By Alice Boullier King
On the 12th April 2021, Boris Johnson confirmed that the Government will be easing lockdown restrictions in England. Similar to many other businesses, this led our team to have a discussion about home/office working.
For those that don’t know, I was hired in the middle of the pandemic in 2020 and therefore I have mainly worked from home.
When I heard Boris’ announcement, it made me question how my work environment would change. Would I be going back to the office anytime soon? When would that be? This also got me thinking, how many other homeworkers would be feeling the same?
Therefore, this blog post is designed to provide my opinion on the latest announcement from an employee’s perspective. If you would like to read more about this topic but from a business owner’s perspective, Guy Osmond has written a section in his latest eBulletin.
For me, the latest Government announcement provided hope and optimism. It’s been far too easy to slip into a negative mindset over the past few months and for once I felt excited about the future.
It took me a while to enjoy working from home and I think that was due to not having a solid routine before and after work (not just during). But since then, I have created a healthy routine for myself (I will write a separate blog post about this in the future), which has allowed me to truly recognise the benefits of homeworking. Now that I have settled into life as a homeworker, the thought of going back to the office is a little unnerving. It has almost been a year since this pandemic began and during that time, some of us have finally become comfortable with homeworking.
I’ve enjoyed waking up early but not having to worry about commuting to work. I’ve enjoyed going for a walk in my local park at lunchtime. I’ve enjoyed eating freshly cooked food for lunch. But I’ve also missed the routine I had when I worked from the office. I miss driving. I miss feeling like I have accomplished something as I reverse my car onto the driveaway after a long day. I miss the social aspect.
The key point that I have learned over the past 12 months all comes down to adaptation. Despite the fact that many of us do not voluntarily welcome change, it’s fair to say that things have changed a lot recently and whether we like it or not, we have been able to adapt to the situation. So when I think about what the future holds for my lifestyle in terms of work, yes, it’s daunting, but we have learned to adapt once this year and we can do it again.
What’s more, if we have learned to be flexible with our work in a situation like this, then so has our employer. I believe that flexible working will remain a significant topic that businesses will have to bear in mind and as an employee, this should give you some reassurance. Your company should recognise that reverting to office working may need to be a gradual process for some, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with discussing that with your line manager when the topic arises. And be sure to raise it yourself if he/she doesn’t bring the subject up.If you are having concerns about your work life, talk to someone about it. A friend, a family member or a colleague. Everyone has struggled this year - let’s support each other.