Prepping to return to the office

Craig Broman
June 22, 2022

Recent stats show that Adelaide is leading the nation with a return to the office. That doesn’t mean that WFH is over, but it does mean there is a new hybrid model happening.   

5 days straight in the office: a shock to the system!

Over the last month, I have suddenly realised that I have been in the work office for 5 days straight!  The last two years have been a confection of working from home and being in the office and one with which I have become comfortable.  It’s a shock to the system to be back in the office for a full work week!  So how do you adjust if that is beginning to happen for you?  How can we retain some of the great lessons learned through COVID of working from home?

Retaining the wins of WFH

For me, I have greater clarity about the sort of work that can be done brilliantly in the home space and the type of work that is better suited to the team office. Deep, future planning and creative content generation requires a good, uninterrupted space; so locking in a morning at home to do that saves me kicking the can down the road for a fortnight at work and feeling guilty that it's still not tackled. Alternatively, some work is much better brainstormed with a team face to face - and ideally not in a zoom call where it can be difficult and tiring to read faces on a screen. Teams can spark off each other and generate energy that’s difficult to find in a home office. All this has helped me think about matching the workspace or context to the task as I plan the week ahead. I realise not all of us have the luxury of self-determination when it comes to our work environment but some of the following tips might be useful.

What others are saying! Top tips

This constant merry go round of adaptation is incredibly wearying. Most human beings need some anchor points in all the flux. Where do you get the resources to do what you’re otherwise reluctant to do?  The Christian believer leans into the Bible’s, expressed like this:

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. God and his eternal kingdom is a constant in a changing world.  

Hebrews 6:19

A Christian prayer said at the close of the day, captures this beautifully

“Be present merciful God and protect us through the hours of this night, that we, who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world , may rest on your eternal changelessness”

We surveyed the workers in our building at 37 Angas St and here are their top tips. We hope some of them might be practical and useful to your work context right now or over the rest of the year.

  1. When working from home, I took a lunch break - sometimes I went for a walk, or sat out in the sun but I left my desk. That’s a lesson for the workspace - there is nothing wrong with getting your coat and leaving the office to clear your head! Look up - appreciate the clouds, the mist, the architecture, a tree, the faces of other people.
  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your productivity is initially reduced. It will improve.
  3. Take time to establish new routines and invest time in reconnecting with colleagues.
  4. Search through that wardrobe for all those clothes you used to enjoy wearing to work. Honestly, I’m over chinos ad nauseum!
  5. Transform the dreaded commute into a relaxing launch to your day - start listening to a regular podcast or an audio book, pray through/reflect upon the day ahead, don’t sit there enduring it as wasted time.
  6. If you’re feeling nervous about shared spaces - either because others seem unwell or you have a sniffle, then wear a mask inside.
  7. If you have done a solid day at the office, don’t take it home with you. One advantage of being back at work is leaving it there.
  8. Remember that it takes time to develop new routines so include an end of week stocktake and make some adjustments to your tasks for the following week.
  9. Try and note the positives: access to amazing coffee, baristas & new lunch spots or people to laugh with and learn from or invest in, a commute that helps you transition from one setting to another.
  10. Allow for the energy needed to be back with people in your work day- even if you enjoy it!

Craig Broman - Craig is the Chief Engagement Lead of Engage Work Faith. He has been a practitioner in workplace ministry for over 14 years and a minister in the Anglican Church for just shy of 30. Craig is married to Merle with two adult children, both married. The context of so many of God’s interactions with people in the Bible is work. It is the anvil on which discipleship and character is forged, it is equally the place where Christian faith can be observed and accessed at close range by skeptics. Craig believes work is absolutely central to God’s unfolding plans from the outset of creation to the culmination of world history. In his spare time, Craig dabbles in horticulture, trying to keep fit and enjoying long walks with Merle for a local coffee. 

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