Share Tweet For anyone who has worked from home for a sustained period of time they will potentially at one point change role or relinquish their own business to take on a new job. In most circumstances this could include a step back into the office. Let me tell you it is a daunting change. I’ve recently experienced this feeling. After 18 months of working from home I accepted a new role which involves 3 days in the office. Apprehension set in. Sure working from home comes with negatives but having been offered a role which was simply too good to refuse I was still scared about giving up the home comforts for the office. Making the transition is a culture shock. This may sound dramatic but working from home alters how you work so making the transition to someone else’s rules can be different. Making the decision to go back to the office and what you can expect needs to be considered before you make the decision. It’s not an easy one I assure you but understanding what you lose and what you gain can help you make the right decision for you. What you gain: Regimented working hours: This is dependent on the job you take on and the demands of the business when outside of working hours but typically when working in an office you have regimented working hours which you adhere to. If making the transition to the office again it’s best to make sure the job has a respectable expectation of its staff. Having those clear boundaries between work hours and after hours provides more balance. When working from home it’s hard to distinguish such. If having a fulfilling family life is something you strive for then heading back to the cubicle could give that. Most people associate working in business with poor work life balance however if you choose the right company it could be the opposite. Office Camaraderie: If you’re a people person then working from home can be an isolated place. That postman is awesome for a month; as is the cat but the concept soon wears thin. Ultimately you begin missing office camaraderie or office banter as I like to call it. The office has re instilled this for me. I love having a conversation with people about what I did the night before or chatting about something trivial. Unless your partner works from home too then you can never have this when not in an office environment. Meeting new people: I love meeting new people and the office presents such. I’ve met some of my best friends in previous roles and moving back to the office gives me the opportunity to meet new friends. If friendships and developing more is of interest to you then getting back to the office can help. I’ve met some great new people already since been back in the office and I am looking forward to making more. Developing a rapport within the business: One of the biggest challenges of working from home when working for an organisation is developing yourself within the business. Out of sight out of mind is a common phrase used to describe how it can feel when you work from home. Joining a new organisation with fresh ideas and optimism can really help you create a reputation within the business. Doing this while working from home is tough. They say ‘let your work do the talking’ but sometimes it requires face to face interaction to develop the relationship. Bouncing ideas off others: The office environment can be a breeding ground for creativity and idea sharing. Having people to discuss your ideas with and to bounce off is priceless. This is something I desperately missed when working from home. Some of the best ideas are discussed over a beer with work colleagues and the work environment provides this. What you lose: Flexibility: Although a number of companies now offer work/life balance the office environment is far more rigid than the work from home environment. When working from home you can typically flex your hours. Want to cook a monster lunch? No problem. Have a dentist appointment? Go right ahead! The office may allow you to flex your hours but more often than not this is still a ‘set’ schedule. If flexibility is such an important part of your life then you need to consider this or assess the organisation you are joining and their openness to flexi time before you take the role. Working in your PJ’s: Ok so I don’t wear PJ’s but you get the point! Working from an office environment means you need to put in more effort and get dressed into something which is acceptable for the mass audience. When I worked from home I typically wore shorts and a t-shirt whereas in the office i need to wear at least jeans and a t-shirt. Sure it’s not much different but you need to ‘think’ more about what you wear day to day as you are far more stakeholder facing than when you work from home. Personal cooking space: One of the hardest transitions I have found is adapting to a new place to eat. I developed a pretty healthy lifestyle when working from home so moving that to the office means preparation and things which are transferable to a basic kitchen. Working from home offers such an opportunity to eat healthy as you can cook your meals within your home kitchen. In most businesses you lose this when you head back to the office. Home comforts: When heading back to the office you miss those little home comforts which make your home office perfect. In my case this was my coffee machine, sound system, home gym and my leather office chair to name just a few. Although the new place of work may offer some of these, many offices might not quite match those home comforts you got used to. Small sacrifice maybe but a sacrifice none the less. Working conditions/atmosphere: Office is about compromise. Most offices are open plan and typically you will share with other individuals. This means a compromise has to be struck or you have to adapt to the surrounding you are part of. When working from home you can choose when you listen to music and when you don’t. You also get to choose the type of music you listen to. Your working conditions may also include the temperate you work in or the type of lighting in the office. Typically the ergonomics you develop are not the same when you initially venture back to the office. Making the transition: Everything you do takes a period of transition and moving back to the office after working from home is no different. Whether it’s something you want to do or not is essentially your decision and sometimes relies on a leap of faith as such. Office environments differ and you’re not always aware of the office environment you are about to enter. No doubt you will miss the things which made working from home an initial option for you but at the same time you will gain things which cannot be achieved when at home. It involves a process of weighing the pros and cons and making the RIGHT decision for you long term.