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Fears and Reservations about Returning to the Office

I was recently informed that my company is considering/talking about employees returning to the office. When I first heard this, I panicked a little (ok, a lot!). Have I done something wrong? Am I not doing my job to their satisfaction? These are a couple of the things that immediately flew through my mind.


In the past, I have spoken at length about how I have suffered (and continue to suffer) from imposter syndrome, and while earning Atlassian Certifications has definitely helped me to be more confident in my abilities, it doesn’t take much to push me back to doubting myself.

Once the initial panic wore off, I started to think/worry about how this was going to affect my life outside of work. Over the past three years my wife and I have undergone significant changes in our home life.

  • We now have a 6 year old who is going to school.

  • We added a 2 year old to the family who is in daycare.

  • Being able to work from home have given me privilege of being able to help my wife get the kids out the door in the morning and wave goodbye to them.

  • I’m able to be able to be home when one of them is being sent home sick so that I can immediately go and get them and then support my wife’s schedule as she is also working from home as well.

  • I have the joy of being able see their excited faces when they are happy to see that I’m there to pick them up at the end of the day.

Was all of this going to completely change? Well, not quite, but there would definitely be some concessions and inconveniences that would happen as a result.

  • For starters, in order to be able to pick them up at the end of the day I’ll need to leave before they are awake in the morning, leaving my wife to manage everything at home by herself.

  • As I will be in very early, and leaving early to get home and pick the kids, I question if I’m really getting more collaboration time with my team mates.

  • If there’s an emergency, my wife will be the first responder in all cases and I may be leaving even earlier than normal but I will still have a decent commute before I can support things at home.

  • Finally, from a work perspective, half of my team is still too far from any office to commute and will remain remote. This means that even though we are coming into the office, stand ups and several other meetings will still take place over zoom.

At the same time, once I had a chance to get out and walk the dog and think objectively about this situation, I realized that not everything is all doom and gloom. There are some benefits to getting out of the house every once in a while.

  • First, I will feel more empowered to disconnect at the end of my work day. I will be working in a physically different location from my non-work equipment and there is a more defined transition between work time and home time.

  • The team members I will have/need the most interaction with (due to common skills sets and projects) will also be in the office so there is an opportunity for building better working relationships and collaboration.

  • My company is very good at hosting team building events in the offices (and food is usually involved) on a regular basis and they are always sensitive and accommodating to everyone’s needs and dietary restrictions.

So, do I want to return to the office? Not really, but if I don’t have a choice in the matter I figure I might as well look for the positives in the situation or I’ll forever be grumpy cat.

Will my position on “returning to the office“ change once I’m actually back in the office? I’m not sure. I have never worked in the office for my current company so it will be less of a “return“ to the office and more like my first day there.

Stay tuned for part two of this adventure as I share with all of you how things go!


Amanda Barber
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
September 25, 2023

My company is fully remote/distributed now, but my husband is going through these exact feelings. HIs company mandated 3 days in the office (Mon-Weds) at the beginning of September. For him, it meant that we now pay for a monthly parking spot since he works downtown. It also means similar things for our family - I'm responsible for getting the kids out the door, as well as picking up kids for appointments or due to illness. 

He also works with teammates who are not local so there are days that he goes in but doesn't really work with anyone in person. Pretty silly! Also, his work setup is not nearly as nice as his home computer setup, so it's less comfortable and less efficient (smaller screen sizes, worse chair, etc.)

Last week while I was away for my team retreat, he had to drive into the office late (after getting our 9yo on the bus) and come home early for the kids. It was pretty frustrating that they care about the "metrics" of scanning your badge into the office more than the productivity of your day - if he had worked from home those days, he'd have started earlier and worked later. 

It seems he's mostly found the negatives about his situation. Hoping to see it turn around a bit in the coming months!

Can't wait to follow along with your story - hoping it's a positive experience!

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Randy O_Neal
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
September 25, 2023

We're facing this too.  We are of the belief that "butts in chairs" are one of the KPI's for our executives, and that just doesn't translate into any real metrics showing performance improvement.  In fact, we are firmly in the camp of belief that these decisions are more fundamentally "religious" in nature than data-driven.

Early on (during the pandemic), I was asked by our VP of development to slice and dice our delivery metrics to show how we were doing; we took a 35% hit to our delivery... to the positive!  We were 35% more efficient working remote than we were in office... yet when he presented our findings to our CEO, the first words out of his mouth were "Well, I hope your teams have enjoyed their vacation".  SMH...

I'm convinced this is a massive "justify the real estate investment" move; if it were truly data-driven - delivery rate, employee satisfaction, and other criteria - we'd remain remote.  Nothing in the data tells us we should return to the office.

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Laurie Sciutti
Rising Star
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September 25, 2023

Yeah....going through the same (have been actually for the past several months).  I have mixed feelings about this but I definitely prefer not having to tackle the long commute and the craziness of a big city.  I am MUCH more productive (and happy) when I work from home because home is a quieter environment for me and no one can "stop by" my desk at home!  Take about a productivity-killer!  During the pandemic, it quickly became quite obvious that everyone was getting a ton more work done.

I see the benefit of in-person collaboration, but c'mon ~ it's 2023 and we have so many tools at our disposal to collaborate it just seems silly to mandate being in-office.  I would think employee satisfaction and productivity higher valued in that consideration. 

I don't have kids but I can imagine (and from reading your post @Jimmy Seddon ), how much more beneficial working from home would be (for everyone)! 

Good luck!

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Kristján Geir Mathiesen
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
October 6, 2023

Thanks for this article, @Jimmy Seddon Sorry to hear you struggle with imposter syndrome. You are such a GREAT guy with AWESOME knowledge. I look up to you. One day, if I really, really try hard, I might get with my toes where your heels are at.

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Traci Wilbanks
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 28, 2023

Thanks for sharing this, Jimmy. This challenge is facing so many people. 

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