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Back to the Office

Back to the Office

05-Jun-2020 08:33:27

Although not in a DeLorean, I was steadily driving to our office for the first time in a couple of months. I parked my car, got to the 10th floor, and stepped out of the elevator. A routine chain of events...

"The thermometer's battery is dead!" was the first thing I heard. A knife, two extension cords, and a power bank later the issue was resolved. And we sincerely thought we were ready to "reopen shop"😅.

We did our best to prepare, though. It is part of our values as a company to gather as many opinions as possible before we take important decisions. The topic of getting back to the office was no exception. We sent out a short survey to all employees in order to get a better idea of their attitudes and, as usual, we received plenty of interesting insights. How comfortable our employees feel returning to the office

Overall, it turned out that we faced a somewhat normal distribution regarding the comfort level of a possible return. The majority of people, however, stressed that they would either wait for the situation to further cool down, or their actions depended on factors they could not control at that moment (e.g. opening of kindergartens and schools).

In terms of measures expected to be introduced, the common themes revolved around:

  • a proper mitigation of risk (work on what we can really control)
  • a balanced approach (not too many measures that would put people off and would defeat the purpose of opening the office)
  • a sound self-discipline (not taking things lightly and complying with measures)

Furthermore, it turned out that some people had fallen in love with remote working, while some could not wait to get back to their desk. What was quite unexpected, however, was that more people reported increased productivity than the ones that felt the opposite.Productivity when working from home

After taking all the input into consideration, we decided that it was time to take actions in order to address all expectations. After introducing the measures we really believed in, we gave everyone the choice to decide for themselves when and for how long to come to the office. The results in terms of attendance after several days paint an interesting picture:Productivity

Even with such a small sample size, I already believe that the "new normal", at least for us, will be more of the same. We will hope that we have done everything possible yet we will deal with the sudden hick-ups of the unknown, just like the thermometer issue. We will have the "base" days when only people that feel more productive in the office will show up yet we will have our "max" days when we really want to see each other.

The latter poses the questions about the imminent evolution of our company culture, thus far centered around being in touch and being "there". Yet, this is a story for another time... just let me get to my DeLorean and I'll come back with some insights from the future 😉.

 

 

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