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Bringing the energy back to the office

The pandemic bought change to us all, especially in our work environment. Employers needed to offer new ways of working, which tested our resilience and ability to adapt quickly to this change.  

The prospect of working from home was met with mixed emotions; some found it scary and invasive, while others found it exciting and beneficial. 

For two years, we managed to balance home, work, and education simultaneously. For some of us it was a stressful and lonely experience, juggling home learning with the children and working long hours with poor home office set ups. For others, it was an enjoyable change that allowed them to stay on top of work and home obligations, providing the chance to pop the washing on, walk the dog, answer the door to deliveries, and the bonus of getting up a little later in the mornings. 

But what are we missing? Has this change made us a faceless community? 

People are simply missing the interaction with colleagues. The energy, collaboration, and togetherness we get from working in an office are reasons for wanting to return and getting back a sense of belonging and community. Being in the office allows colleagues to connect with people that they may not normally interact with. Those spontaneous conversations in the kitchen, over coffee, or while passing in the corridor are hugely valuable.  

What about the next generation? 

We must remember our young people of the future – the college leavers and graduates who are new to the world of work and the valuable experiences that the office environment can provide. 

Although the recruitment process with online interviews have been highly beneficial to businesses, onboarding and training has been more challenging. New team members are finding it hard to build relationships due to the constant weekly changes, and it has been hard for entry-level workers to integrate into the office culture. This can make people feel lost, confused, and possibly overwhelmed without the leadership of colleagues around them for support and guidance. 

So, have the benefits of returning to the office now overtaken the desire to work from home? 

As humans, we need to feel connected, united, and accepted by our colleagues, but this is missing from our new way of working. Being able to contribute to the office community helps us feel fulfilled when it reminds us of our value and highlights all the different ways the team can benefit from everyone’s unique talents.  

The value we get from of being in the office can reduce tech fatigue, allow us to learn from one another, build critical relationships that add fulfilment and build confidence. It brings energy to the working day, with humour and unique talents that can help make the day go faster. It gives us the opportunity to support each other, as it allows us to be more aware when someone may be down or struggling with a problem at work. And there’s the added benefit of less distractions from pets, kids, deliveries, or unfinished housework.  

Research says if we don’t have adequate time face to face, we experience a decline in wellbeing, something we’ve all realised is vastly important in our day-to-day life. 

How can we make office life attractive? 

Pre pandemic, businesses would introduce perks to attract their staff to stay at the office for longer which provided a fun environment but was not so great for work/life balance.  

Turning the clock forward, employees are prioritising their individual needs and looking at how work fits into their lifestyle. 

To encourage people back into the office, businesses have introduced an array of temptations such as free lunches and organising ice cream, coffee, and doughnut vans outside the office. One business has made Thursdays ‘Happy Hour’ day and set up a tab at the local bar! But is this sustainable? 

Is the future Hybrid? 

While many people like the idea of being back in the office, some are happy working from home. 

So, why can’t there be a balance moving forward? We have proved that it works and can be productive. With talent shortages, low unemployment, and rising costs, is it time for businesses to listen to their employees, offering them structure but remaining flexible, to ensure they attract and retain the best people. 


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