Here’s What The Adland Misses Most About Being In The Office

Interior of modern office with empty desk.

As Sydney approaches week eight of lockdown and other cities around the country continue to navigate the ongoing Covid situation, we spoke to some senior marketers and agency execs to find out what they miss most about life in the office.

Damien Sheehan, Country Head of Australia, IWG:

The office has a unique buzz to it that just can’t be replaced. Working with other people in creative, purpose-built environments can foster so much innovation and is where the ‘magic’ happens. As I’m sure many Australians are, I am excited to get back into a different working environment other than just my home office and be able to socialise and collaborate in ways that just aren’t possible remotely. As we move to the tail end of 2021 and look to life beyond lockdowns, the office holds a major draw card, but I can also see people wanting more flexibility and options of where and how they work. 

The idea of hybrid working was not created by the pandemic, but it sure did accelerate it. At IWG, we are fortunate to already be leading the charge when it comes to hybrid working and we are seeing more and more business opt to offer employees a hybrid option to work from the main office, a suburban hub or home. As much as we all miss the office now, I know that after a few months of being back, some will miss working from home, so having the solutions to suit hybrid working will become paramount.

Jenni Dill, Chief Marketing Officer, The Arnott’s Group 

I’d say I’m definitely missing seeing people’s faces in real life and unshackling myself from the screen (it’s hard to leave the office when the office is your living room). I also miss being able to drop into the culinary centre at our head office and sample some of the new and delicious recipes that our chefs and bakers are working on. Most importantly, I miss being able to walk around the office and chat to people to quickly unlock opportunities and find solutions to problems – and of course I miss the office bikkie jar (it’s pretty epic!).

Vicky Skipp, Head of Asia Pacific and Japan, Workplace from Facebook.

Lockdowns and restrictions have brought with them great challenges for all staff especially with so many of us now fully working from home. It can be a challenge to keep teams motivated and minimise disruption when there is seemingly no end in sight. Across our workforce is a collection of carers, home-schooling parents, people living in larger shared houses and those living at home alone. Lockdown certainly isn’t a level playing field, and the novelty has worn off and I miss the energy that my colleagues provide and the atmosphere that comes from being physically present amongst like-minded professionals in an office.

With so much of what we do at Workplace from Facebook being about connecting people, we know we have an important role to play in helping companies adapt to a virtual office and to thrive. We’re really lucky to have access to products and tools that bring parts of the office atmosphere home. What lockdowns have taught us is that we can work and collaborate virtually, oftentimes even more efficiently than we did before – because it’s not about where we are, but whether we are connected.

Sara Palmieri, ANZ Marketing Lead, Lenovo.

Settling back into full-time remote work, by this stage ‘home’ and ‘work’ are again blurring into one and hybrid work is the way forward. It can be easy for any employee to be side-tracked by distractions during the day, and above all, we miss those personal connections with our colleagues that are built organically at the office. 

At Lenovo, it is important to our leadership team to understand employees’ challenges right now and address them so they are empowered to deliver for our customers, no matter where they’re working from. We’re really fortunate to have been able to introduce health and wellness benefits, including twice-weekly guided meditation sessions, as well as fun perks to keep motivation high – from Uber Eats vouchers to virtual drinks. Ultimately, we’re committed to providing a supportive environment for all our hybrid workers, because it’s our people that ensure Lenovo’s long-term growth and sustainability.

Skye Lambley, Group MD, Herd MSL

During this time away from the office, while we shift back into remote working, I definitely miss the creativity and energy of collaborating in-person with my team. I love the passion, productivity and ease of bouncing ideas off each other that comes when you put so many creative and talented practitioners in the same space. These experiences and connections fostered such an exciting, innovative, and united office culture.

It has been a strange time over the last year or so. My team has worked tirelessly during multiple lockdowns and has excelled through it all. I believe that during this time while we are physically apart; it is even more important to foster connectedness and take the time to recharge where needed. After the disappointing news of the lockdown extension, I felt it was crucial to inject some positivity. To do this, our leadership team introduced some health and wellness initiatives, a couple of which, an agency-wide day off and Friday early finishes to allow the team take the time to reset. We wanted to ensure that everyone feels supported and is in the best mindset to get through this challenging time until we can all come together again.

Image: iStock/alvarez

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