Leah Coglin, the lorries’ head of resources, doesn’t think so. Here’s why.
This week has heralded the small-scale reopening of the lorries’ London office, where I’m based. Our colleagues in Boston, LA, Berlin and Paris are also starting to spend more time in their respective offices, but it’s still a novelty to see groups of us together on our weekly company update call.
Personally, I couldn’t bloody wait to get back into the office. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a very sociable person, who lives for ‘the chat’. Life is very dull without it! Especially when your only workmate is a husband who’s so ‘in the zone’ that he won’t even stop for a cup of tea and a biscuit.
I don’t know about you, but my life has got awfully small in the last year. I bounce from home, to school, to nursery, to the supermarket, to home again. If I want to spice things up a bit, I might throw in a trip to the Post Office. And this is coming from a girl that used to be cabin crew. I’d finish my working day in San Francisco or Shanghai. Not at home. For the 455th day in a row.
When I tell friends and family that I’m going back into the office, most of them are pretty jealous. But if you asked them (or me) again when it’s November, 3°C and raining, you might not get the same answer!
Flexibility is key
Now don’t get me wrong. I love the flexibility of working from home. The things you can achieve in five-minute breaks between calls is fabulous. Two loads of washing – check. Supermarket delivery – check. Only wearing clothes with an elasticated waistband – check.
But could I imagine spending the rest of my working life at my dining table? No. It’s the same room where we eat as a family. Where we watch TV. Where I have stood on a toy dinosaur in bare feet more times than I care to remember in the last year.
That’s why we’re encouraging people to come into the office two to three days a week – or all five if that’s your bag! With this arrangement, we hope the lorries will be able to experience the benefits of both homeworking and in-person collaboration. After all, PR is a people business.
For me – and for most of our people here at the lorries – it’s crucial to have a distinction between work and home. There’s plenty of evidence that this boosts productivity, as well as mental and physical health. It’s tough to switch off when the day slides into night and you’re still at the laptop. We’ve all been there. Having to physically leave your workspace at the end of the day is vital. It’s something that I didn’t appreciate before, and a key reason why I think working in the office is important.
The last year has been tough on all of us. It’s why we’re really excited to get together in person as colleagues to catch-up, welcome new starters (many of whom have never physically met the team) and re-connect. It’s also why we’ve rolled out a brand-new Lorry Wellbeing Programme, which includes Summer Hours (finishing at 3pm on a Friday), extra annual leave and a complimentary wellness app subscription for every lorry.
One thing’s for certain, the next few months will be interesting for all of us. People are craving normality, but at the same time this transition can seem daunting. Everyone is going to have to find their own happy medium by supporting each other – something the lorries are very good at!
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