At the moment, it’s common for people to question going back to the office after a couple of years of working from home. The pressure is on for those in office support jobs to get back into the physical workplace. We’ve noticed that many people working in London have similar concerns about tiring and time-consuming commutes, find offices too distracting to actually get their job done, and definitely aren’t too keen on the office politics.
We thought it’d be helpful to share with you a quick Q&A session, answering the most frequent questions we’ve been asked.
I feel apprehensive about being close to people, what can I do about that?
The last couple of years have really shifted our society. We’ve become almost afraid of someone being in our personal space. If you’re one of the people who look at the crowded London bars of the last few months and break out into a cold sweat, you’re not alone.
However, remember that an office space is not a packed city bar. Your employer will have taken steps to ensure that the workplace is more Covid-secure than it was.
I love working from home and being in my own space, how can I not lose that feeling?
Humans fundamentally resist change. Remember when you first started working from home? We all bristled against that. Returning to the office is the same—it’s a change. To some degree, it will just take getting used to. The trick is to create a good routine that will bring you the same familiarity you crave.
How can I concentrate in the office as well as I do at home?
This is a common and excellent question. Being in the office has many benefits, but uninterrupted time without distractions is nearly impossible. Some of this, such as getting used to office noise, will simply get better again with practise. You can also reinstall boundaries for times when you shouldn’t be disturbed; try to complete tasks that require the most concentration earlier in the day.
However, there are cases where working from home is beneficial. Many employers are recognising this, so you may be able to discuss hybrid working with this in mind.
I’m anxious about socialising again, how can I overcome this?
Many of us have become more insular over the last couple of years. We’ve socialised much less, but the office is actually a high-level social environment. You need to be able to chat and communicate with a whole spectrum of people.
Humans are naturally drawn to socialisation, so the more you do this the easier it will feel. Try to find key allies at work, who you can share time and breaks with. If you’re really struggling with social anxiety as a result of the pandemic, remember that you are far from alone. Seek help through your GP or access support and help such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Do I have to go back to the office?
Different employers are making different arrangements, but the trend is increasing towards expecting office work with some hybrid work where possible. However, discuss your situation with your employer and see if you can find a balance that’s ideal for you.
If you’re definitely a convert to home-working for life, then it may be necessary to change roles to an employer that has moved 100% remote. There are many!
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