So much has been written about whether everyone should get back to the office. Many commentators point out that a huge number of people have been at the workplace throughout the pandemic regardless. They simply had no alternative, because their jobs required their physical presence.
Most importantly, the debate centres on people who normally work at a desk in an office, but have been working from home. This is fine for those with advanced careers, combined with a comfortable home office arrangement. Someone starting out however, will probably be working from their bedroom in a shared rented flat. Hardly ideal!
Furthermore, if you are starting out on your career then you need to be with others on a regular basis. Only then can you learn, simply by being in close proximity to more experienced co-workers. Watching what others do and how they do it is critical to career development.
You learn simply by being in close proximity to more experienced co-workers. Watching what others do and how they do it is critical to career development.
Early in my career, I wasn’t necessarily learning skills from a specific event, such as in an arranged meeting or a formal training session. Yet crucially, I picked up a great deal, passively or sub-consciously, just by being present! Listening to random conversations as people worked out how to deal with a given problem, then explaining the answer to the client. These experiences are invaluable for the newbie.
Don’t damage your career, by avoiding the office
But it’s more than that. I’ve heard oblique references to newbies damaging their career prospects by resisting a return to the office, despite the request of their bosses.
Last weekend in the Sunday Times, James Timpson, Chief Executive of the Timpson Group, clearly stated his position on this issue. “I would never promote someone I didn’t know or rarely saw…Ultimately the message is clear. If you want to get promoted, earn more and have fun, get back to the office.” It’s worth pointing out that Timpsons is renowned for not only caring for its staff, but also giving a leg up to the less fortunate.
I would never promote someone I didn’t know or rarely saw…Ultimately the message is clear. If you want to get promoted, earn more and have fun, get back to the office.
On the face of it, working from home seems like a decent option. You can save money on office clothing, by not commuting and not buying that daily coffee from Costa. However, consider these costs: they may be relatively small savings compared to the many rewards of career advancement!
As the title of Timpson’s article advises, “Want that promotion? Get back to the office!”