With most Australian states heading into stage 2 of lifting the COVID19 restrictions, many businesses are already preparing to ease their people back into the workplace in the coming weeks.
For some it will be a welcome relief from the Groundhog Day that WFH life has become, and a chance to catch up face-to-face with colleagues and customers after living life over a screen. For others, though, returning to the office could spell the end of their Utopian work/life balance, or an increase in anxiety as they leave their WFH bubble and return to the real world, with the risks of greater social interaction.
Love it or hate it, life in lockdown has taught us all some valuable lessons. We asked our people to share their biggest learnings from WFH life and what new habits they plan to keep in a post-lockdown work environment.
CAFFEINE ADDICTIONS AND HUMAN CONTACT
It comes as no surprise that everyone is looking forward to more social interaction when they return to the office. Nor that they plan to blow their weekly budgets on coffee from their favourite locals, providing a much needed injection into the local food and beverage industry.
Being back in the office more frequently makes it much easier to communicate with our people and also our customers, according to one of our Regional Managers, David McLean.
The sharing of ideas and collaboration on problem solving is also much easier done face to face. Briarley Osmond, one of our Team Leaders in Brisbane, is looking forward to "being able to bounce ideas off each other, and having us all together to support one another”.
Pictured left: Briarley Osmond, and above with her team
WE ALL HAVE ‘THE FEAR’ - AND THAT’S OK!
With the increased risk of exposure to the virus, as numbers on public transport increase, fears of a second wave are not unfounded. Most of the country is anxious about having to utilise trains and buses in getting back into the workplace, especially in CBD locations.
It might mean that many people look to other alternatives for their commute. Sharmin Lubonski (pictured right), one of our Sydney Travel Managers, plans to invest in an electric bike to reduce the amount of time she spends on trains and buses.
Those of us in the travel industry are especially anxious about a second wave and what it means to the survival of our business, as expressed by Catherine Tschaepe, a Team Leader from Melbourne.
“Our industry has been hit hard and I would hate to see us have to go back into lockdown and prolong borders being closed and travel restrictions kept in place because we see a large spike in cases or the situation becomes worse”.
We will all need to use our common sense and abide by the social distancing measures to ensure our communities stay safe during the easing of restrictions.
YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG ZOOM ETIQUETTE
While many of us have loved the opportunity to WFH and regain some work/life balance, it has not been without its challenges.
It seems a reduction in Zoom calls will be relished by all. Sydney Team Leader Jonathon Tas (pictured left) has admitted that “I won’t miss my partner wanting to fill my new found spare time with jobs around the house.” And apparently “Snaccidents” happen far too frequently at home with close proximity of the fridge, according to Account Manager Carmen Nunn.
David Fazakerly, one of our Groups Specialists in Melbourne, has struggled with having his dogs at his feet wanting attention while he attempts to work. And as much as we have all loved the extra affection from our furry friends, the poorly-timed barking whilst presenting on Zoom calls will not be missed - by dog-owners or their colleagues!
“OUT OF ADVERSITY COMES OPPORTUNITY” - Benjamin Franklin
We’ve all had to adapt to a very new way of life almost overnight. In order to survive, companies have had to evolve quickly, including implementing productive WFH strategies to ensure business continuity.
As Briarley Osmond reflects, “we have worked out how to have better work/life balance and we now have the tools to be much more flexible with where we work.” Having proven that the remote work model can succeed, we expect to see more companies embracing flexible working as a regular policy, just as we at Flight Centre Business Travel aim to do.
Our National Brand Leader, Cameron Harris embraces flexible working, and shares:
"Getting to spend more quality time with family has been a silver lining through this challenging time"
Many of us have adopted new habits which we plan to integrate back into our ‘normal’ working life, such as taking more time for self-care, with yoga, meditation and morning workouts, and prioritising regular breaks into our schedules.
Tanya Chivers (pictured right), a Travel Manager from Sydney, reflects:“my biggest take-away is how important it is to disconnect and take a break every day.” But perhaps Kathryn Quaratino, one of our Team Leaders, sums it up best:
“I would just like the pace of my life to remain a bit slower”
A sentiment shared by many, for sure!