Should companies ask employees to work from home, on a permanent basis? After all, with the variety of communication options available in today’s digital era — employees are now empowered to complete work related tasks, be it documentation or brainstorming sessions via email and video-conferencing. However, is the workforce more efficient or sufficiently productive while working remotely? Many managers and business owners are not completely convinced it is.
Recently, in an interview, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella invited debate on the subject, after he mentioned that he was not enthusiastic about permanently working-from-home. Mr. Nadella, felt that switching from an office set-up to the work-from-home model would be “replacing one dogma with another dogma.”
Office builds a culture that promotes productivity. An office environment boosts work-relationship and supports its employees to perform their job in a disciplined environment. Offices are recognized breeding grounds for sharing and transfer of knowledge.
An office set-up provides the workforce with benefits such as:
Greater Enthusiasm to focus on business
Employee engagement is one of the most important aspects of business — this can be easily overlooked, when your employees are working from a remote setting. Having your team in the office, is an opportunity to observe staff interaction and provide guidance when necessary. A manager’s accessibility sends a sign to the team that they are valued and have the support of their team lead. This leads to better accountability amongst team members. Employees can be held accountable for their work when they over or under achieve, which helps them perform their tasks with better efficiency.
Employees are not always motivated; it is difficult for team leaders to stimulate enthusiasm for work digitally. By having your team in the office you will improve, employee engagement as each member’s tasks can be better explained to them and all their doubts nullified more easily. A company can witness a boost in morale, higher retention and increased productivity.
Cultivates a junction for innovation
One of the biggest advantages of working in an office setup is that it creates an environment that fosters creativity and innovation. Reports state that most innovative companies provide their employees with well-designed spaces that enable them to work in a state of heightened focus and blissful immersion.
When employees are encouraged to collaboratively work on new ideas and essentially ‘think outside the box,’ they come up with imaginative solutions to various challenges. This can especially be helpful when teams are working on important projects and finding ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently. When new ideas arise, they are comfortable sharing their thoughts with co-workers and welcome constructive feedback. The creative process at office encourages discussion among team members and supports a setting where creativity is well received.
An arena for undivided focus
There’s no shortage of distractions when you work remotely. On some days these distractions seem to get the best of the person, and eventually, hampers productivity. Working in an office negates this concern. Offices are structured sanctuaries which allow people to be more efficient at work. People are able to craft their work in ways that give them a purpose and a meaning. They are able to get control and flexibility in their work environment in a way that helps them perform better at work. An office offers a range of services and amenities, which allow the employee to focus on just work. This combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience is why employees thrive better in an office space.
Enhanced credibility through face-to-face meetings
Face-to-face meetings lead to stronger business relationships. According to a study done by Harvard Review, 95% of people state that face-to-face meetings are an important factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships.
While video conference calls are the go-to way for meetings today, there’s no denying the effectiveness of meeting in-person. It focuses on building a human connection, and the interaction is free from distractions. Face-to-face meetings eventually lead to secure long-lasting business relationships.
Face-to-face or direct interactions can be more ad hoc than formal email conversations. The workforce then develops what psychologists call ‘exchange relationships,’ which are built on informal conversations or promises. This vital ‘exchange relationships’ aren’t easy to develop through technology. Employees who work in an office are likely to develop a better understanding of their roles in their organizations than off-site employees are.
The power of improved communication
There is improved communication among co-workers in comparison to those who work remotely. Working in an office allows for hallway conversations. It allows an employee to stop by a colleague’s desk to see if they are up for a discussion, versus the hassle to pick up the phone or initiate a chat using online applications. Being in the office helps you see the nonverbal cues people reveal, which is otherwise not possible in a telephonic conversation.
Using nonverbal cues can enhance the way people receive communication. It indicates how a person is feeling and it reflects how people react to a message. Communicating an important message to your colleagues with excitement and enthusiasm has greater importance of the message in comparison with delivering the message with a monotonous tone virtually.
Arbedjsglæde at work through healthy social interaction
Working from home is causing fatigue and burnout among employees. This can cause loneliness due to lack of physical presence and communication which makes the environment around serious, increases workload, further affecting productivity.
This is why employees have Arbedjsglæde when they are at the office. Arbedjsglæde, a Danish term which indicates that happiness is derived by ‘doing’ something. It offers a sense of well-being that comes when we feel good about the people we are working with and feel involved as part of a team. According to The University of Warwick, happy employees are up to 12% more productive than dissatisfied individuals at work. The office is an ideal work-junction where employees can work, ideate and socialize.
Strong social connections make people happier and physically healthier, which can translate into improved work performance. Employers who support social connections in the office and help employees form strong relationships with one another help achieve a successful workforce.
Working from home in the current situation might only be temporary, as employees miss the physical space and the disciple the office offers. Having to be in a place away from home every morning certainly helps to build crucial discipline and creates a daily routine. Working in an office makes it a lot easier to plan your hours and provides a space to meet up with clients and colleagues. It also enables the spread of the company’s spirit and ethos amongst the workforce.
Post-lockdown, companies should make sure they welcome their employees in a clean and secure workplace which puts their well-being on priority.