I went back to the office after two years of full-time working from home. A lot has changed since that rainy, Friday-the-13th afternoon in March 2020. I wasn’t expecting to be so glad to be back. There’s only one reason to go back to the office.
The only reason to go back to the office is if it’s worth your time.
That’s it. For me, it’s the people. I am fortunate to love what I do (SaaS service delivery), and where I do it (ClearVoice, a Fiverr company). The people I work with make all the difference. We’re back in the office Tuesdays and Thursdays as of last week. This week, we have friends visiting from HQ in Tel Aviv so a lot of us also came in Wednesday, too.
Up until last Tuesday, I was the only customer success manager ever based in the office. The rest of my pre-covid team moved on. In their place, half a dozen amazing people I have only known over Zoom, Slack, and email joined the team. This week, we all met IRL for the first time.
Your people make it worth your time.
Before covid, my commute was 45 minutes to an hour each way. I tried every route Google suggested in the name of shaving precious minutes off my sentence. I hated it. And I had come to resent spending the better part of 10 hours a week (and $60+ in fuel) so I could sit in a cubicle all day.
I’ve gone from working at my kitchen table, to working from my garage workbench, to working next to my best friend. V consolidated her office to make room for me to come inside out of the elements. I miss having V right next to me all day. It’s challenging at times, but it’s wonderful and I love how well we’ve leveled-up in the last two years.
Talk is cheap. We are what we DO.
“Company culture” is often a convenient rally cry for going back to the office. Company culture isn’t just a group of people spending time together with chips and drinks. Especially when they have no say in the matter. Forget the gimmicks—culture is people wanting to be around each other.
It’s only worth it when the people you spend that time with are people you respect, appreciate, and enjoy. You can count on them. They can count on you. Your experience and performance should improve when you’re back in the office. If it isn’t, there are trust issues. (And people who can’t trust others cannot be trusted.)
This week has felt a lot like a conference. It’s like we’re a bunch of marketing professionals who met on the Internet. We’ve built a culture around mutual respect and accountability online. Now we’re meeting each other in person for the first time and it’s like meeting old friends for the first time.
I’m enjoying spending time with my people. I still don’t like commuting and all that comes with it. But I love that I can get to know my teammates better when we’re in the office.
I’m only here for the people.
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