What new life in the office after the health crisis?

The vision of a totally unimaginable world where everything suddenly stops has led the French to rethink their way of life. This was particularly felt by employees. According to a Swile survey carried out among 1,500 employees in April 2021, the return to the office marks new trends. 70% of those questioned consider that their professional life has been transformed by the health crisis. What will office life be like tomorrow? What are the new expectations of employees? Has the health crisis put an end to a certain form of French conviviality?

A level of commitment that remains high among the French

Despite everything we have heard about the fact that the confinement has arranged well for some who did not want to go to work, the majority of French people took pleasure in returning to the office. The solidarity observed between neighbors was also invited between colleagues. Employees feel more committed to the company in which they work. 67% of those surveyed feel loyal and motivated to do their best for their company. Resilience is very real in France. The trauma of the various confinements has brought a new way of feeling closer to his business.

A stronger sense of belonging

We missed our colleagues. Everyone has the impression of having experienced something exceptional and improbable. A feeling that brings the population together. In a company, we all belong to a team that had to support each other to keep their jobs. This feeling of belonging was reinforced upon returning to the office. Although social distancing continues to be recommended within professional premises, the fact remains that we have still witnessed reunion scenes. Many people really missed the breaks around the coffee machine . Some of the employees did not experience the confinement and felt a feeling of loneliness. For a majority of these people, it was the feeling of belonging to a socio-professional community that kept them going.

Posting from the workplace

Teleworking and team cohesion: how to maintain conviviality? With the explosion of teleworking, new ways of working have been entrenched. Formerly rather disparaged and related to lazy people who do not want to work, teleworking has proven its worth. Businesses continued to function well. Now we are talking about including teleworking continuously in employment contracts. The physical office on the premises is no longer the only option for working. Some employees have taken a liking to remote work without necessarily placing it on a full-time basis. By asking employees about the ideal length of teleworking, the result fluctuates between 2 and 3 days a week. New techniques have been acquired in order to work effectively remotely. On the employers’ side, we even see certain advantages (smaller, cheaper premises, reduction in sick leaves, delays, stress linked to transport and traffic jams, etc.).

A not so identical return to the pre-health crisis

For a new life at the office, there is a strong awareness that sets in: we no longer accept everything we used to accept. Stress, distance from where they live, schedules, endless meetings: these are the elements that emerge when faced with employees who wish to enter a new era in the office.

Teleworking is increasingly requested by employees and accepted by companies. While the majority are happy to return to work, this effect should not abate. The risk after such a crisis would be to pass from the euphoric state to an ambient weariness. The challenge for those responsible for human resources and the quality of life at work will be to strengthen team cohesion, which has been severely tested. If collective gatherings between colleagues seem possible again, the typically French hello ritual (kissing but also shaking hands) is a practice that has not yet been restored.

The new life at the office is real. The crisis will have caused trauma for some but positive awareness for others. The company must remain a place of meeting and conviviality in which one feels useful to belong to a group. If new measures are to be put in place, they can only be beneficial for employees who will enjoy returning to the office.

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