Some of the Consult / Halo team were back in the office last week. It’s been wonderful to see each other after nearly 2 months of zoom calls and working in the “home office” (quotation marks because it varied in standards from a laptop on a kitchen table through to beautiful rooms with views and/or swimming pools - I may just sound a little jealous there!).
What we’ve noticed though is that everyone had a level of anxiety coming back into the office and here are some of them:
Anxiety 1: What will it look like? We are anticipating what it is like based on what we’ve read and seen in the last two months. Let’s face it - we’ve all been in our own bubbles and so we’ve really had to create “what it looks like” in our mind (and what Ashley has told us).
Reality 1: What we’ve realised is that the office and town looks just like before - just with less people, less queues and less pollution! We’ve forgotten how beautiful this time of year is, how much we love Amano croissants, and how we enjoy being a part of our cool city.
Concern 2: Public transport. This was probably the biggest concern for our people. Could they get onto a bus, ferry or train? Would it be overloaded? Would people be coughing on each other? Is it even an option?
Reality 2: Well actually, public transport is running smoother than ever before! It's on time (early even!), and they are doing a great job cleaning and everyone is really respectful. Once again, what we thought vs the reality was very different.
Concern 3: 1 metre jitters. Only 1 metre between people - isn’t that too close? How will we cope with that?
Reality 3: 1 metre is quite a bit of space and it seems quite normal. It is strange not hugging your workmates after such a long (and stressful!) time, but the spacing thing is fine. Once again - mind over matter!
Concern 4: Car parks. Cutting fixed costs meant kissing goodbye to our highly convenient Britomart carparks (boo hoo!), so for some, there was some anxiety about finding a new one, setting up a new system and routine.
Reality 4: There are some good deals out there for carparks! Close by as well! So, do a little homework and you might find yourself better off than ever before.
Concern 5: Coffee and Lunch. Let’s face it, it is hard to come back unless you know you can have good coffee and food! The worries here was the safety, the process and how easy it is.
Reality 5: We’ve done a lot of research these past couple of weeks(!) and are pleased to report that it’s easy to grab your coffee and lunch from your favourite cafes. Most are up and running and really grateful for your custom and conversation. It’s so nice to catch up with them and hear how they are going and to support local.
So, if you are worried about getting back to work, how to get there, where to park, what to eat and if it's going to be okay - just remember that often, our imagination is worse than the reality.
I guarantee you that irrespective of where you work - there will be people there who are pleased as punch to see you, to reflect on the past 9 weeks and to share some laughs with.
And that is the best work thing ever.