Episode 68: Going Back to the Office


August 17th, 2021

23 mins 57 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

This episode is discussing the complex question of going back into the office as companies are beginning to open up their offices and asking workers to return. We talk about options around going back to work, questions to ask, obstacles, and how to communicate with your team around your availability.

The emotions around back to work are complicated. Talk with your manager before making a decision around what to do around back-to-office, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You need to do what you have to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Assuming that, before you keep your sweats on forever, we want to remind you of the GOOD parts about coming back to the office. Things such as:

  • Being able to see everyone around a table -- no cameras, nobody with their cameras turned off -- so that everyone can sense body language and communicate better
  • Impromptu conversations
  • Meeting people outside your role and your group and networking naturally
  • Off-the-cuff learning and mentoring

The casual interactions that happen in the office, even when they're not about work, can help us process the little things that happen in our days. Having a second to connect with an officemate over a broken shower or weird smell during your commute helps us process and get past the little things in life.

We’ve found that training is SO much better in person. There is something lost in the online training, conferences, and learning online where folks are multi-tasking vs being in a room together.

Being able to ask a question without having to feel like you’re bothering someone is excellent. And being brought into impromptu conversations, meetings, and seeing other people’s work is so helpful in building skills that will help in your career.

Working from home can be isolating and can also make people feel more alone. The number of people reporting depression is up, and some people are suffering from the lack of social connection that they get from being in the office. A lot of people want and need more separation between their "home self" and their "work self."

Parents really enjoy the flexibility of working from home because of the constant demands of schools for our presence. We can come and go without our colleagues noticing. The WFH decision as a parent is different, so when working with parents, having compassion and understanding around people’s different needs. The focus needs to be on how well someone is doing their job -- no matter their circumstances -- vs face time in the office.

Before you quit, listen to what your company is thinking around back to work. Try it!