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Gee & Ursula: Should we work from home forever, or is it time to return to the office?

The office of sits empty with employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula opened the phone lines last week to let listeners explain why they are itching to return to the office, or why they want to work from home. This is a big question most workplaces are facing now as COVID-19 restrictions start to lift.

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Host Ursula Reutin is hoping people return to the office soon as she misses their energy, but she understands the desire for a hybrid model, while host Gee Scott wants to keep working from home.

The first caller sided with Gee and said they’d like to continue working from home.

“My company is actually moving to a hybrid, so kind of what Ursula’s talking about, like a couple days in the office and a couple days at home, but I really have loved working from home.”

Part of what they say they have loved about working from home is that they are home when their kids get on the bus for school and when they get back in the afternoon.

“Even though I’m working and I’m upstairs in an office and I’m doing my job, I’m still home. I still get to be there when they get home and that … was not an option before and now it’s turning into one and, I mean, it’s a silver lining around the whole situation. I just wonder like what our society might look like, how it might be different in a couple years if more parents were at home when their kids got home.”

This listener also pointed out that it seems like the extroverts at work are the ones who want people back in the office, while the introverts are typically more in support of working from home.

Another listener shared that they started a new job last year and enjoyed training via video calls.

“Actually for training, it’s great — nobody’s bugging you, you’re not right next to each other in front of a screen. She can show me her screen, I can show her mine, [we] totally feed off each other without any interruptions from anybody. That part of the training was amazing.”

On Facebook, other listeners chimed in, with one saying: “Get back to the office. The surrounding shopkeepers and bartenders have missed you.”

Another wrote: “The only people insisting on returning to the office are those who need to micromanage their employees.”

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A listener who has worked at home since the 1990s called in to share their perspective, and said they actually feel closer to their coworkers now because of the increased frequency of video calls.

“In this strange environment, I’m actually closer now to my coworkers who are all over the globe, because of Zoom meetings and speaking to each other over Zoom. We make a point to show our faces.”

On the other side, one listener said being in person gives us all an opportunity to work on interpersonal skills, get to know our coworkers, and build camaraderie, as well as support local businesses.

“I think we forget that we generate a lot of dollars when we go back to work, right? I mean it’s our local economy — we stop for gas, we buy some lunch, we share a snack with a coworker. And I think that’s the important part about going back to work. I think it gives you a chance to mentally prepare and to deal with other things that normally you wouldn’t because you don’t have that opportunity to communicate with people.”

Listen to the rest of the comments below:

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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