I got this question from a LinkedIn post and I realized I have so many things to say that it’s better to blog about it (una, may hoshilandia ako, eh.) Surprisingly, after all these years, I have top things I miss the most in the office.
The thing I miss the most in the office
The usual answers sa post na ito ay air conditioning, pagkain sa pantry, free office supplies, etc. Kung bago ako sa work from home setup, probably ganun din ang sagot ko. Pero medyo matagal na ako sa working hybrid. Kaya what I miss the most in the office ay yung simpleng warm and deep conversations with my colleagues, kahit sabaw o imbierna rin ang iba. hahahaha!
Allow me to elaborate the whats and whys in my answer.
Sa work from home, you have to do most of the things independently. Kasama na roon iyong mga bagay na maganda sana ay ikinukunsulta sa mga kasama mo sa work, lalo na sa supervisor o manager. Practically, hindi ko naman alam lahat at crucial yung ganun sa decision-making sa mabibigat na bagay.
Hindi lang ‘yon, socializing is beyond sa team work. It energizes you to see things differently than when you are alone. May makinig lang sa kwento mo o may makausap ka lang, parang buhay na ang araw mo.
Lucky pa ako kasi I am ambivert so there’s part of me that says it’s okay. I can do things alone. But to be honest, one of the things I struggled to overcome initially was the feeling of social isolation. Somehow, mayroon pa but more on the different or lighter level—like feeling of being out of place!
Ang out of place ay yung pakiramdam na hindi ka kasama o kumportable sa grupo. Iyan ay lalo na kung hindi ka maka-relate, sila-sila nag-uusap, at kahit maki-join ka ay feeling mo hindi naman importante opinion mo sa iba. Ibang-iba kung you are welcome to share ideas or opinion without genuinely being judged.
Ang social isolation ay iyong pakiramdam na mapag-isa at madalas ay malayo sa pakikipaghalo-bilo sa ibang tao. May tatlong antas daw ito, at hindi naman palaging masama. Halimbawa, kailangan mo talagang mapag-isa para makapag-isip (concentrate o analyze). Ang isa pang level ng social isolation ay loneliness na pakiramdam mo nag-iisa ka kahit may kasama ka namang iba o pinipili mo talagang mapag-isa kasi hindi ka kumportable. May malala na level pero I don’t want to go that direction, but it could lead to mental health issue. There are a lot of factors why a person feels isolated socially.
Siguro yung sa akin ay nanggagaling sa
- I am accustomed to interact with people day-in, day-out. Hindi lang sa part ng job o career, kundi halos lifestyle. Somehow yung part ng pagiging half extrovert ko ay kumukuha ako ng inspiration at motivation kahit man lang sa mga simpleng pag-uusap at pag-o-observe sa mga tao sa labas around me.
- Most of my former offices are located in the prime business districts in Metro Manila—Ortigas, Makati, and Eastwood. So imagine from urban living and working in populous setup to no interaction at all, para akong in-uproot. But I have to spend my days inside the house or even my room.
Pre-pandemic, I have ways to socialize whenever possible.
- Glad that I am invited to different events, conferences, etc.
- I also accustomed to attend paid and free seminars
- Date my friends and loved ones
- Watch movies in theaters
- Joined photowalks
- Within the city, out of town, or out of the country travel
Itong pandemic crisis and almost two-year lockdown, naapektuhan din ako kahit pa sabihing matagal ako sa telecommuting and working hybrid. They called it also pandemic burnout (loneliness). I actually agree with that description.
Who I miss the most and why?
- Friends na officemates.
Looking back, I am lucky that I formed friendships in my different former companies. They are not so many, but I believe what I have are solid officemates turned friends. And it’s like in every company, I have a partner or clique talaga.
Nakaka-miss yung usap lang kayo sa pantry. May hihingan ka ng sama ng loob sa work or personal life. Papatulong sa kung ano-ano. Ganern!
- IT support department
I’ve been telling some of my siblings and friends that I would like to take up a short course about computer repair or IT that my tradigital brain can handle. Napu- mfrustrate kasi ako tuwing may technology-related problems tapos deadline pa.
My top IT problems sa work from home
- Internet connection – slow or no connection
- Slow computer
- Software errors
Sa former office ko sa Ortigas, ang IT department kaya siguro ang up to 3 support level (tiers). From time to time, ang IT guys ay may maintenance gaya ng cleaning ng keyboards, replacing mouses, etc. Wala rin naman akong problema halos sa work ko sa Makati and Eastwood. My experience in Ortigas was different lang also kasi nakapag-establish ako ng connection sa IT people. Kasama na ang travel buddy ko na si Mhona.
- HR people/ department
Typically, employees don’t appreciate HR people because they’re the implementer of rules. But if you are self-employed or working from home, ma-appreciate mo kung gaano kalaki pala ng tinatanggal nilang load sa iyo. They process your contract, government documents, requests (salary loan or increase), ID, uniform (although I never experienced this), and disputes.
Share lang! One of my career achievements is I never experienced being summoned for a suspension (just warnings maybe, hehehe). And looking back, I am glad that I had a good relationship with the HR officers I worked with before. Well, I think it starts with being compliant, err cooperative.
Naiintindihan ko na rin nang mas malalim bakit psychology (or related) graduate ang isang HR officer. Employee engagement management pa lang ay hirap na lalo na kung moody, hot tempered, at mataas ang standards mo. And you don’t deal only with the training, requests or paperwork of employees. If you are an HR officer you need to handle also misbehaved and demanding employees. I probably give people or myself a favor for not pursuing BS psychology. Hehehe! It was my second choice noong namimili pa lang ako ng college course.
- Accounting/ Finance department
I appreciate accountants and bookkeepers sa mga companies. Any dahilan ay parehas sa HR. Isa sa memorable sa akin ay si Sir Kiko na naging halos mentor ko sa basic banking and finance. Sa kanya ko natutunan ang set up sa ITR, tax deduction or refund, compute ng 13th month pay, etc.
- Supervisor or team leader
Naranasan ko yung directly coordination with clients and reporting sa CEOs, managers, or top officials—face-to-face or virtual. Pero ‘pag first time at new ka sa company, tapos tyrant ang boss, sus! Hihilingin mo sana may supervisor or leader ka na gigitna. O kaya iyon ang maglalatag ng simpleng instructions para sa iyo.
Kapag directly reporting ka sa taas, ang awkward kung kailan ka magsasalita, magsa-suggest o okay na ba. Most of the time, parang oo ka lang ng oo. Okay naman yun, pero dahil concern at may pagka-collaborative ako ay magsasalita ako kung kailangan.
Other top things I miss the most in the office
- Programs like Christmas party
- Team building