Office V Working From Home
Office V WFH
I’ve worked in offices in and around central London for pretty much all of my career. Pre ‘Rona that’s what you did. If you worked for a big company, you went to an office, plain and simple. Working from home was something that only very senior staff were allowed (a privilege granted to themselves). New mums and long commuters almost had to beg to be allowed to have such a perk! It was such a major issue to so many companies which all seems rather pathetic now. Why did all my mates have to jump through so many hoops and sacrifice higher wages when it’s such a simple solution to turn on when we’ve needed to?
So many people love working from home, personally I like an office environment; the banter, the friendships, the problem solving, the chatter over a coffee and the brain storming over an idea or a problem. Zoom to me is cold, it’s hard to read people and i can’t bear it when you don’t really ‘get’ when you need to talk and all end up talking at the same time. What would have been a quick shout over the top of your PC to your line manager now has to be a scheduled call or a WhatsApp message. It’s a pain in the arse when you have to discuss something serious or when your message gets misconstrued. Also this constant self-gaze is exhausting….my nip and tuck list is now bloody massive - I would much rather call than video chat.
Because of who i am and the industry i have worked in, I have always tried to run my offices in a laid back friendly way. You get your work done, but you go home on time and you take your breaks and your holiday. I prefer to work with a happy, rested team than the culture of who stays the latest in the office is more hard working. For me this just creates problems and unhealthy competitiveness. A toxic office is the worst kind, the secret emails or WhatsApp messages, going for lunches in groups is just awful for the one not invited. Who knew the playground bullying could continue as adults?
Weirdly I have been discussing the pros and cons of office life versus working from home quite a lot. My friends who have always had the mix of the two are now craving the office environment, too much of a good thing really isn’t great. Office life can be hard to navigate, but WFH can equally be super lonely and it can be quite hard to compartmentalise your life if you don’t have the luxury of a home office, your sofa becomes the space to take that conference call as well as the place you relax.
At this point in my business a physical office is very far away, the option of ‘going back to work’ isn’t there for me right now. I miss the Friday diet coke breaks, the le'ts go out after work for one drinks that becomes ten and a night bus home and the Monday mornings chat to dissect the weekend. Especially when you're single.
So a word to the office managers – give your team a break, trust they will continue to do the work you have given them whilst at home and a work/life balance is for everyone not just the most senior in the company. Every employee is as important as each other.