The Young MCA Manchester Committee held an online lunchtime event titled “From Loungewear to Workwear: Returning to the Office with Confidence”. During the event, the Manchester Committee shared their experiences and useful tips in relation to working from home, returning to the office and returning to client site.
We have put together a summary of the key discussion points:
Rohit Ganeriwal, a Consulting Manager from Cognizant Consulting
Rohit is still working from home and shared his pros and cons of working from home and what he misses the most about being in office.
He misses the early morning conversations with work colleagues over coffee in the office and he talked about this cannot be replaced by instant messages or quick phone calls to have a chat. He said he feels that it is good to see other people (outside your family) for mental health. Rohit also noted that when work was hectic, lunch with colleagues and that down time helped to manage the stress. There were other seemingly minor parts of the day that Rohit observed made a difference to his wellbeing including having the travel time as “me” time and using the commute to listen to music.
Several practical points were raised and Rohit talked about the value of meeting stakeholders face-to-face particularly for the first meeting. He also mentioned missing white board sessions or workshops as these helped build trust with stakeholders and this kind of interaction is difficult to replicate this when working remotely.
When asked what he would like to continue doing after returning to office Rohit said he would like to continue with his yoga and meditation as this has helped his mental health. He recommended finding a quiet room to meditate (most offices have this space) and said that investing in his mental health improved his resilience.
Samantha Ricciuti, a Consultant from PwC
Samantha talked about what it was like to return to the office and shared tips of how to prepare and ease anxiety around returning to the office.
For Samantha, going back into the office has helped her mental health as she is around other people and has a reason to get out of her flat. She commented on the separation of work and home life and how going into the office has made it easier to set boundaries for a healthy work-life balance.
Some of the tips for returning to the office Samantha shared were:
- Familiarise yourself with any COVID-19 protocols your office has before you go in
- Ask those who have been in the office what people wear, you don’t want to show up suited and booted if no one else is.
- Pre -plan your trip to the office so you know how you’re getting there and how long it will take you
- Make a day of it – plan to go in on a day when your work friends are going in and plan dinner or drinks
- Plan in person catch-ups to make the most of your time in the office
Hannah Crompton, a Consultant from NECS Consultancy
Hannah shared her experiences returning to a client site in 2021 after a long period from working from home and how her confidence had grown from the first time working on site to now.
Hannah recommended that when the opportunity to work on a client site is being discussed, it’s important to communicate with your project team and share any concerns you may have. She did this and it helped her to feel supported and safe to do site work. She also advised that young consultants agree key outcomes with the client before working on site so that you understand client expectations and goals.
Before working on site, Hannah planned her on-site work and made an effort to understand any safety measures or restrictions in place. She also talked about including the client in her planning discussions and that this resulted in a more efficient site visit where she knew what needed to be done and could get started straight away.
Hannah talked about the benefits of on-site work. She had fun and enjoyed the opportunity to learn and better understand her client’s perspective. She noted that it allowed her to see firsthand the challenges and issues her client faced and that she was able to gain valuable insight that isn’t possible to glean when from working with home.