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Returning to the Office & What To Expect

Returning to the Office & What To Expect

The switch towards working from home in 2020 expanded beyond certain industries to almost every sector with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees who could perform their duties remotely were sent home with an unknown date of returning to the office.

Workers inevitably discovered the joys and the despairs of WFH arrangements. Eventually they realized that a better work-life balance was within easier reach. For the first time in history, they could have it all: a satisfying career in addition to a balanced personal life. Going to the office was put on hold until it wasn’t. If you are among those who have had to return to work in the office or switched to a new job requiring you to be on-site, keep reading. 

A Short History of the Office Environment

Employers that adamantly reject alternative working options don’t realize that the concept of the office as a place of work has been changing over the years and that working from home is not really a modern invention. This way of working can be traced back to the time of the ancient Romans.

The Romans were the first to have people taking care of administrative tasks. They also could not return to their place of work after the fall of the Roman Empire. Some individuals began living above their shops and employed workers with whom they shared both work and housing arrangements.

It was in the 20th century when America created what we now consider office life as we know it. First there was the open-plan office which was inspired by the factory model. From the 1970s to the 1990s, it was the golden era of cubicles. Fast forward to the 2000s and we were then back to open offices in order to encourage collaboration in the workplace.

When the pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, we couldn’t work in person, so our employers required employees to stay home and use technology in order to interact. More recruiters and companies are now understanding employee preferences and betting on returning to the office with more flexible work arrangements.

What It’s Like Returning to the Office

Even if they are highly subjective and you don’t agree, it is undeniable that going back to the office has benefits and challenges. Here are some reasons why a physical return to work can be beneficial to both employees and companies:

Tip #1: Better Work-Life Balance

Office life with a set schedule might not work for everybody but for many it is necessary. Those who struggle with time management are easily distracted by the temptation of working with home or want to work within set boundaries. In addition, there are also people that are more productive in the office due to not having a dedicated workspace at home. 

Without physical boundaries between home and work, many also end up working extra hours to finish projects or answering that last email. They start a vicious cycle that can cause them to feel overwhelmed and even burnt out. Showing up to the office, doing your thing and then leaving for the day allows you to put both a mental and physical distance between your responsibilities.

Tip #2: Feeling Isolated

Many employees report experiencing a huge relief from not having to socialize with colleagues, the truth is that there are just as many where working from home ends up feeling lonely. They feel isolated and they return to the office because they are looking for human connection. Connecting with people is especially important to senior employees.

Zoom and video calls cannot provide this and cannot make up for those exchanges that you might have over coffee or lunch. Interacting with one’s household is not enough. Employees report that having work friends is crucial to a happy working life. This is where the office environment is critical. Not going to the office also makes it difficult to network and meet new professionals which is essential for landing new opportunities.

Tip #3: A Sense of Belonging & Purpose

If you work from home, never return to the office and do not interact with coworkers or managers, it can be easy to be absorbed by your daily tasks. This is something that businesses fear as it brings a disconnection with company culture as well. When no one wants to go back to the office, many tech companies are now pushing for returning to the office for this reason. Without a shared company culture, businesses cannot thrive in the long term.

Some claim that if we never return to the office, we will lose not only friendships, collaborations and organizational culture but also our professionalism and ambitions. Without a boss to impress and learn from, who will we be better for? 

The return to the office also brings along a few setbacks. 

Tip #1: Commuting & Limited Flexibility

It’s no surprise that people do not want to return to the office full-time.

Commuting is not the only reason that we might assume that no one wants to go back to the office. We can’t forget the lack of flexibility. Job flexibility is the most important factor driving job seekers especially for young people.

Tip #2: Costs

Returning to the office means having to budget again for a range of expenditures. While working from home, people might have decided to ditch using their car or move. Going back would mean additional travel expenses. Parents spending their days in the office means that they have to deal with caregiver expenses that they otherwise would not need to. Let’s not forget that the convenience and affordability of eating at home goes out the window when you are back in the business district with its many alluring cafes and restaurants.

Tip #3: Illness

Since Covid-19, more people are concerned with their health. A return to the office can make it easier to catch a disease, but it also means being tied to a desk. Working from home allows you to be more active, such as taking calls while standing or walking around and exchanging your commute time for exercise. Those who are more attentive to their health might even have a treadmill available nearby.

