The Return to the Office for Marketers, as Illustrated by 17 GIFs

July 28, 2021

Group collaborating and laughing in front of a computer

The door slowly swings open. You peer ahead at the unfamiliar landscape before you. With measured breaths and cautious movements, you inch forward, step by step. A wave of emotions overcomes you as you gaze out into this strange and foreign world.

No, I’m not talking about Neil Armstrong’s first moments on the moon’s surface. I’m talking about the experience of any professional who is returning to the office after a year or more spent working from home. 

The pandemic outbreak last year forced many workforces into WFH duty. Marketing was one industry at the height of this trend, with 87% of professionals in the field globally saying their organizations had gone fully remote as of April 2020.

Now, we’re reaching a point where in-person work is gradually returning to the fold. Not everyone is heading back into the office – many remote work arrangements will persist beyond this year, if not permanently – but for those who are, the process of reacclimating might be a little… jarring. Yet also joyful and invigorating.

We picked these 17 GIFs that we feel best represent certain relatable aspects of the re-entry experience.

1. When you see your favorite coworker again but you’re unsure how to properly greet them.

2. When you’re trying to remember where your desk was located.

3. When you attempt to normalize your new preferred work attire in the office setting.

4. When people aren’t ready to give up the daytime exercise commitments they developed at home.

5. When your larger office work monitor flickers back on after a lengthy hibernation.

6. When you realize your sense of humor is a little rusty. 

7. When you’re re-introduced to the horrors of certain odors wafting from the lunchroom.

8. When you open up your desk drawer for the first time in 16 months.

9. When you go to water the office plant.

10. When you’re trying to remind yourself how to look extra busy while the boss is walking by.

11. When the building’s vending machine malfunctions and fails you, which your fridge never did.

12. When the mid-afternoon drowsiness hits and you haven’t taken your customary nap.

13. When you reacquaint yourself with the coffee machine in the break room.

14. When you’re enamored by the novelty of being somewhere other than your house.

15. When you realize how much more productive you are surrounded by coworkers instead of your kids.

16. When you remember how low they set the thermostat temperature in your office building.

17. When you run into someone you’ve worked with for a year but never met in person.

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