There are definitely benefits for employees to get back into the office (at least part time) including increased Collaboration, Motivation and Friendships.
Working from home has taken over as the new normal. According to a recent Gallup study 45% of full-time U.S. employees now work from home either all (25%) or part of the time (20%).
Even more, two-thirds of employees in white-collar jobs (67%) reported working from home either exclusively (41%) or some of the time (26%) in late 2021.
Our guess is that these numbers aren’t alarming to you - and if you’re reading this, probably present something very familiar.
Furthermore, if you were someone that previously went into an office that now works from home - you’re enjoying many of the benefits flexible work offers. These widely covered “perks” can include: less time on the road, greater productivity, a cleaner environment, money saved, increased job satisfaction, and more.
But like most things in life, most ups come with their downs.
Erosion of company culture has been a big concern for company leaders, “zoom fatigue” has emerged as a major issue, employee churn is at an all time high and the well-being of employees are some of the biggest concerns when dealing with a fully remote workforce.
For some, the advantages of remote work far outweigh the benefits of going into the office. And when your employer starts discussing return to work (RTO), it may seem like it’s for their own good over yours.
You should suspend judgment a little longer. There are definitely benefits for employees to get back into the office (at least part time).
But, we contend you should suspend judgment a little longer. There are definitely benefits for employees to get back into the office (at least part time). Read on for some we think are quite compelling.
Benefits of Getting Back to the Office
When you can reach over and tap someone on the shoulder, there is nothing to get in the way of communication or the flow of ideas. Whether you have a question, an idea that needs to be expressed or need a second of someone's time - walking over to them is far easier than that slack message or MS Teams ping.
Undivided attention is a core pillar of in-person collaboration and asynchronous collaboration is hardly ‘collaboration', it can be argued.
Remote work has made it harder for employees to acquire and share information across networks. Having the opportunity to go back into the office will help you learn faster, share new ideas, and fast-track your career trajectory.
Having the opportunity to go back into the office will help you learn faster, share new ideas, and fast-track your career trajectory.
Apple’s VP Deirdre O’Brien said, "If we take a moment to reflect on our unbelievable product launches this past year, the products and the launch execution were built upon the base of years of work that we did when we were all together in-person.”
The success of Apple’s products are legendary. They were all conceived and built on the foundation of in-person working.
Apple now intends to go hybrid, requiring staff to work one to two days per week days in-person.
Being around other people working towards the same goal posts is contagious. There’s several reasons why 4.5 millions US workers quit their jobs in November.
In large part, studies show, it was due to lack of being challenged or motivated. Work starts to feel increasingly dull in isolation. Even with a pet betta fish.
Getting back into the office, at least part time, will allow you to rekindle the flame that comes with being around amazing, high-performing team members, and for those who bring you down: at least it’s not five days a week!.
Even if it’s once or twice per month - coordinated activities in the office for recognition, “team days”, hangouts, quarterly kickoffs, etc., will serve the important purpose of keeping you motivated, connected and challenged in your job.
Think back to a job where you made a close, lifelong friend: would that have happened if they were only a talking head on Zoom - or worse: a voice?
The lack of in-person socialization has drastically hurt employees in an all-remote setting. Work becomes far more transactional and less relational. After-work dinners and happy hours become Zoom cooking classes. Can you even compare those, apples to apples?
A core pillar of having a great work environment is great people. Most people find their friend (or otherwise) matches at work, especially if given time. That is a value-add that no one would readily let go.
Think about it: would Jim and Dwight have been Jim and Dwight over slack (from The Office)?
Humans are social beings. While that can mean a lot of things now (thanks Mark Zuckerberg), at the core it means socializing in person. And as we discussed in the article, for the office this means benefiting from Collaboration, Motivation and Friendships.
If you’re dreading getting back to the office - don’t knock it till you try it. If you’re an employer thinking about a return to work strategy - reference this article to empathize with your employees and create policies that highlight the benefits of returning to work for them.