After over a year of adapting to the restrictions and changes that the pandemic has brought, it’s no surprise that there are mixed emotions about the potential pending return to the office.
Despite the stay at home rule lifting, the government advice is still to work from home if you can. Employers should be supporting work from home (if it is possible for you) or facilitating a return to the office in line with Covid-secure workplace guidance if it isn’t possible. These guidelines are expected to last until May or June 2021.
We’ve explored the process, the pros and cons and different people’s opinions.
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Will you be going back to the workplace and how will it work?
Whether you are asked or decide to go back into your workplace should depend on a range of factors including your individual circumstances, the type of work you do and the office environment.
In England, the government guidelines set out strict rules which employers in different sectors must follow. They include:
- Minimising the number of unnecessary visits to the workplace
- Ensuring that staff observe 2m (6ft) social distancing wherever possible
- If that is not viable, staff should observe 1m social distancing with additional precautions
- Frequent cleaning of surfaces, objects and communal areas
- Extra hand washing facilities
- Introducing one-way systems to minimise contact
- Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
- Staggering start and end times
The people who see the pros of getting back to the office
From getting back to the gym early, seeing colleagues and dressing for work. These people are seeing the positives of being in instead of OOO (out of office).
“Getting back in the office has forced me to go to the gym early again and I honestly forgot how much I love it.”
“Not many people will say this, but I’m looking forward to going back to the office. And now that there’s a possibility of that happening, I’m quite happy. The best part about it? I get to buy new clothes!”
“I missed the views from my office and it feels good to be back!”
“Back in the office today, so good to be working with my team in the flesh!”
“Survived my first day back in the office yesterday after over a year of working from home. Felt good to be back around people but wow was I tired.”
“Feels odd, but yet good to be back in the office after 417 days! (Cleaning out my desk drawers was not fun though.)”
“I want to go back to the office. Especially as a recent graduate. The isolation is not good for one’s career.”
The people who see the cons of getting back to the office
From the commute and missing family and pets, these people are not looking forward to the prospect of being back.
“I don’t mind going back to the office but I do mind getting on public transport.”
“Loving working from home with my beautiful baby girl and spending time with her. Dreading going back to the office.”
“An hour plus commute each way, uncomfortable office furniture, loud people, trying to leave at a time that lets me miss as much traffic as possible, no windows that open for fresh air, etc. please don’t make me go back!”
“How am I expected to go back to the office without my furry intern?”
“Just finished my first full five days back in the office in over a year and I would like to sleep forever. Except I can’t because I’m also way behind in chores. This is actually a much harder adjustment than going into working from home every day.”
Be mindful of giving yourself time to make the transition if you are going back to the office and speak to your employer if you feel at all anxious.Do you anticipate being back in the office soon? How do you feel about it?
- Covid-19 vaccinations and the vexing questions facing employers
- Coronavirus work and financial support on GOV.UK
- BBC News: Can my boss force me to go to work?
Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.