We caught up with 73 consultants to get their views on how to get the best out of returning to the office after Christmas. Here’s what some of them had to say
Does your boss really like your return to the office?
Coming into the office after Christmas can be a little bit of a mixed feeling for bosses. Some feel bad that it’s as busy as it is because employees are half asleep and usually on their phones. On the other hand, bosses tend to put employees back to work just a bit more when it’s a relaxed week and they’ve also got the beds to sort out.
‘It’s easy to go back’
Lots of managers actually relish the chance to go back to work and get their hands dirty. Deciding what type of project they should look at might be slightly nerve-wracking for them.
Most managers love working on projects. Projects are about getting closer to their colleagues. It’s easy to go back to the office. You’re not with your partner and the children again, and you don’t have to choose between work and time with your family and friends.
‘Don’t worry about wasting time’
People are often so used to working from home that they forget that a work colleague is sitting at their desk. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time with you chatting about sex, sport or socialising. Think about who you are talking to at work: do they already know you? Do they have a friend at work that they like to gossip about?
If you are on a project or with someone you like to talk to and socialise, try to spend less time at work and more time socialising and enjoying being on set.
‘My colleagues just want to talk about work’
A lot of people are snarky when it comes to coming back to work. You could be the 10th most productive person on set but your colleagues will be grumbling about how the set has been ruined. Sometimes, there are three sets of visitors at one of the sets.
There are even casual conversations that colleagues have about how the set is divided up. An anonymous colleague might say, “Dan, what happened with your work placement today?” and, if it’s not the same (and in this case it doesn’t matter), then the conversation will be short.
‘Don’t feel bad about snacking’
Bosses may be complaining that lunch is sold out, but people will eat because they want to. Don’t feel bad for putting in another 30 minutes, just because you missed the last half-term break. On the other hand, you need to make sure you are working out how long the set is supposed to last and taking a break.
‘Listen to the voice of reason’
Most managers know that everyone else is happy when their boss is happy. Bosses may argue that they have to put the most important people in the right place and they want to avoid upsetting the boss by interrupting him.
If you take the view that employees can take a break while still leaving a set of people at their desk, perhaps it’s good to avoid spending much time in a set where people aren’t in the right place.
‘Focus on the work’
It’s important to not get too caught up in negative comments and, if employees are having a bad day, it’s a good idea to reflect on what’s happening instead of wallowing in it.
‘Workmates give me space to rest’
A colleague might tell you that he’d like you to use the break to think more, but the best way for you to do that is by working. A personal break is great, but it doesn’t rule out that you might find it helpful to be working because it is not blocking your mind.
‘Easier at the weekends’
Most people don’t have a bad week, so the last thing they need is to break off from work. People feel more relaxed at the weekend. Everyone has the rest they need, so there’s less need to force yourself to work when you’d rather be at home watching TV with your family.
From the bosses’ point of view, this is good. If you want to be more productive, it’s easier to do that over the weekend.
Dahleen Barrett, office entrepreneur and owner of Put It To Work, Ltd