If you miss going to an office, it turns out you’re in the majority.
More than half of the 1,100-plus respondents to a survey by the Blind anonymous professional network say they miss going to the office where they once spent at least eight hours a day five days a week, until the coronavirus pandemic.
The Blind survey also found that 42 percent of respondents say they’ve been more stressed overall since the COVID-19 outbreak forced them into work-from-home life and 29 percent of those who replied say they’re less productive overall since their home and office were joined under one roof.
Then again, you can probably take some of these findings with a grain of salt since one of every four respondents in another Blind survey last year say they weren’t exactly honest on the annual employee pulse survey that measures their overall happiness with the company and their supervisors.
In any event, let’s take each of the major findings in this survey separately. You should probably figure out how your employee population stands on each of these issues, while you’re at it:
Miss Going to the Office
I certainly miss the routine of driving to and from the office five days a week. The commute, although often snarled by congestion both on the way to and from work, gave me time to myself to do whatever I wanted, whether that was crank the radio or listen to overly excited sports talk show callers or pop hits.
It wasn’t always relaxing, but it was a nice break from the routine of waking up, getting ready for working at home, walking up the stairs to the home office, then heading back downstairs when the workday is over.
I’m not looking forward to the traffic that will come whenever we return to the office full-time—some time this fall at the earliest—but I will enjoy the decompression that comes with the commute and I’ll like to see my co-workers again and drop a few sarcasm bombs on them.
Sarcasm just doesn’t translate in Teams and it’s probably a bad use of company time to call a Zoom meeting that’s really a Bazinga meeting.
I’m with the Blind survey majority on this one, even though I realize nothing about the office I left in mid-March will be the same whenever I return to it on a regular basis.
There are definitely days when my stress level is higher than others, but I think that was pretty normal in the days when I was working in the office too, so I’m not sure where I fall on this one. Being completely out of my life routine is definitely jarring, especially in the summer when Red Sox games are a no-no.
I feel more stress about the idea of my daughter being in a school building that I don’t believe is ready for her and school officials seemingly being so cavalier about it. I’d have wanted and hoped they would spend every second of every day this summer preparing for students to return. I’m not sure they did.
Less Productive Overall
I find I’m much more productive on most days while working from home, even though I’m still not fully comfortable with the idea of doing it for the long term or especially not permanently. Sure, there are days when I can get distracted by the nice weather or something going on at home, but that’s rare.
One thing I’ve worked very hard to do is keep a separation between my work life and home life, meaning I rarely check my work emails or look at my work phone once I shut down my laptop for the day. I find that’s a healthy way to keep some sort of division between the two in this unique time.
AV company leaders should probably know how each of their employees are dealing with the last six months of business disruption, particularly in these three areas. If you don’t already know, you should probably ask them how they’re doing.