In the latest iteration of our Reader Writes series, we are asking workers how they feel about returning to the office after 18 months at home. Louise O’Sullivan shares her story …
For me going to the office not only provided structure to my routine but it also allowed me not to feel bad for my random online shopping splurges. So often I could justify that new shirt or even those shoes I’ve wanted for weeks by reiterating to myself just how much use I would get from them because “sure, I’ll wear it to work and going out!” It’s an investment really, or so I would tell myself.
At first the pandemic offered an opportunity to strip things way back. There was no need to put on the war paint every day and I could indulge in wearing my comfy hoodies and leggings. Thankfully, I was never out of work during the past 18 months, I work in construction and so while there were times work was quieter when sites were closed, I always had my computer to sit down in front of. I was very aware that not all people were so lucky. However, the initial novelty of this new work from home lifestyle became tiresome pretty quickly for me. Sure, it had its perks but long term I don’t think it suits me.
When I really noticed that I was ready to return to the office was the beginning of this year. I realised months had gone by since Christmas and I felt like I had barely left the house. That really bothered me. I missed the feeling of putting on something nice, spritzing some perfume and applying some lipstick. Those things give me a boost some mornings when I’m feeling a little low on motivation and give me that extra bit of something to get me going. Like that first sip of coffee for others maybe!
Seeing work colleagues is an interesting one too. We can become quite used to our own company and while sometimes it can be nice to have some distance in other instances that interaction is not only nice, it’s needed. I have to say I never really did get too into the world of Zoom and much prefer face to face meetings and interactions so I will gladly leave Zoom where I found it! 2020 B.C (Before Covid).
This new world of working has brought many a new perspective where ultimately both employer and employee seem to have a new understanding of what employment can and should be – something which adapts to whatever is going on in our lives and works with us. Something which meshes in with the increasing responsibilities we accumulate at different points. Personally, my work schedule has become a lot more flexible with both different start and finish times and work from home options. It really has been a game changer in terms of work life balance and having that little bit more freedom with how and when I work. I am happier because of it and that has motivated me further. The blended work schedule, as we now know it, is the perfect balance for me.
I think for most of us we have learned there is a happy medium when it comes to the office and all its associations – dress up or dress down, work in the office or work from home, change your hours or keep them the same, zoom your colleagues or catch them some day you are both in the office. As long as the work is getting done, isn’t everyone happy?
By Louise O’Sullivan
How do you feel about returning to the office? According to the latest plan for living with Covid-19, workers in Ireland can begin returning to offices around the country on a gradual basis from September 20. Are you on the fence about returning? Have you got your first day back outfit steamed, hanging and ready to go? Are you looking forward to escaping your box room/makeshift desk/kitchen table WFH scenario? In the latest iteration of our Reader Writes series, we want to hear from you on your thoughts around returning to the office. What have you missed? What were you happy to leave behind? And how has the past 18 months changed your views on what a workplace should look and feel like? Email a 400-500 word essay and a picture to [email protected] and the digital team will select a number of entries to publish on thegloss.ie this month. We look forward to hearing from you!
Please note that we can’t enter into correspondence on each submission but if your piece is selected, we will email you back and let you know when it will be published …
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