COVID turned us into work slobs – here’s how businesses are fighting back

COVID-19 lockdowns have turned us into workplace slobs.

COVID-19 lockdowns have turned us into workplace slobs. Photo: LinkedIn

COVID-19 appears to have not only changed the way that Australians work, but also created a lowering of standards in some offices and a demand for a wide range of perks such as stocked kitchens and board games in others, according to experts.

Peter Grist, who runs a national training and development company, Grist, said bringing workers back to the office had presented problems like poor dress, tardiness and inappropriate language.

“These issues may sound trivial, but when you are part of a team working with people day in and day out, these things start to grind on people’s nerves and can cause massive implosions,’’ he said.

“Even worse, if these people are representing businesses at stakeholder, client and new business meetings, these issues can be extremely damaging for a brand. Business can be lost.

“Some of these issues are not easy to navigate either. Businesses are chewing up a lot of time dealing with these things, which is both uncomfortable and unproductive.

“Many managers do not have the skills required to address these issues from a communication point of view, which is making matters worse.

“The reality is that while people have been working from home during the pandemic, many have acclimatised to the new normal of not being in the office and adjusted their behaviour and personal practices accordingly,” Grist said.

“Turning up to team Zoom meets in PJs or casual wear has become commonplace. People have become so relaxed about working from home that their dress, language, presentation and appearance has dropped from being business-like to casual weekend-like.

“These habits have become entrenched and now that people are returning to the office, they are not returning with pre-pandemic office behaviours. They are still operating as if they are sitting at home.

“In addition, workplaces have undergone quite a bit of change. New people have come on board, others have moved on, individual values and expectations have changed also. As a result, workplace culture has become diluted and fractured.”

Home away from home

Workspaces founder and chief executive Jenny Folley said business were also being forced to provide entertainment and comfort zones to get workers back to the office.

She said cooking classes at work had become popular.

“Aussies are happy to go back to work provided work is near home and the workplace is enjoyable,’’ Folley said.

“As a result, we are seeing some amazing office trends emerging as workers return to the office.

“Offices are no longer just places of work. They are community and social hubs where people can enjoy life and have fun.

“They are becoming comfort zones where staff can relax, learn, socialise and unwind.

Workplaces are providing areas where staff can take a break. Photo: Getty

“One of the biggest trends we are seeing is a move towards fully stocked kitchens in the office,’’ Folley said.

“Aussie workers have developed a penchant for stocked kitchens with a broad array of pantry and refrigerated foods and drinks.

“Workers like being able to make their own lunch and experiment with different coffees and teas. While working from home, they lived with a refrigerator nearby so they want to continue this convenience while working at the office.

“Physical games are making a comeback across the office. Workers are enjoying playing games such as cards, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit and Rummikub.

“To compete, businesses are having to kick their kitchens up a level. Many office spaces now have pantry items, breakfast cereals, fresh bread and pastries delivered daily, an assortment of sandwich fillings and a great coffee machine with an extensive range of blends and teas on offer too.”

This article first appeared in InQueensland. Read the original here.

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