The Challenge is Real

Back in April I did an initial round-up of the PR that had been released in relation to return to office/hybrid/remote first plans. Here’s a little update as to where the world is right now according to the press…

Office Centricity vs Hybrid vs Remote First

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Whilst all the PR continues, there are real people behind it. Real people who are confused, disengaged, overwhelmed, overworked, feeling unsupported, under communicated to and left in limbo about where to take their careers next.

There are some real challenges right now, and not enough people are speaking about them. Here’s a little round-up of some of the challenges people have spoken to me about in the last few weeks:

  • In a 3:2 world, how do I ensure there are enough first aiders / fire marshals in my building?
  • My older/experienced colleagues are happy to work from home but I need them in the office to train and mentor the younger/less experienced colleagues. It’s the younger and less experienced that actually want to be in the office.
  • My whole team want to work in an office full time but the colleagues they want and need to work with, are all working from home.
  • The tasks people are doing they can do from anywhere, but my SLT want people back in the office.
  • There are some people who moved house during the pandemic and it’s no longer viable for them to commute into the office.
  • Our lease is coming up for renewal and the landlord wants us to sign a 10 year lease, my gut is telling me not to.
  • We did a company wide survey to gauge what the future looked like for us, but now my execs want to ignore what people have said and ask people to return to the office.
  • Looking at our sickness levels over the last year, people have not been reporting sickness. We don’t want people to work when they’re ill just because they are at home, especially when it’s mental health, we need the data to ensure we can support them.
  • We have a very large client experience suite which was almost over utilised pre-pandemic, it was one of those things that hooked people into work with our firm and now nobody is coming to our offices.
  • The return to office has been hyped up in an attempt to get people excited, but when people return in a few weeks I know from talking to people, and my own experiences that it’s going to be very underwhelming. It’s going to feel like those first few weeks back from Christmas, only I can see it lasting for months.
  • Our company stance is that Heads of Departments can choose how their team work. It’s utterly bonkers it’s like they have forgotten that teams from different departments collaborate together. Our technology and spaces do not support that mindset.

Are any of these ‘Return to Office’ challenges sounding familiar? If you have any suggested approaches I’d love for you to share them and support our Workplace/FM community. What other challenges are you coming across that we can support each other with?

If you want to give feedback but avoid the LinkedIn sales vultures, drop me a DM!

Take Care,

SFJ

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