...What does that even mean?
To be honest, we're not really sure either. What we do know is that in these past six months the office-working life, as we knew it, has been changed forever. The now-notorious 'WFH'* life was experienced by pretty much everyone. All great for those who enjoy it, maybe not so much for those who have children...opinions will always vary. But whatever yours may be, there are a few things you might want to think about:
The new watercooler
Are you one of those people who lurks around the water cooler to socialise? Or rather, to get things done by asking colleagues for their ideas? You might have figured it out already: the water-cooler is no more. There still isn't a digital equivalent to this, so if the coffee corner equivalent is your trusted base of operations, you need to think up new strategies. Maybe it's a continuous open Slack channel with audio, or maybe you could schedule some healthy catch-up meetings on Zoom with some of your key (ie most fun) colleagues. The work gossip will live on.
Mentoring and development
Being boxed in an office with the same people for 8 hours straight, every day, does in some cases have some benefits. For instance, it means that junior colleagues get a whole lot of mentoring from their senior members. If you are a junior, and in WFH-mode indefinitely, make sure you are getting all the guidance and feedback you need to progress and grow in your function. Pro-actively ask for additional responsibilities. Reach out to senior colleagues or mentors to get feedback that will help you develop into the professional you want to be.
If you're a senior staff member, maybe reach out to some of your junior team members, check in on how they're feeling. It doesn't happen enough. Or gather senior colleagues and plan a rotating schedule of weekly 30 minute calls to share valuable insights, tips and tricks for junior team members. Remember to keep it light and fun(ny).
In the new paradigm of Zoom and Slack, decision making takes some getting used to. Without teams being physically in the same place at the same time, it can be harder to make final decisions.
Just consider, for example, the decision making process through a Slack channel. You post your idea and in a string of reactions, everyone can speak their mind and come to a deluge of completely differing opinions. This can be both positive and negative; more people can put forth their considerations, transparency is increased, but often it all becomes too much for it to be used efficiently.
Use Zoom meetings for important decision-making moments, and make sure the agenda is clearly set and shared pre-meeting.
We can't leave without mentioning the all-important company culture. How will we handle this if there's no physical space to manifest itself? No Friday night drinks to show off your awesome (raised eyebrows) party tricks to your colleagues and scare the newbies. It's going to be a challenge to maintain, let alone build, a company culture as per the good old days.
The social skills you honed organising all those uni frat parties can be resurrected now, albeit remotely. Could you build some fresh company vibes through a Zoom initiative? Be creative and appoint yourself as a new culture guardian. If, of course, that is your ambition.
Like you, we've no idea how this whole office/work/home thing will pan out. If we could read into the future we'd probably be at Nasa now. For reassurance, however, we can offer you a product that will stay with you, no matter what the situation may be. Our briefcase will keep you moving, elegant and effortless.
Check out our ultimate back-to-work Briefcase here.
*Work(ing) From Home - if you didn't know this already, where have you been?!