Do You Want To Go Back To The Office?

wwc 010921 return to office

THERE are mixed feelings about heading back to work.

As the government eases up on some of the COVID-19 measures, up to 50% of a company’s work from home staff can return to the office.

While some are looking forward to reconnecting with their colleagues and getting back into some semblance of normal business activity, there are others who do not share the enthusiasm.

This has been a troubling journey for individuals and businesses.

The uncertain behaviour of the COVID-19 virus has been challenging,  forcing agencies to try and second-guess the next step, while trying to impose some sort of fencing that is hoped will curb its continued encroachment into society.

It’s been a daunting battle and not one that any country can say it’s quite figured out. 

Keeping your distance, wearing masks, maintaining your hygiene levels are a reinforcement of practices we should adopt regardless of COVID-19’s presence.

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Vaccination is opening up some aspects of society, though the full information about their effectiveness is not evident. But it’s a basis for a global experiment that is hoped will help heave the world back onto its feet.

It’s still a slippery slope with many false turns and blind corners still ahead.

So, how do we navigate this?

This week’s WED WEB CHAT — Office: The Return! Are You Ready? tries to make sense of the ambivalent feelings people are having about returning to the office.

Panellists for the session are Senior Clinical Psychologist at Resilienz Clinic, Jeanie Chu, VP of Human Resources at Kemin Industries (Asia), Davis Foong, and CEO and Founder of executive search firm, I Search Worldwide, Richard Hoon.

They share their thoughts on the topic.

Jeanie Chu, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Resilienz Clinic

“There is a saying that goes ‘change is the only constant’ and indeed this is especially so since the pandemic struck. 

“In the psychology realm, change is often a precursor to distress and anxiety. As we venture the capricious stages and circumstances following the pandemic, many of us learnt to adapt and made numerous work adjustments in the past year. While we might have somewhat cultivated a routine and established a moderate stability to work from home, change happens, yet again — it is now time to return to our work stations! 

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“Long period of physical absence from our work environment and adaptation to working from home will likely pose a challenge to us when we return to our work stations, both at the practical and mental health levels. 

“While some of us crave to return to our work stations, others prefer to work from home, and the psychological implications from returning to work differ for different groups of people. 

“In this chat, we will identify the various groups of people, specifically their preferences and challenges. 

“It is then imperative for us to delve into understanding the challenges for the various groups of people and discuss ways and methods to ease them back to their work stations, at both the individual and organisational levels.”

Davis Foong, VP Human Resources, Kemin Industries (Asia)

“The constant changes to the work arrangements that our employees have endured as the organisation responds to the different alert levels from work from office (WFO) to work from home (WFH) and back have caused tremendous stress.

“Employees struggled to adapt to these changes. For many, home was never geared for work and we heard of all sorts of challenges as employees tried to keep up with the demands of the job while at the same time tending to the needs of the family.

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“The loss of contact with colleagues has impacted the social fabric of teams used to collaboration and working in unison.

“We heard of employees working longer and harder just to cope with the job demands and, due to the lack of contact, employees were flooded with more emails, which we know has its limitations.

“Just when some employees began to adjust to WFH, they are now faced with the challenges of adjusting to returning to WFO.

“Organisations and leaders can make a difference by working in unison with employees to weather the constant changes that hit all of us during this pandemic.”

Richard Hoon, CEO & Founder, I Search Worldwide

“One day in the not too distant future, an executive can end their day with one company on a Friday evening, have a new laptop delivered to them over the weekend, and start a new job with another organisation on Monday morning without ever leaving their home!

“Companies and managers who are not ready for this scenario will lose in the war to retain talent.

“If they don’t prepare their leaders to redesign their workplace, workflow and work processes, employees will find another home that will give them this “work-life-autonomy.”

Join our webinar on Wednesday, 1 September at 12:45pm, the WED WEB CHAT — Office: The Return! Are You Ready For Work?

To register, use THIS LINK.

Watch our previous wedwebchats:

Got a topic of interest? Know a good panellist with a thought-provoking perspective on a subject? Please email with your details and a short summary about the person or topic.

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