(going) Back to Office

I am sure you are listening to the debate of #WFH work from home, #WFO work from the office, and #WFA work from anywhere at least once a week… While the intellectualization can go on, I wish some of us to look at our own experiences of #WFH and #WFOffice post the #pandemic. What do experiences really mean to you, the person, your profession, and the work culture? I am sharing my #observations of myself and those of different organizations I have worked with.
I started in-person work in October 2021. The first time I was to work in person, I noticed a reluctance in me. My life system of 2.5 years needed a #change for this one day of stepping out. I had my life organized wake up at 5.30, do yoga, journal-ing, work, work, and work, and sleep from 9.30-10 pm. Finally, after all the excuses and intellectualization about how safe it is, it can be done from home, so much travel time, etc. I finally headed for a full 8 hours of work.
FIRST DAY – # In-person work post the pandemic. As I worked through the day, I experienced the overwhelm of meeting so many people, decibel levels felt high, I was noticing so much around me, and there was so much to contain, that it made me tired. That evening I needed silent time and more sleep.
Eventually, the #in-person engagements grew, and I started getting back the energy of stepping out, meeting people, more #conversations. As I started work in person and got back to the groove, here is how I saw the #culture shaping in this new phase of Going back to work which was different when we worked from home. These observations are of many organizations in different industries.
Meetings that went on for hours and decisions that took many zoom calls got done quickly in face-to-face meetings.
Understanding of the person and the intent was more clear, relations happened and misunderstandings were lesser
A sense of #care and team cohesion was felt. Emotions became more real
Catching up on coffee conversations churned #ideas, gossip, and more connections
The roles of being a manager/ team member/ leader were experienced with more depth during the day, unlike the switching on and off in between zoom calls in the #WFH context where you are the professional and in breaks the mother, the daughter, the husband, etc.
While at home, there was convincing of call timings, saving travel time, money, etc. Yet the interruptions of the other roles may time lead to short term decisions, tentativeness, lack of being fully present and alertness
When #teams met in person the dialogues were of various flavors, fun, serious, confrontational, etc. a mix of task and relationship focus. There was a container to hold the person and the relation. Sometimes coming back to the same dialogues was faster where there was a connection between the discussions.
New employees felt more integrated, while earlier they felt left out. Gaining buy-in had more scope for discussion. Many new leaders and teams got into #conflicts during #WFH, not being able to understand each other enough, as they had not yet built a way of relating to engaging in differences.
During in-person meetings references the body language, the tone, asking questions, and giving suggestions increased, and there was more movement in the meetings
I know there are many polarized views on should it be #WFH /#WFA / #WFOffice. I am wondering if we are noticing these experiences, and what they mean to us, and to the teams, we work with. It is time we move beyond…
I see a correction in the mid of this year to the way we are thinking about the #Hybrid / #WFH / #WFA. My personal take is the more we come to work in person the more we will grow as human beings. The task can still be done, at the home, office, in a car, plane, at the airport, etc. As human beings, we need to engage in-person to build an #organization and #grow as #professionals.