What do you miss most about working at the office?
Since Covid-19, we work mostly or completely from home. For us, Dutchies, that has been almost a year now. Maybe even longer for you. Can you remember what working at the office was like? What do you miss most about working at the office?
After many conversations with colleagues and friends, we made a top 8 of reasons why people like going to the office.
1. Colleagues and fun
A chat in the coffee corner, Friday afternoon drinks, having lunch together, catching up on the weekend, holidays or other fun things you have experienced. We miss social contact the most. You might even be friends with some colleagues. Of course, we regularly have video calls with our colleagues, but it’s different. And it is more often straight to the point and more business-like. We really miss the fun part of working with our colleagues.
2. Involvement in projects, situations, colleagues
‘No one can whistle a symphony by himself. It takes a whole orchestra to play it’.
You are doing fine at home. You have your own tasks and responsibilities. But we humans are social beings. Working in a team suits us better. We learn from each other and we complement each other. Obviously, there are all kinds of ways to keep in touch with each other. Email, WhatsApp, telephone, video calls and all kinds of other digital resources. But if you work together in the office, you ask for help just a little faster, you hear more about what your colleagues are doing and you stay better informed of everything that is going on within the company. The fact is that you share more with each other in real life than online.
3. Peace and focus
Working from home is great for some. Getting up later, no commute to the office, not having someone stand near your desk every 5 minutes, wearing comfy clothes. But there is also a large group of people that rather work at the office. The Covid-19 situation requires us to stay at home as much as possible. But what if you live and work at home with your whole family and pets, with children who also do home schooling. Or what if your neighbours are doing a major renovation, or you live in a busy street or in a small and noisy apartment. Some people miss the fact that they can work quietly and focused at the office, where they are not distracted by the dishes in the kitchen, the laundry, toys lying around or the dog that needs to be walked.
4. A proper workplace and office facilities
At the office you can assume that you have a good workplace. A desk that is spacious enough to store all your belongings, preferably a sit-stand combination, with a good desk chair, a second screen, good internet connection, a printer nearby, meeting rooms and all the facilities you need to perform your work properly. At home that is sometimes lacking, or you simply do not have the space for it.
5. Meeting new people / travelling
In addition to your direct colleagues, you also meet colleagues from other departments / locations, visitors, or customers at the office. And if you have a position where meeting new people is part of your daily activities, then you are used to being on the road a lot. Chances are you miss this enormously now. The rush of traveling, being on the road and being inspired by other people. Unfortunately (in many countries) it is not allowed now and we only see people on our laptop screens. We cannot wait for that moment when we meet each other face-to-face, when we receive guests at the office or when we organise / visit seminars or trade fairs again.
6. Getting out of the ‘bed-couch-shower-kitchen-desk’ circle
Ok, this sounds a bit funny. But let’s not underestimate it. Now that we are stuck at home our world has become very small. And for some of us, it literally is no bigger than the ‘bed-couch-shower-kitchen-desk’ circle. There is a lot more room – to move around – at the office. We miss walking to the printer and the coffee machine. We go to other departments to talk to colleagues. We enjoy lunch in the company restaurant. We visit the warehouse to check stock. We get more exercise when we are at the office.
7. Work-Life balance
Well, this one seems clear. We live at home, we work at home, we relax at home. Alone and with our family. Work and our private lives are now so intertwined. Of course, this also has advantages. But many people find it difficult to separate this. You are always available (because you are at home anyway) and you can always open your laptop to answer that email. Shutting off work is “vague” at home and now that there are not many activities outside our homes, finding adequate relaxation is also difficult.
8. Lunches at the office
ahhh, lunches at the office. Different types of offices mean different types of lunch facilities. Do you have a company restaurant, or do you get a daily sandwich from “the bakery on the corner”, can you have lunch delivered, or do you bring your own meals? In general, having lunch at the office means taking a break from your workplace. Taking a walk with colleagues and talk about things other than work. Having a laugh with each other. Of course, you can also prepare the most delicious lunches at home, but you still have to do it yourself and it often means you eat your sandwich behind your laptop.
All in all, everyone will experience their own (dis)advantages when working from home as well as working at the office. The Covid-19 situation has clearly made us realise this. Hopefully the tide will turn soon so we can resume our normal lives again. And ask yourself what your ideal work situation is. At home, at the office, or a combination of both. Make use of the learning moments from last year and do what makes you feel comfortable.