Advice column: My former office friends are never around when I am
Dear Ash,

I had a good social circle at work prior to COVID and would often go to lunch and after-work drinks with my colleagues. However, during lockdown I had little contact with certain colleagues as most, like me, were trying to juggle childcare with work commitments. Although we all are now expected to work from the office a few days per week, I don’t ever really seem to be there on the same days as my friends. On a positive note I am getting through more work, but the social isolation is getting me down. 

Ash replies

Previously the primary concern we all seemed to have was about attaining a work-life balance; however, although we now seem to have more flexibility in the workplace than ever before, there are some things that have been lost as a result. The social banter and atmosphere in the office have inevitably suffered in certain workplaces, especially as workers increasingly make individual choices about their preferred days in the office. The colleagues we often saw more than our own family members have now become less consistent in our ever-evolving lives.

In order to maintain such relationships, therefore, we will all inevitably require to make more effort with our colleagues. I suggest you contact your colleagues and confirm what days they will be in the office and then arrange to attend the same day too, or perhaps suggest just meeting for lunch or coffee when you are not all necessarily in the office.

Relationships at work form a crucial part of our professional lives, but are also an important factor in our mental wellbeing. It is important to prioritise time and effort for this part of your life: it will be worth it!

Send your queries to Ash

“Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and other legal professionals, which can be put to them via the editor. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Education, Training & Qualifications team. Email or phone 0131 226 7411 (select option 3).

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