- and why this doesn't come as a surprise for an Office Manager

With companies around the world working from home these days, conference calls, cloud solutions and chat tools are helped a great deal making sure collaboration doesn’t suffer. And that’s why most members of the SEAMLESSᵐᵉ team, in order to flatten the curve, were able to clean up their desks and dining tables at home and have been working from home for the last weeks.

After some days of absence, we’ve asked our coworkers what they miss most when working from home – and compared the answers to the experience of our Office Manager, Lena, who knows best about what secretly keeps the office running. And while we feel strongly about the importance of staying home (and appreciate how well we actually can work from home), we look forward to returning to our office. Here’s why.

Luckily enough, with the right tools, it’s possible to work remotely in the tech industry

It’s not performance that’s bothering our coworkers. There’s clear evidence for how home office and flexible working hours can even help to increase the productivity of office workers. Still, it did come as a surprise for many of us – we’re used to sitting close to each other, debating over our tasks and next steps for our product. But we quickly came up with new virtual formats to close this gap.

Office experience, on the other hand, can’t fully be replaced virtually.

The SEAMLESSme team is quite spoiled when it comes to office culture – and we’re perfectly aware of it! Usually you’ll find around 50 people in our open space office. It’s right at the center of Berlin, with a scenic view over the rooftops of Germany’s capital. People like to spend their time here, come in for a coffee before working hours. Therefore, when being asked, most of us wouldn’t choose a permanent remote work situation.

Thus, the most common answer when asked what’s missing at home matches previous research and findings: It’s the human interaction that can’t fully be replaced online. This is exactly what Lena, our Office Manager, guessed as well: „We do have a very friendship-like atmosphere here that is really special. People will miss the little chats now and then, as well as the lunch breaks with their teams.“

It’s the little things you’ll miss only when you can’t get them.

What else keeps the office running? “MATE!“ Lena says, and laughs. The caffeinated mate beverage is „the most important little thing. If that’s gone, I will learn about it immediately during ordinary office days.“ Second she names “Table tennis and foosball“. And she’s right – once we started to get creative to keep in touch with colleagues via virtual coffee breaks or even board game nights, it’s the little things that are missed the most. For some it’s the great burrito place next door, for others the coffee maker, for many it’s the little breaks playing table tennis or foosball.
What can we take away from this? Probably to value even more, what we have. Times like these show more vividly than ever, that it’s about creating an atmosphere, where people like to work. A place where they actually want to go to in the morning, and where they’re looking forward to returning to right now.