Work FOMO, a reality growing after the pandemic


Some years ago, a term referred to the sensation of missing something we believe we should be experimenting came up. That fear that, depending on the frequency and the context, can be rational or irrational. A fear related to not living an experience or sensation other people is going to enjoy. That’s how FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) was born. During the last years, it has been related mostly to social networks. Because thinking of the possibility of not being connected all the time, drives many people to do the opposite… So they don’t miss anything.

During the pandemic, FOMO has reached other areas of people’s lives. Until the point of hitting the working field. Remote working grew exponentially in last year’s quarantine time and has stayed afterwards in many cases.

What is work FOMO

Nowadays, with much softer restrictions, work from home is still a reality for many people. There are companies where it has become the common modus operandi, while others have implemented it in a hybrid way combining it with face-to-face work. Whether it is working from home one or more days a week. The hybrid model is the favorite of most workers.

In both cases, although especially in those companies that work 100% remotely, work FOMO is one of the new challenges that employers and employees have to face.

Sharing a physical space, like an office, benefits the interaction between workers with their bosses and colleagues. Face-to-face work favors the cohesion in a group and the feeling of belonging to something. Thus, many of those who have been or are still working from home feel the need of coming back to their offices. Whether it’s partially or totally.

When that need becomes fear, we speak about FOMO. The loss of contact with the stimuli produced in the workplace can generate inadequacy or insecurity feelings. The approval and sense of common sharing with the rest of the team doesn’t feel the same for many people. That can even derive in the development of a fear to lose our jobs.

To fight against work FOMO, there are solutions like offering the possibility, to those workers that want so, of working in the office. If that’s not possible, employers must guarantee that feeling valued and an important part of the team is something the employees can feel properly. Now, if FOMO intensifies and starts to last so long in time, the ideal solution is to go to therapy to treat a fear that, in that stage, has probably become irrational in most cases.

Coming back to a new concept of office

Going back to the office can be, nonetheless, a complicated process. Especially for those people that have been remote working for a long time. For those cases, offering flexibility and being patient and comprehensive with each employee’s situation is key.

Experts are speaking, as well, of a tendency that could turn around the concept we used to have of the office before the pandemic. Big companies are already incorporating flexible spaces, similar to coworking ones, where there is a system to book a place to work those days when employees are going to do face-to-face work. This way, costs and emissions are reduced and security and health are better guaranteed. All looking forward to a hybrid model, with capacities of around 50%. This means an added challenge for those workers that will have to get used to not having an owned and personal space. Instead, they will have to learn to work in a space that changes every day, depending of the necessities of everyone in the team.

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