September is a month of new beginnings. New schools and colleges for students. A new season as autumn approaches. And a new ‘term’ for those of us returning to work after summer days and holidays.
The September return to work brings much busyness as brainstorm meetings are organised and projects and budgets are set. All with expectations of delivery before Christmas.
It’s the same year in, year out. However, this September there’s an additional ‘new’. Employers large and small are calling for more time in the office. Three years on from the pandemic, while working from home is still commonplace, it has evolved into hybrid working and now we’re seeing a hefty push for regular and more frequent office-based attendance.
A recent BBC Worklife article highlighted how bosses are running out of patience at employees reluctance to return, and getting tougher with their return-to-office policies. They are stating several days in the office as statutory and entry badge swipes will be tracked and monitored. Clearly, they mean business.
It’s not quite as simple as shifting cultural change in workers though. There are practical logistics at play too. Childcare is often juggled between two parents because they can work from home. And it’s well known that many people became pet owners in 2020 making long commuting days a challenge. Dogs cannot be left home alone because your boss says they want you at your office desk.
Hybrid working provided the natural solution to this new-found dilemma. But as more days sitting in, very often, expensive city buildings look to become the norm, a shift in how people have led their lives in recent years must happen too.
It will be interesting to see where we are this time next September. Will employers say office only or you’re out? I certainly hope not. Thank goodness I now work for myself and can make my own choices.