Things That Can Ease Your Return to the Office

Considering the above pros and cons, many workers would quit their jobs if required to return to the office. The future work solutions seem to point to flexible and hybrid working. The office will adapt to employees rather than the other way around. Flexible working such as allowing people to run personal errands and establishing work-from-home days are a good compromise for both employees and companies. Even recruiters think that such a move can help retain talent and avoid turnover.

In order to encourage employees to return to the office, companies are also listening and trying to answer employee needs by providing a series of benefits including:

  • Better-designed and highly functional spaces like co-working areas and making employees comfortable while working in the office.
  • Offering a commuter stipend. Some companies cover costs for travel including the cost of parking or public transportation.
  • To lure employees back to the office, offer free breakfasts or lunch. Companies have created market-style food halls and even food truck days.
  • Whether it is helping with the costs of child or pet care, businesses are making an effort to support families.
  • Unless you are required to attend specific engagements, employees can dress in less formal clothing even in more traditional industries.
Offering fitness classes, sport facilities and on-site events. In order to help workers be healthier and happier, some firms are creating sports facilities and inviting experts for fitness classes and throwing free concerts.

The Highest Earning Careers in Engineering

The Highest Earning Careers in Engineering

Engineering careers are ideal for aspiring individuals who are enthusiastic when it comes to solving problems, designing and collaborating with others. Choosing to pursue a career in engineering means joining an industry where opportunities are projected to grow faster than average profession and the average salary is among the highest in the United States.

If you hold an associate degree, you’ll find most of your opportunities for careers in both support and technician specific roles. To become an engineer, it is suggested that you complete at least a Bachelor’s Degree in an engineering program from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. While admission requirements might vary, they are extremely competitive.

There are several well-paid careers in engineering that are available to graduates especially if you have additional years of practical experience. Continuing your education is definitely encouraged.

Engineering compiles six major branches:

  1. Mechanical
  2. Chemical
  3. Civil
  4. Electrical
  5. Management
  6. Geotechnical

Under each of these areas are different kinds of career trajectories within engineering including Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computer Engineering, Electrical and Electronics, Environmental, Food Research, Industrial, Manufacturing and Product, Mechanical, Nuclear, Optical, Petroleum, Quality, Telecommunications, Engineering Management, Engineering Support and Technicians.

Aerospace Engineering

The specialty of vehicle engineering includes dealing with the development of both aircraft and spacecraft. For a career in engineering, you will need a Bachelor's, Master's or Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering.

The average salary of an aerospace engineer in the United States is $94,700.

Chemical Engineering

This is a large umbrella that includes a variety of engineering careers, disciplines and specialties such as materials and process engineering. Chemical engineers find new ways to convert raw materials into something valuable.

The national average salary of a chemical engineer is $78,600. 

Civil Engineering

This particular branch deals with infrastructure projects. From the initial concept and design all the way through to its construction, operation and maintenance, civil engineers do it all. They get their hands dirty doing field work and can also work from behind a desk in research and education.

In the United States, civil engineering technologist salaries average $48,800. The average national salary of a civil engineer is $79,000 and depending on your location and experience can reach $99,000. 

Computer Engineering

Combining computer science with electrical engineering, engineers create and improve computer hardware, software, architecture and operating systems. If you love math, data analysis and programming this might be the right position for you.

Electrical Engineering

This specific branch is divided into a wide range of different sub disciplines like electronics, telecommunications, nanoelectronics and computer engineering. Electrical engineers are employed within different industries and can have more than one expertise while assuming distinct roles during their careers.

The national electrical engineer salary averages $87,300 but can reach almost $110,000 depending on location and experience. 

Environmental Engineering

This is a subdiscipline of civil engineering which is also offered as a program in chemical engineering. Environmental engineers work to improve the world around us. Specialties include wastewater, ecological and urban engineering.

The national average for an environmental engineer salary is $72,200 in a range that goes from $47,900 to $95,700. 

Food Research Engineering

A specialty of agricultural and biological engineering, this field involves and combines multiple engineering disciplines. Engineers in food research usually have a background in mechanical, electrical, civil and additional branches of engineering.

The median food processing engineer salary is $83,800. 

Industrial Engineering

The key to manufacturing operations and industrial engineers work within logistics and resource management departments. Specialties include manufacturing, systems and reliability engineering.

The average salary of industrial engineers in the U.S. is $74,300. 

Manufacturing & Product Engineering

As a specialty of industrial engineering, an area that focuses on researching, developing and optimizing machines, tools, equipment and manufacturing process systems. Manufacturing engineers aim to increase production quantity and quality while minimizing costs.

