This piece was first published in MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 304
Because WFH might be over…
By Raihan Hadi
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
Perhaps the only line from ‘Godfather III’ that made the flick memorable, and very fitting for us at present because we’re about to face that unexpectedly expected day when our pumped up old school bosses will be asking us to suit up and get our sorry bottoms back to that antique box we call the office.
Let’s face it, the work from home was just another long holiday according to your erstwhile fashionably termed “old school” boss, because they need to have you exactly where they can see you, watch you work like invigilators at exam halls. The only way they know how to ensure productivity is by having you placed inside that box, just outside their corner offices.
I get it if your boss isn’t as horrible sounding as the ones I just described, yours is probably super cool and goes to Coldplay concerts and all, but a lot of bosses out there are still living in the past and my piece today is about the things they should be expecting when they’re pulling you back to the office from the comfort of your sweet home.
Before I get into the deets, bosses, please make sure you prepare a care package for everyone and include some, if not all, of these items.
We’ve spent almost two years working from home and binging sitcoms on streaming services, and the one constant friend in all that has been our beloved snacks.
Some like chips, some love nuts, while some have a sweet tooth and those like me can’t live without the hot wings.
This habit won’t just become obsolete when we get back to work, whether it’s breakfast, brunch or lunch, we’ll want our right to munch.
Boss, better be ready to spend some extra money in refreshments.
Long hours in the loo
I’m sure by now a lot of us have our own bathroom solo albums in between those Zoom meetings and answering to nature’s calls from all the snacking. No? Just me? Check your pants, they’re probably on fire.
Anywho, it will be true for a lot of us given that the meetings and binging has continued into the bathroom and before we realized, a couple hours probably went away.
So in case one (or multiple) members of your staff are missing, you know where to look.
Open fly(s) and imperfect attires
Believe it or not, it happened to me just the other day, and I wasn’t even bothered. Yes, my fly was open all day, and given how used to each other we have become at home, especially those who live the solo life, it makes perfect sense when I say that “I don’t care if my fly is open!”
Given how we’ve been at home all this time, a lot of us have also (probably) forgotten how to dress up for work. Since no one has been asking us to stand up during video calls, we’ve all been wearing shorts with shirts (and ties, for some) on top, getting the much deserved aeration in places where the sun usually doesn’t shine.
If you’re a boss who likes everyone to look prim and proper, you will definitely have to take it easy for at least half a year (see what I did there? If I said 6 months you’d have gasped).
Maintaining a perfect attire might be a challenge, if not suffocating, for a lot of people, given the aforementioned reasons. So, please be prepared to welcome everyone while humming “Come as you are.”
Kids at work
You can’t simply deny the fact that for those of us who have kids, and being Asian means that’s usually more than one, coupled with the fact that a lot of you have been paying us a reduced salary because you never felt the need to set money aside for disasters and pandemics – our kids might be visiting the office often as we haven’t been able to send them to daycares or schools for both financial and safety reasons.
It would make sense for you to set aside a well lit room in the office, for instance, that corner office of yours, and repurpose it as a daycare for those of your employees who have kids.
Mustn’t forget the most important point here – our kids, who have been the most resilient and brave throughout these extremely trying times, have also gotten really attached to us (as they should).
So rather than being the former US President Orangina, don’t try and separate the kids from their parents at the outset, give it time and effort, embrace the situation and champion it like a pro.
“Work-at-home will save U.S. employers over $30 Billion a day in what would have otherwise been lost productivity during office closures due to COVID-19.”Kate Lister
President of Global Workplace Analytics
On a more serious note, being a boss of your organization, you have already realized that the productivity of your employees has not been hampered much ever since the shift to digital began.
In fact, there are more pros than cons of working from home now with regards to saving costs on utilities, transportation, office refreshments, physical events etc.
I’m not saying that we will never have physical events ever again, but we’ve all set up everything from scratch in order to make things work, and they are working now.
And we have to remember that the world around us is still not out of risk 100%. That virus is still lurking around, mutating, evolving. I strongly urge you to reduce traveling, especially overseas, for your employees and yourself, staying alive and well is what matters most.
We need to be more supportive of each other’s mental health now more than ever, be more human.
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