Back to the Office Post Coronavirus

Hannah Brewer

11 Jun 2020 | Hannah Brewer

There has definitely been an air of positivity settling over Sydney lately as we prepare to head back to the office. We can finally breathe a sigh of relief as we begin to turn a corner and see that some sort of normality is on the horizon. Over the past few months, we’ve found ourselves adapting and adjusting to the unforeseen pandemic that seemed to change our lives overnight. It has been a difficult journey to navigate and some people have encountered a more treacherous path than others, but I think we can all agree that it feels like we are through the worst.

So, as we prepare to get ourselves back on track, let’s take a look at what some of our ‘new working norms’ may look like…

Will there be a ‘rush hour’?

For those who have had the luxury of working through the pandemic (yes you heard me right, work is a luxury), I’m going to ask you this question – how good has it been not having to commute?! Those valuable hours that we rack up every week, have been put to good use or taken to catch some extra ZZZZZ to recuperate from our exhausting pre-COVID lives. Personally, especially with winter drawing in, not leaving the house and arriving back in the dark has been bliss! Did you make the most of your commuting time before or did you find it was dead time where you were aimlessly scrolling through social media? Or was it your cherished downtime away from the husband and kids, when you got stuck into a good read? With many wanting to avoid public transport, will there be an increase in bikes whizzing their way through the city, or will many set off earlier to walk/run into the office? Either way, it’s not a bad way to burn off the iso calories from the 100 daily visits to the fridge!

Tom Ford to Tracksuits – A WFH ‘Fashion-tale’

Ok, so maybe Tom Ford is a slight exaggeration of what our workwear wardrobes consisted of pre-COVID-19, however compared to our activewear staples we have become accustomed to living in, our corporate attire does feel almost like Couture designer! Right now, we are rocking business on the top, comfy AF on the bottom – am I right?! Will we all be trekking into the city in our PJ bottoms? Probably not (we’ll just save them for casual Friday!). However, with workplaces looking at moving forward with more flexible WFH options and Zoom meetings appearing more frequently in our calendars, we’ll be finding that our pencil skirts and heels will be spending more time in our closets than gracing the streets of the CBD. Will brands change and expand their activewear offering as we embrace loungewear over labels?

Nice to meet you *elbow bump*

An elbow bump is probably not the best way to introduce yourself to a new business contact, but I fear the days of a handshake are well and truly behind us. Old habits die hard and I’m sure we will find ourselves extending our hands and then rapidly apologising when we are shot a horrifying look from the receiver. We can get away with a wave on Zoom meetings, but when we are faced with a new client in the flesh we will need to get creative and find a new way to approach that first connection. Foot tap, gun fingers or maybe jazz hands… my suggestions are not great. Do you have any ideas? One thing is for sure hand sanitiser will take centre stage on all board room tables!

Hot desking is history

Hands off my desk!! Quite literally. If your office hot desked before, there might be a few heated conversations as to who snags the best desk, get ready to roll up your sleeves and claim your territory. A bottle of Glen 20 will take pride of place next to your stapler and you’ll soon find yourself becoming extremely ‘desk proud’ as you conduct regular deep cleans to ensure those pesky germs stay well away.

Quarantine leave

What happens if someone is sick in the office, will we all have to go home and wait it out until no one shows signs of symptoms?! Then what happens when we’re allowed to vacay overseas again, will we have to quarantine when we’re back on Aussie soil?! So many questions! I have a feeling we’ll be permanently converting a space in our homes to use as a backup-office. After this nightmare start to 2020 no risks will be taken because there is NO WAY that we are going through this again. If anyone so much as sneezes next to us, we’ll be retreating to the safety of our homes for 2-3 weeks. …or perhaps we just move to Bali and WFH there?

The truth is, no one knows exactly what the future has in store for us and many companies are still carefully putting together their post-COVID policies, but as restrictions are lifting and we find ourselves easing out of social distancing, I don’t think it will be too long before we discover what our new normal is!

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