Back in the Office Again

Back in the Office Again

Terry O'Brien

WA State Quality & Operations Manager

January 18, 2022

When I was younger in the workforce, it was hard to imagine that working from home would be the norm. But over the last few years, during this pandemic companies have put their employees first and developed ways to be both safe and productive working from home. But, as people are getting vaccinated, the expectation from companies is to return to work in the office. This can be both exciting and scary at the same time. Health is obviously most important but I think we can benefit from working in person again; and this writer‘s opinion is that working from an office is more productive. Working in an office gives you the ability to have a collaboration of minds who are literally twenty feet away from each other. I understand we live in a world of technology where anyone is at your fingertips through Teams, Zoom, or a simple phone calls but there’s something to be said about feeding off another person’s excitement on a subject.

Welcome back to Work in the office

According to Glassdoor’s Returning to the Office Survival Guide, one of the most important things about going back to work in person is knowing your boundaries. You’ll have to understand your company’s policies on vaccinations and masks. And you’ll have to understand the unwritten rules and office culture norms for things like handshaking and personal conversations. Some companies will take a more relaxed approach, while others will be more strict to protect workers health and safety. This may depend on the number of employees, the type of building you’re working in, or even the industry. In either case, you should plan to follow any written and unwritten rules and guidelines your company has in place.

Workers back in the office with masks on

Many companies have developed a hybrid work schedule. While this isn’t possible in all industries, many workers are now experiencing a rotation of people working from home and in the office. This flexibility has done a great deal for lowering the number of people sharing the same work space at once, and hence lowers the possibility of Covid spread. It’s important to understand your company’s expectations for spacing between workers, and make sure you’re able to follow the policy. If something about your company’s policy makes you uncomfortable, have a conversation with your supervisor to express your concerns.

"It's important to understand your company's expectations for spacing between workers, and make sure you're able to follow the policy."

Staying Remote

Woman working from home

From my experience over the last few months there have been a lot of employees who have put their foot down and said, “no I’m not returning to in-office work” for one reason or another. Some are facing medical conditions that put them at high risk for complications if they catch Covid-19. Others are facing uncertain child and dependent care situations and can’t yet commit to time away from home. Still others may just prefer the short commute!

For these individuals, there are a lot more remote positions available in the job market now than ever before. However, you will need to understand that you may have to be willing to change your field of work to land one of those positions. In many cases you’ll be able to transfer your existing skills and make a case to a hiring manager that you can learn any skills you don’t already have. On the other hand, you may find that you’ll need to pick up some additional training or take a pay cut because you’re lacking experience in your new field.

Overall, I just think it’s a new way of working that requires some understanding from both the employers and employees. If we both can come together and create a plan, then that gives us the ability to both stay safe and be productive, which it benefits everyone.

Got questions about your career? We’re always happy to answer questions from our readers, so send them our way!

Check out our other blog posts for more useful tips and tricks!


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