Professional Development Forum

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  • 1.  Anyone anxious about returning to in-office work?

    Posted 02-17-2022 12:04

    Hi, all!

    I started a new job during the pandemic and have yet to work in-office with my new colleagues. We have no firm return-to-office date, but I'm eager for that day to come. At the same time, I'm also pretty nervous – and not just because I've forgotten how to dress for work! After two years of wearing masks and working in isolation, I'm really concerned about in-person interactions.

    Will I over-exaggerate my facial expressions? Will I feel comfortable looking an unmasked person in the eye when we speak? Will I feel free to walk up to someone's desk to ask a question, or will I feel it's more "polite" to email, direct message and stick to Teams meetings?

    I recognize I'm doing a classic over-think here, but please tell me I'm not alone with this anxiety. Do any other Connectors have concerns about returning to an office setting and seeing colleagues daily? Or if you've already returned, what has surprised you the most? Maybe hearing from others will help calm my nerves. :)  Thank you!

    Maria Mooshil

  • 2.  RE: Anyone anxious about returning to in-office work?

    Posted 03-09-2022 09:23
    @Maria Mooshil, I am certain you are not alone. Two years is a long time to get comfortable doing the work from home thing. And I think a lot of people have come to expect that flexibility now, which is probably why many job seekers are being selective. What I dread the most is the commute, riding on a train especially during cold and flu season, and having to pack a lunch, be more deliberate about clothing, etc. For all the distractions, working from home I believe offers opportunities for getting more done.
    I do miss some of the social interaction. There's the awkward stuff, what do I say in the elevator to someone I only kind of know for the entire ride up to the 14th floor? And the fun stuff, chatting over making coffee in the kitchen in the morning. Or leaning over a cube partition to talk about some trivial stuff to relieve tension. All this of course takes away from work time. But I can't honestly say that hasn't been somewhat replaced by more instant messaging.
    It will be interesting for sure. ​​

    Arnie Grahl

  • 3.  RE: Anyone anxious about returning to in-office work?

    Posted 03-10-2022 10:34
    @Maria Mooshil and @Arnie Grahl, I think many of us are in the same boat. We'll have to brush off our small talk skills for those quick elevator rides. 

    I am looking forward to hallway conversations with colleagues that I don't routinely see on Zoom calls. Also, as much as I've enjoyed not commuting in the snow and working from my porch when the weather was nice, a change of scenery will be welcomed.

    I do need to get back into the routine of going into the office. When I work from home, I typically return after dropping off my kids at school, make some coffee and a little breakfast and then log in for the day. Now I'll have to be a little more efficient in the morning to get that done before I leave.   @Leanne Jaggs, I'll have to try your outfit pre-planning!  ​​​


  • 4.  RE: Anyone anxious about returning to in-office work?

    Posted 04-01-2022 10:53
    @Maria Mooshil @Arnie Grahl @Brianne Haxton like all of you, I have some reluctance, but also am strangely looking forward to some time back in the office.

    I was talking with a friend who has been back at her office three days per week for the past month. She said she is surprised at how much she loves it! She likes the physical distance between home and work life. She likes the walk to and from the train. And she is surprised at how many other people are so happy to see each other in person, it's like a relief and a joy we took for granted in the before times.
    A different friend of mine went into her office to work for a single day because there was a farewell lunch scheduled for one of her colleagues. She also really enjoyed it! Many other people in her group were also there for the day, and she described the difference talking with a colleague in person about a work matter, as opposed to over Zoom. There's something intangible that seems like the conversation is more meaningful, more memorable, in person. She also ran into people and chatted in the hallway, had a long lunch with her colleagues, and lingered over treats with others in the break room. She said that it was definitely not as productive work-wise, but was such an energy boost in every other way, and well worth spending a little more time in the office going forward.

    These two personal stories from people I know has given me more motivation than ever to spend a little more time in the office. Maybe just one day a week to ease into it  ;)

    Maria Liccardo