To return to the office or stay at home?
A key decision high on the agenda for many employees. it’s easy to look at the benefits of remote work and decide you never want to return to the office. Who doesn’t love the additional flexibility, work life balance and autonomy that comes with working from home?
However, whilst there are undoubtedly some great perks of remote work, there are also some key shortcomings that can be better accomplished in the office. Perhaps this is why many companies are adopting hybrid work models, to give their employees the best of both worlds.
The advantages of remote working are easy to see – no commute, no office dress code and more time with the family. On the other hand, the advantages of the office may be less clear. Whether you’re pro-office or pro-home, it’s important that you understand the advantages of both environments to make a more informed decision about where you work from long-term.
Here are the top 3 reasons you should consider working (in some capacity) from the office.
One major drawback of remote work is the lack of face-to-face socialisation. Many of us experienced the Zoom fatigue phenomenon of 2020, where despite great improvements in our trivia skills and ability to talk on mute, socialisation became far more challenging. This is not surprising given we are hardwired to be social creatures, and the office provides us with a physical environment to satisfy this intrinsic need with our colleagues. Sure, we can talk online and give a virtual thumbs up, but technology still isn’t capable of replicating the impact of physically shaking your bosses hand or sharing a meal with your teammates to celebrate a job well done.
Remember, great companies are underpinned by strong teams that need to work cohesively and collaboratively to be successful. In a remote environment, these relationships are harder to build, harder to maintain, and harder to leverage to optimise both your individual and team performance.
In all areas of our lives, including our professional careers, we search for a sense of belonging. Research suggests that people who have a strong sense of belonging to an organisation are six times more likely to be engaged, motivated and productive. Furthermore, people who work remotely over an extended period of time are far more likely to feel disconnected with their employer. This disconnection, exacerbated by ‘social distance’ while working remotely, impacts your overall mental wellbeing and happiness.
Therefore, offices provide an environment that enable you to socialise with others, feel a sense of belonging and build stronger team connections that ultimately enhance your mental wellbeing and performance.
2.Learning & Development
If your primary motivation is learning and development, then you are potentially limiting your opportunities for growth by adopting a fully remote work experience. Learning goes well beyond simply reading a book or watching a webinar, it also relies on immersive and experiential forms of learning that are more likely to occur in the office. According to the 70 20 10 learning framework, 70% of our learning comes from experiential knowledge, 20% comes from social knowledge and 10% comes from formal knowledge. Based on this, 80% of our learning is better achieved in a face-to-face environment (i.e., an office) than a remote one (i.e., at home).
Consciously or not, we learn a lot from the people around us. We listen to conversations, we read body language, we see how our managers display leadership and how our colleagues solve business problems. These teachings are almost impossible to replicate remotely, meaning that you’re inhibiting your professional development by abandoning the office completely.
Most people, particularly early in their careers, are looking for opportunities to advance. If you want the next promotion, a new job, more money or more opportunities, then never being in the office may harm your future prospects.
Rightly or wrongly, When it comes to career progression, you are ‘out of sight out of mind’. Research suggests people who work remotely are less likely to receive a promotion than someone who works in the office. This means merit or productivity aside, facetime with colleagues and managers is important because in this case, perception is often reality. If you’re not in the office, you have less opportunity to build relationships, showcase leadership abilities and demonstrate your technical and soft skills. You may be working just as hard if not harder at home, but if you’re not visible to the people making the key decisions, then chances are they will choose someone else rendering your progression stagnant.
Yes, remote work has great perks and is an increasingly popular feature of how people want to work moving forward. However, it’s important to realise that the office also has key advantages crucial in your career journey. So, when the time comes to make that decision for yourself (or others), it’s important you consider all of the above to make an informed choice about where you work now and into the future.
If you need assistance with making this decision, or are looking for a company whose work model accommodates your needs, get in touch with the team at Ignite today.