What Employees Miss the Most Out of the Current Climate

What do you miss the most about working in an office? Employees say that the pandemic has made them miss office chitchats around the water cooler. If you really think about it, many have taken to having those clandestine talks online — on messenger apps — as far back as the early 2000s.

Before the pandemic, workers even patrolled their pantry not just for water but for an assortment of coffee, tea, beverages, cereals, dried fruits and snacks. It’s a common sight to see on almost every floor in big tech companies around Silicon Valley. 

Who has time for chitchat when there’s an abundance of food and drinks to entertain you?! Oh yes, some miss their free meals and snacks in those companies now.

In the current uneasy climate, virtual conferencing is now the place for work and chitchats, where coworkers mix casual talk with workloads but again, it’s not the same for workers who miss seeing each other in person.

Tired of working from home?

What else do you miss? Having office lunch with a colleague. These days, many workers have learned to cook their own food, if they are even allowed to do so by their landlords, many of whom don’t allow many of their tenants to cook or to use their kitchen — a common complaint in a tight rental market. 

Not if they rented at California Corporate Housing, which offers housing accommodations that include fully stocked kitchen equipment. 

There are also those who miss their offices, because they learned that living with their loved ones, if suddenly frayed, can feel like a pressure cooker. The lockdown and remote work can be a recipe for conflicts. 

Worse of all, some employees may have suddenly become more withdrawn, bothered by all the news and overall uncertainty, as life events (birthdays, anniversaries) pass them by with no one noticing. 

Others are simply tired of working from home, which is not unusual to hear.

Global mobility managers and HR would certainly need to find ways how they can operate outside of the confines of physical offices. How do they reach out to their assignees and how do they control their exposure to the media, even as they open their social media accounts. 

Studies claim that many have become more productive, but that is really hard to determine with the exposure of workers to something that was almost muted before but is now almost screaming at them to notice: News, not the savory kind. 

It was also tough for foreign students in their first year in college in the United States. It was tough to hear reports whether they were going to be sent home or kept in lockdown, especially when they could not even go to their schools and had no choice but to rough it out for the next few months in the early pandemic months — alone.

Monthly meetings decreased

For expats, the months since the pandemic, a report by Paychex noted how monthly meetings with managers decreased from 10 to six. If it’s any consolation, though, the pandemic made managers think more than productivity or deadlines.

From the point of view of the employees, they observed that their managers offered encouragement (48%), making themselves consistently available (33%), offering emotional support (32%), and creating regular and structured check-ins (32%). 

But team managers observed that they lost touch with other managers. Peers on an equal footing found that their relationships weakened since the pandemic started. Even without malice, relationships can fray or erode without constant communication. The report suggests that changes caused by the virus put managers and leaders in a more difficult spot compared to their assignees. 

In this piece, it’s interesting to ask if our relationship is going to be mostly in front of the computer screen, do we lose our edge because there’s no engagement, culture and creativity as much as before? What will happen to liking our jobs and liking the people you work with? Would that be gone, too? What happens to office relationships?

Those questions may have answers soon enough with the fast roll-out of vaccines everywhere. If the vaccines prove to be effective and there are many positive signs that they are working, 2021 will be a year for healing, and for roaring back in style.