The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically switched things up in the office set up, probably for good.
Employees used to work behind desks, attend boardroom meetings, corporate retreats, team building sessions and even end of year office parties but they have had to adapt fast.
Companies have had to invest in an employee's ability to work from home to cut down on physical interactions in the office but this has come with its pros and cons.
Here are five that come at the top of my mind:
Friday is no longer Furahiday
"Ni kama saa kumi ya jioni, kuna kitu inasumbua rohoni, niko job niko ndani ya ofisi and am feeling kind of uneasy," goes the intro in the collabo hit by Nonini and Nameless. After a long week of meeting deadlines, writing reports, filing documents, balancing accounts and endless meetings, we all look forward to Friday as the official starter to the weekend.
Productivity by most employees takes a snail's pace, especially on Friday afternoons, as they wait for the Furahiday party to begin, but the joy of waiting for Friday has changed for those working from home.
Public Holidays, just another ordinary day
Friday May 14 has been declared a national holiday to mark Eid-ul-Fitr, based on the Muslim calendar, as the end of the holy month of Ramadhan, meaning everyone gets an extra-long weekend. But with many employees working from home, such holidays which fall on a weekday no longer have the same meaning as they did before.
The joy of getting a public holiday mid-week, which was akin to an off day, is not that much of a joyous moment anymore.
No work colleagues, office bunter
In an office setup, one works with colleagues. From one department to another, you meet up on the hallways, chat during tea or lunch break and even head home together after a long day in the office. However, with the working from home adopted by many one is forced to work alone, in your own space and no one to have a laugh with in-between work.
No office puns from those who understand your office and career puns and no quick confirmations and assistance from colleagues and other departments like IT on wifi matters.
No office drama
An office, just like an estate, has to have some form of drama; from office gossip, jokes on fellow work mates, office relationships, admiration of fellow work mates, stress from line managers with endless emails and enforceable deadlines, late working hours among other things. These make the office environment somehow fast-paced and sometimes toxic. But all these are now a thing of the past when one works from home. The only drama one sees is from fellow family members.
No more social life
The office may be a place of work but it can also be a place for social gatherings and activities such as end-year parties, team building sessions, after work hang outs, and in some situations, a bit of office romance. As employees switch to working from home, all these activities become nothing but a distant memory, no more hanging out with co-workers, no more parties and no more flirting with the new receptionist at the front desk.
All these changes occasioned by the pandemic might stay with us for a long time or become the norm in working into the future. Can we handle it? Only time will tell.