Perspective from Rachael Conti, Senior Graphic Designer
Work-from-home (WFH) culture has become second nature to many of us across the globe. Heck! Advantage even rebranded the company tagline to incorporate that sentiment. But as the weather gets nicer and local industries open for business, people start to crack open their doors and smell the fresh air. What does this mean for the office folk, who don’t necessarily need to rush back? Do we even want to?
Personally, being at home has been an easy transition for me. Once the pandemic hit, I was eager to quarantine—hunkering down with family during such a scary and unpredictable time. I’m a Senior Graphic Designer at Advantage, with a lesser need to have in-person or even virtual meetings with clients. I have an efficient home office set up, with a large LG monitor and lots of desk space. I also have the freedom to work from anywhere on my MacBook: in the kitchen, on the patio, with all-day access to the fridge and decent quality coffee. Not too shabby.
The reality is everyone is different—with varying home life scenarios. We have the Single Millennials (like me), with maybe a dog (beta fish) to look after, who may not mind the flexible nature of working from home. We have the Young Families, whose kids are out of daycare and school, trying to multi-task their day job with homeschooling. Who knows? Maybe they enjoy that extra time with their family, regardless of how chaotic it can be. And then we have theBaby Boomers, who may have older children at home, but the household is otherwise quiet. With all these varying demographics, psychographics, and even geographics, it’s hard to determine the winning vote.
When that day comes to head back to the office, what will the transition be like? Will agencies be even more flexible in allowing employees to continue to work from home? Even before the pandemic, Advantage employees had the option to work remotely from anywhere. We are a sports, entertainment, and events focused agency, where travel is always a requirement. With COVID, we now travel less, but working remotely came easy to us.
The office culture and morale are also greatly impacted by this new WFH regiment. We don’t get to socialize in-person at our weekly “Thursday Soiree”, volunteer at the Special Olympics CT Summer Games, or enjoy our annual summer outing. Despite all this, Advantage has been making an effort to stay connected through company-wide zoom happy hours, book-club meetings, and just plain “shooting the sh*t” before and after work calls—mostly to catch up on that missing “office chatter”. Some of our staff even mailed out stickers and pre-stamped coloring postcards just to keep up morale. This tenacity in maintaining our work culture speaks volumes about who Advantage truly is. It’s the people—such a warm and inviting group—that define Advantage. With this, I do hope we can someday get back to the place we were before.
In all, every agency and every employee has a different opinion on the matter. When a company is determining the right time to return, the individual’s situation must be taken into consideration. So long as everyone stays flexible and the lines of communication remain open, I believe the transition won’t be as dreadful as we think.