The national manufacturing process engineers’ salary comes in at $82,100. 

Mechanical Engineering

This engineering branch includes specialties like vehicle and thermal engineering. Mechanical engineers are behind the design of machines using and generating power.

The national median salary of a mechanical engineer is currently at $79,000. 

Nuclear Engineering

Utilizing the benefits of nuclear energy and radiation is what nuclear specific engineering careers are mainly about. Most nuclear engineers work for the federal government, for scientific research and for development services.

In the United States, the salary for a nuclear engineer is on average $88,900. 

Optical Engineering

This is a specialty of electrical engineering in which one would study light properties and build devices accordingly in order to use it. Optical engineers have knowledge of numerous engineering concepts and can work within a wide range of industries including agriculture, computer science, medical and entertainment.

The estimated median optical engineer salary is $87,000 across the United States. 

Petroleum Engineering

This interdisciplinary field of engineering’s main effort is to find optimal ways to extract oil and gas from deposits below the ground. In this field, you will study and develop methods and techniques to make drilling operations functional, effective, safe and cost effective.

The national salary of petroleum engineers averages $58,900.

Quality Engineering

Quality assurance engineers can work in and have knowledge of multiple engineering branches. Their job is to make sure products, processes and systems meet regulations, fulfill quality standards and satisfy expectations.

It is estimated that industrial quality engineer salaries average $90,000 across the country. 

Telecommunications Engineering

This specialty of electronic engineering based design improves telecommunication systems. 

Telecommunications engineers’ salary on a national scale runs between $35,100 to $103,500 depending on your level of education, experience and job location. 

Engineering Management

As a manager, director, vice president or president, these are four of the most common engineering management roles. To attain one of these positions, working continuously on your education and years of experience in the field will set you up for these types of roles in management.

For careers in management, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. With a master's or doctoral degree, your chances of getting noticed by companies and hiring managers can potentially increase.

The estimated median salary of directors of engineering across the country is $133,400.

Engineering Support & Technicians

Professionals in this category usually work under the lead of an engineering manager. Also known as IT support engineers, working in a wide range of industries they mainly perform technical and product related tasks and are great creative problem solvers.

Many engineering careers as support and technician are entry-level positions. To start, you only need an associate degree in technology like Electrical Engineering or Computer Science.

These positions have an average national salary of $61,400.

How To Highlight Your Accomplishments On Your Resume

How To Highlight Your Accomplishments On Your Resume

If you were a hiring manager looking at resumes, which of the following statements would impress you more?   

  • I wrote news releases.  
  • I was responsible for writing 25 news releases within a three-week period under daily deadlines.

Clearly the second statement carries more meaning. Why? It uses numbers to quantify the writer's accomplishments by giving it a context that helps the interviewer understand the degree of difficulty involved in the task.

Numbers are a powerful tool on a resume that will help your accomplishments get the attention they deserve from prospective employers. You can find effective ways to quantify your success on your resume. Here are a few suggestions:

Think About The Money

Organizations will always be concerned about money. As you contemplate your accomplishments and present them on your resume, think about ways you have saved, earned or managed money within your internships, part-time jobs and extracurricular activities. A few possibilities that might appear on a resume;

  • Identify, research and recommend a new internet service provider and cut the company's online cost,
  • Write a prospect letter that brings in $25,000 in donations, 
  • Managing a student organization budget of $7,000.

Think About The Time

Time is money and it is true. Companies and organizations are looking for ways to save time and do things more efficiently. They are concerned about meeting deadlines, both internal and external. Whatever you can do on your resume to show that you can save, make or manage time will grab your reader's immediate attention. Here are some time-oriented entries that might appear on a typical resume;

  • Assisting with twice-monthly payroll activities while ensuring employees were paid as expected,
  • Suggesting procedures that decreased the average of order-processing time from ten minutes down to five minutes.

Think In Terms Of Amounts

It is easy to neglect mentioning how much you have produced. There is a tendency instead to simply pluralize your accomplishments without including important specifics or developing lesson plans for two classes of 20 students each.

Do not fall into the trap of excluding numbers. Instead include amounts like these;

  • Recruiting 25 members for a new student environmental organization, 
  • Training five new employees on restaurant operational procedures, 
  • Creating a process that bolstered production 25 percent.

The more you focus on money, time and amount in relation to your accomplishments, the better you will present your successes and highlight your potential, the more you will realize just how much you have to offer prospective employers. You will see that playing the numbers game is yet another way to convince employers that you should be a part of their equation for success.