Due to the pandemic this year, employees are forced to work from home and change their working lifestyle. After months of adjustments, it reveals both pros and cons regarding the current working culture. We all know that the internet and other technology platforms hold a huge impact and benefits for employees - Communication is good enough since employees can still reach one another easily via communication platforms (Slack, Zoom, Skype), and working remotely allows people to be more flexible which gives them the freedom to work at their own time.
This leads to the question that is being discussed by many professionals,
Is it better to work from home or at the office?
Although employees can still plan and get their tasks done, it is also important to question if this is the ideal working experience in the long run. Yes, tasks may still be finished on time, but is “work” only about getting from point A to point B, or is it more than that? Other factors should be put into consideration such as networking, team bonding, social interaction, personal growth, and other activities in the full-spectrum of the working experience that might not exist at home. Also, technology is evolving which leads to more advanced and smart offices. Thus, do employees want to dismiss these innovations that can improve their working experience in the future?
Below we provide the top 4 reasons why we still need to work at the office:
#1 Team Work
Good and collaborative teamwork is a crucial aspect for a company’s success. Although communication platforms can maintain communication between employees and colleagues, it will not fully replace the physical interactions at the office. When people are physically present next to each other, it will be easier to reach out for help and give feedback. “Last minute” information or changes are also communicated easier face-to-face than having to set up a new call. In addition, managers can also lead members better by making the team spirit (or aura) more alive. It is harder to spread enthusiasm and motivate people when everyone is behind the screen.
#2 Work-Life Balance
Although employees can still be productive from home and be flexible with their working schedule, it can actually harm employees’ mental health. This is because working from home blurs the work and life environment. Employee’s homes should be for other activities outside work, such as resting, relaxation, and family time. Work and life should be separated, but working from home challenges that distinction mentally and physically. The mind needs some sort of escapism and going to the office can be a solution. Also, working from home limits activities, because everything is basically done at home. Taking walks and “moving” in general can improve mental health and productivity for employees, which is more present when going to the office.
#3 Social Interaction
When employees are in the office, it is easier to regularly engage with other colleagues. Being under the same roof allows more rich interaction and a better opportunity to know others. People don't have to talk about work related topics, but also the “small talks” and “coffee room interactions” that makes the situation less dull and isolating. In return, this can also improve mental health, which is something to be emphasised especially during this time.
#4 Advanced Resources
Lastly, due to technological innovation, offices are improving and provide tools for employees to make their working life more productive and enjoyable. Since employees value flexibility, many offices are starting to implement this notion to restructure the building. Features like room and desk booking tools and visitor management solutions allow people to work wherever and whenever they want. They don't have to be present for the whole 8 hours per day or spend 5 days per week at the office. Employees have the autonomy to choose working on-site, and many companies are using these solutions to facilitate them when they are at the office. Therefore, the “flexibility” of working at home will still be present at the office.
With these advantages, employees should consider the benefits they receive when working at the office in the future. This doesn’t mean they should come all the time, but offices are becoming more advanced to provide flexibility and advantages that are not present at home. Thus, it can better support employees more practically and mentally in the long run.