• Simon Harris

Why go to the office?

I don’t want to go back to the office environment if it means me sitting 1.5 metres away from anyone and having to wash my hands 30 times an hour because my organisation says it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want the hassle of waiting for a bus that now has a maximum capacity of 12 people, whilst standing in a line a mile long, physically distanced of course, and having to arrive at work at a specific time so that I can meet the time slot I’ve booked to use the lift that will take me to my newly sanitised work station. I don’t want to be in an office environment where I can’t socialise, where collaboration means sitting on the outskirts of a meeting room shouting at your work colleagues so that they can here you and where surprise interactions, that would normally be the highlight of my day, just no longer exist.

Why, when this working from home thing works, should I be forced back into an environment where I’m more likely to get sick than if I stayed home and more importantly if I’m one of these undiscovered carriers share my germs with others being forced to do the same thing.

This open plan office idea, that materialised in the early 2000s as a means to ‘collaborate’ has been proven time and again to increase sick leave even when we don’t have a pandemic on our hands so I’m thinking I don’t need to take that risk, do you? Open plan was a revolution but now it’s a major risk. I bet all our designer friends are digging out their plans with all those little cubicles dotted around the place so that they can put them in front of our workplace managers, who by the way are freaking out as they have no idea how this whole back to office thing is going to play out, and show them their ideas around the workplace of the future!

My workplace is built around community and engagement, it’s having the ability to interact and be social, to share ideas face to face, to grab a coffee, to have an impromptu chat. If I can’t have all of those things then I’m staying put. I’ll continue to deliver results, as I have been doing over the past several weeks. I’ll

continue to use virtual meeting platforms and speak to people on my mobile. I’ll attend webinars and read articles on line. I’ll continue to educate myself and be the best employee I can be. I’ll do it all, and until there’s real value in doing so, I won’t be going back to the office.

Simon Harris leads ODM’s creative and commercial point of difference. Creating unique products and concepts that deliver efficiency and outstanding business performance, Simon is known for his big-picture thinking and strategic leadership in shaping business and cultural performance. Simon is a trusted advisor to senior leaders bringing innovation to everything he does.