Welcome to the first instalment of a two-part article helping you make an informed decision on the big questions:
Whether you’re desperate to get away from your home office or dreading restarting the commute, it’s useful to gain some insight from those who have already made the switch back to the office. As offices continue to reopen across our global clients, you need to know how to readapt to office life. What is it like? Is it fun? Is the commute worth it? We asked a few of our JDX colleagues from around the globe about their experiences…
Name: Charles Joscelyne
I went into JDX London HQ for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Even the crowded Wednesday morning commute on the tube gave me welcome feelings of dynamism and productivity that I hadn’t felt in a long time. As I sat at my desk, I quickly decided that I did not miss the builders throwing bricks around in the flat above mine, nor my dodgy home WiFi and cramped living-room workspace. The office not only offers a clear demarcation between your home life and work life but also provides you with the ideal environment in which to work together with your colleagues, focus, and achieve your goals.
Whilst in the office, it became apparent to me that some elements of office life have been missed more than others. During my two short days there, I was invited to after-work drinks three times and a keg machine was installed in the clubhouse next to the five fridges already filled with chilled drinks. We’ve all learnt how to work effectively at home, but after almost a year and a half of enforced social isolation, the importance of the workplace as a venue to socialise with others again certainly cannot be overstated.
Name: Eleanor Ballard
Since going back to the office on a flexible basis it has been the best of both worlds. It is amazing how quickly you re-gain the team momentum and banter that you lost from having meetings over Zoom or Teams. If you have recently joined a project or are training up new joiners, the productivity is instantly improved as you do not have to set up a call every time you are unsure on something. You may have to get up earlier in the morning, but I personally am more efficient and then when I return home, I enjoy my downtime more as I no longer associate my desk at home as my workplace. Before returning to the office, I had colleagues who I had never met before as they joined during lockdown, and it was beneficial to put a face to a Skype name! Tips for going back to the office:
- Make sure you are aware of the entry requirements to the office (e.g. lateral flow tests, allocation of desks).
- If you are a new joiner try and go into the office as much as possible as your training is a lot more effective.
- Confirm a rota with the team so people know when you are in the office and when WFH.
Name: Diana Marinescu
Returning to the office and travelling during COVID was a big change for me, coming from a strict lockdown in UK and previously working from home for 9 months. In particular, I was worried about my commute to work using public transport. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the measures which were in place both at the client office and in Luxembourg in general. The client does not allow more than 50% of employees in the office on any given day. Permanent employees take turns working from home and from the office. In general, there is one free desk between people. We don’t wear masks when sitting at our desk, but we do when leaving our desk. Quick tests are available for meetings which are longer and include more people than allowed. There is hand sanitizer on every row and the cleaning team are disinfecting desks every day. I’ve also seen them disinfecting door handles and the restrooms multiple times a day. I also feel safe in the public transport as everyone wears masks and there is hand sanitizer available. Because companies are not working at full capacity in the office, the transport is not overcrowded.
I feel that returning to the office was a positive change for me. Many people have had their mental health affected by the COVID situation and the requirement to work from home for a long time. I think spending some time in the office, having a routine and being able to talk to my colleagues in person has benefited me and my mental health. Even the simple act of getting ready for work and commuting (things which were just chores, which I took for granted previously) have improved my overall energy. I am also glad I was able to meet my new colleagues in person and make friends as I was new in Luxembourg. I also find training more efficient when it is done in person. Based on my experience, I would recommend people to spend at least some time in the office, but of course this depends on everyone’s circumstances and preferences, I prefer working from office but some days it’s just more convenient to work from home.
Name: Melissa Andrade
Location: New York
I’ve been back at the office since mid-June. I wasn’t scared at all to make the transition but rather excited to know what it would really feel like to work in the client building. It’s an experience that I’ve been enjoying tremendously in many aspects including training, networking, environment, and social life after work. Working at home had its great benefits as well but when it comes to training it’s much easier to have more than one person to just turn to and get an immediate answer, and you have the benefit of shadowing a person throughout the day as well. Networking in every job is vital for growth in your career and I’ve met so many people outside of my team that I wouldn’t have if we were working remotely. I’ve gotten closer with my team in general as well as my higher ups, we have gone out after work in a social setting or have participated in events like the food trucks, Barry’s boot camp, outings, catch-ups with colleagues, etc. Working full time in the office has made a positive impact for me and I look forward to going in every day.
Are there any rules in the office?
We asked about rules and restrictions whilst being in the office…
“Wear masks in the building” – Charles
“Having to take COVID tests and ensuring there is enough allocated desk to maintain social distancing.” – Eleanor
“Masks where social distancing is not possible” – Diana
“Based on the honor system. No requirement for masks or social distancing if you’re fully vaccinated” – Melissa