Last week I found myself pulling together, in my head, a pros and cons list of returning to work at my bank’s City base. I got so involved in this mental exercise I decided to jot them down so grabbed a pen and piece of paper.
With a growing number of us having already returned to our offices or planning to do so soon, now’s a really good time to look back and reflect over the last five plus months and like me draw up your own list of the positives and negatives of working from home (WFH).
Try to really give some serious thought to what you have enjoyed and would therefore like to potentially implement on a more permanent basis because I’m pretty sure when it comes to home and / or agile working there’s no going back to the past. WFH is here to stay. For more tips on how to ask your boss to work from home on a long-term basis click here.
To give you a few ideas here’s my list, which contains several points I hadn’t properly considered until now.
- Not having to commute in the morning – I live outside of London so having to get up at the crack of dawn and then squeezing myself onto a busy commuter train isn’t my idea of fun.
- Avoiding the hell of the commute home – my second point is related to the first, not having to do it all over again in the evening.
- A serene working day – I don’t feel as rushed, I’m looking at my emails over the course of a slightly longer day but that’s okay. I haven’t felt the stress of trying to get everything done just so I can get home at a reasonable time and get some proper down time before having to repeat the exercise all over again.
- A more focused approach to work – I’m more efficient / productive. Now when I dial into video conference calls, we often just get straight into it, agree on action points and we’re done. Bring that all back into an office environment and the same call can typically turn into a series of pointless meetings.
- A healthier and more balanced lifestyle – going back to points 1 and 2, I find myself waking up at a more reasonable hour, going for a morning run and sitting down to a proper breakfast. I’m also taking the time to prepare something nutritious and healthy for both my lunch and dinner (my local takeaway isn’t happy about this one).
- The walls are closing in on me – I currently live in a relatively small flat with very little outside space so at times it can feel a little claustrophobic. Don’t get me wrong, working from home has been good for the reasons above but looking at the same four walls all day is enough to drive anyone stir crazy.
- The tech – whilst things are much better now, there are still a few issues that need to be resolved to create a truly seamless experience away from the office.
- We’re a tribe – I really miss the camaraderie of being with my team. Working in sales I love planning and plotting with work colleagues. Emails, conference calls or even Google Hangouts don’t make the grade when compared to human interactions.
- The social network – I’m not ashamed to admit that I do miss the organised chaos, the lunches, coffee at Starbucks and the afterwork team drinks. For me anyway a lot of the team bonding happens outside of the office environment and some of the best ideas have been formed here too.
- Learning from others – Though not such a big deal for me this I’m certain is key for some of my junior colleagues. I’m in no doubt most of you would agree that as a junior you can pick up so much by watching and listening to more senior members of your team.
Thinking about my own home working experience, there have been some clear benefits. But I can’t ignore the challenges – for me the lack of human interactions is the biggie, which I’m sure lots of you will also be able to relate to. I also appreciate everyone’s experiences will differ depending on living arrangements and of course professional backgrounds / jobs and indeed level of seniority.
My next step is to decide which of the above I want to continue doing going forward and how I can strike a more balanced approach. For me this might be two days in the office and three days working from home. But again appreciate we all have different priorities.
This is potentially a unique opportunity for us all to re-design our working week and give equal weighting to everything that gives our lives meaning from loved ones through to the work we do.
Sanu – Founder, CheekyLittleCareers