efficient working in the office. He believes it is the working space, routine, and interactions with colleagues that make it so.
Similarly, Adam is benefiting from a flexible and open-minded employer.
“In terms of health, I’m anxious about returning to work.”
Ingrid Temmerman is an executive assistant at Imperial College London. She feels that working from home has benefited her health, saying, “It has given me so much scope for learning more about ‘me’ and my ability to adapt to severe change.”
Ingrid’s concerns now centre on the emergence of new variants of Covid, and how her quality of life will be impacted by a return to the office environment. “I’m more productive [at home] but also healthier. I can take my lunch break and prepare a better meal. I can meditate when I feel stressed where in the office it’s not really an option,” she says, adding that savings on the commute have enabled her to buy better quality food.
“I’m worried meetings will be less accessible.”
Steven Morris is a campaign advisor for Sense. He lives with impaired hearing and sight. He feels uncomfortable about returning to the office in London’s King’s Cross, largely because of the difficulties in socially distancing when accompanied by a guide. Fortunately, his manager is accommodating, and although the office will be available, Steven won’t be pressured to go in.
Steven, like many, feels that remote work is more accessible. He says, “I’ve actually really benefited from working from home—the use of tech has meant that meetings have been far more accessible than they were face to face, so it’s one of the things I’m worried about losing.”
It’s really important that all employers consider the impact that a return to the office will have on their employees, and ensure a smooth transition to retain their high-calibre and valued staff. If you aren’t happy with the way your employer is handling things, there are plenty others who are getting it right, so get in touch.
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