Throughout my career, I have always worked in a bustling office, be it in Banking, Foreign Exchange trading floor, sales and open-plan offices. I loved the bustle, banter and collaboration that I experienced over the years and the general feeling that I belonged and always having someone to turn to for advice and a general brainstorm.

I work well with others and alone and in various environments, be it quiet or noisy. Over the years I adapted many times to different bosses and their needs, often proactively providing them what they needed because I could anticipate their needs based on the experience of being present and also hearing what was going on around me in the office environment.

My belief is that the Office isn’t completely dead following COVID-19 and will evolve, but I do agree that there is and will continue to be more flexibility and trust gained from our experiences during this time and that perhaps we will work more efficiently as a consequence.

So as working from home (wfh) looks like a more long-term solution in some cases crucial changes need to be made from our learnings during this time to ensure that we are not ‘living’ in the office. Covid-19 has taught us to take stock of our lives and enjoy every moment and ensure that health comes first physically and mentally.

Before ‘lockdown’ I knew many people, who got the office early and stayed late because it was seen as the right thing especially in front of bosses. I personally don’t think that so many hours were effective and actually with all the unofficial breaks and chats that people had, that more time was wasted. I am not saying that people should not have breaks or chats but that many people had too many and actually were not getting more work done in more hours at the office. Shopping online, reading texts and social media make for easy distractions and infact, interruptions of this kind take 20 minutes to recover from and hence too many of those and your long day might as well as have been shorter.

Covid-19 and wfh has had its pros and cons and here are just a few;

 Pros.

  • No commuting, waiting for the next bus / train as the first one was crowded 
  • Flexible working – different work areas of the home
  • Being around family, especially children
  • A better understanding of technology and collaboration tools
  • Time to read and listen to podcasts more
  • Enforced structure to the working day (plan meetings and exercise and breaks)
  • Save time on travelling to and from meetings
  • Less worked being dumped on someone

Cons

  • Zoom Fatigue (meetings for meetings sake!)
  • Lack of connection with colleagues
  • Missing that walk out at lunchtime to get your lunch or shopping
  • No internal work communications / gossip
  • Our home is not really an office set up
  • Costs of ergonomic office set up – chair, sit-stand desk, mic and software.
  • No Office perks, fruit, biscuits, lunches and Friday night drinks
  • Not being able to ad hoc grab some time to brainstorm with someone
  • Not knowing when someone is obviously free to chat

So, there are just a few pros and cons and I guess you will have read this and thought well there are more cons so wfh won’t work long term.

It seems that this article might also believe that the Office is not dead and that people want to return as soon as they can once it is safe to do so and for lots of reasons !  Why we need the Office, and why we may not realise it

There is so much to think about and wfh and or office life doesn’t suit everyone. Thinking back about my experiences I gained a huge amount from my peers and mentors by just being present in the office. Thirty years on and I am still friends with many people from those days.

I get concerned about the younger generation and those just starting work as they will miss out on this and perhaps feel less confident having been isolated during this time. Will they when they decide that home working suits them best be seen as people who lack self-discipline, or their decision be seen as a sign of weakness? Can the younger generation say no to office working when the older generation want it as that is what they are used to? Will wfh cause more emotional health issues that businesses will need to support? Will people feel confident that their company has done enough to ensure their safety no and ongoing into the future of the post-Covid-19 world?

Watch this space as there will be more on this I am sure.

To help with this I recently collaborated with Amanda Cullen of Business Made Simpler and we have run two workshops;

  1. Be Desk Smart – contact me for more dates.
  2. Be Time Smart – the next one is on 7thOctober 2020, 9.30 – 11.30am

They have been based around wfh and how to adjust using our hints and tips on being desk and time smart.

Be Desk Smart

If you are still struggling with your desk set up here are a few areas to consider, but if you want to know more do come to one of our workshops and discover your Desk style. Email me for more information alex@auxiliumadmin.co.uk

  • Chair – Height correct, castors, arms, adjustable
  • Desk – height, depth, what you have on it, under it and is it adjustable
  • Lighting, natural source, blinds, windows, additional screens
  • Have you done a risk assessment of your area that you work in?
  • Have you moved the printer away from your desk to free up space?
  • Invest in a footrest, backrest, laptop raiser,
  • Cabinets, drawers, shelves and space savers to store things away
  • Plants, flowers and clean air with a diffuser
  • Paint a tired area and add some cushions and pictures on the wall.
  • Buy a special mug for that well-earnt cuppa.

Be Time Smart.

If you are still struggling with managing your time then here are a few areas to consider, but if you want to know more do come to one of our workshops and discover your Time Style. Email me for more information alex@auxiliumadmin.co.uk

  • Hints and tips and tools to help you plan and prioritise
  • Develop your own Business Time Map
  • Plan and use the Eisenhower Matrix using your four D’s
  • Combine this with Software and apps to save time
  • Organise your Desktop, IPad and Phone
  • Access to my A-Z of software and Apps download
  • Discount Codes

All of this helps to Make a Plan, Plan the Plan, Prioritise the Plan and Stick to the Plan.

As a business owner and working virtually I was lucky enough to have my wfh already set up for me and having worked remotely for 3 years. If you need any advice, then I am happy to chat with you to see where I might be able to advise or help, so please book a time to chat with me here

I would love to know your thoughts so do leave a comment for me below.

Thanks for reading this BLOG make your Office work for you!