The successful and productive return to office.

I wanted to join the conversation about hybrid working. Not sure if it is only due to my LinkedIn algorithms, but for the past few months, my feed was filled with stories about people who say they will never go back to the office, how remote working meant that their day is all productive working, and that they are no longer wasting time with interruptions, coffee breaks, commuting, grabbing lunch and little chats with colleagues around the kitchen or coffee machine. And in recent days and weeks, news came to the extreme opposite with some government officials criticising those working from home, and Elon Musk declaring working from home as unacceptable. We seem to be going from one extreme to the next.

I thought I will join in the conversation and provide a different perspective as I personally could not relate in the least to the claim that working from home is 100% productive, nor could I understand why a blanket policy of full return to the office is required. This post only represents my thoughts to the productivity I encounter while working from the office and enjoying a hybrid model. This approach works for me and I hope to share my balanced view on the topic as I enjoy my return to the office.

Working from home has given me some really productive days and a focused environment, there is no doubt in that.

However, working from home meant:

▪️I didn’t have a head space to prepare my day which usually happens when I commute

▪️I didn’t grab my morning coffee while chatting to colleagues. Because social interactions help me connect with people, and when I connect with them in the office, I am a lot more productive (and so are they)

▪️The team did not pick up the nuances that brought a lot of context to the task or project at hand.

▪️I didn’t easily pick up body language and identify conversations that required diving a bit more into to resolve concerns

▪️I didn’t finish work on time and my work life started to creep into my personal life

▪️my office space at home became identified with work and I lost that space which was part of my home relaxing environment.

▪️no more impromptu meetings or chats to get a quick answer and everything become driven by a calendar invite or the nonstop instant message notifications

▪️I didn’t go with colleagues to the food market during lunch where they encouraged me to try something from a new cuisine that delighted my taste buds

And finally because I am an extrovert and whether you are too, or an introvert, I believe humans feed off each other’s energy. And that cannot be replaced by screens.

So for me, I am more productive working from the office and I do welcome all that comes with it. This by no means imply that working from the office is the only productive way forward. It is only sharing another perspective, to balance out some of the extreme opinions that try to indicate working from home is 100% productive compared to 10% productivity in the office.

What about you? What are your thoughts on hybrid working? Where are you most productive? Have you made some sort of return to office already?

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