The Benefits to Working In-Office, and Changing Mindsets
The virtual world has taken over ever since the pandemic started. Everyone went into the routine of working from home, having virtual meetings, and a more adaptable schedule. The adjustment period came and went, and everyone got into a routine of their new lifestyle in an out-of-office environment.
The list of benefits from being home is lengthy; flexibility, no more long commutes, change in dress code – maybe a nice top and some sweatpants – and the list goes on and on.
The comfort of being in your own home is a big benefit. It’s flexible. But staying virtual forever is not realistic. Companies pay for office space, and there’s nothing like the in-person experience, community, and relationships gained by having in-person interactions.
Back to the office might be tough for some because they don’t want to go back to the way things used to be.
But, that doesn’t mean we have to.
This blog post dives into the benefits to working in-office verse at home, and ways the office environment can improve from prior to the pandemic.
Benefits to working in-office
Keep Home and Work-Life Separate
Having a healthy work-life balance by working in a place that you can physically leave is beneficial. A clear place of work allows workers to mentally switch off work at the end of the working day. Especially during stressful days where you can’t wait to step foot out of your office building, it is easier to clear your mind when you can get out and go home or do something away from work.
The inability to create a balance between work and life can lead to stress and burnout. If your workspace is in your home, it may be even harder to separate the two and try to find a balance.
Working online immensely limits the ability to interact with co-workers. Sure, you can Slack or give them a call but nothing compares to being in-person and the benefits that has on the company culture.
You can read body-language, read the room, and get comfortable faster. Interacting face-to-face helps build relationships easier. In an office building, there are ample opportunities to build connections with colleagues. Whether you’re eating lunch and sharing a story from that weekend, or passing each other in the hallway and complimenting your co-workers outfit, there are little moments and opportunities to bond that the virtual environments can’t provide. These interactions and moments can strengthen communications and lead to unintended collaboration by bouncing ideas off of one another which can further strengthen bonds with the people you work with. This builds social cohesion and connections to enhance a company’s culture.
Having a positive company culture has many benefits. It allows workers to feel more comfortable and a positive company culture drives employee performance.
Especially for beginners, learning in an office helps make the employee more comfortable with their job and the new environment. The ability to ask in-person questions, and the comfort of building an in-person relationship with the people around you can speed up the learning process.
Imagine being stressed at home, in a room alone, in your first few weeks or months of learning. What’s going through your head? You might be wondering how to reach out to someone for help, or if you’re asking too many questions; let’s be real- it’s more nerve wracking when you only know someone over the screen and having to message them every time you have a question. You don’t have as much of a personal relationship with them.
Especially for visual learners, the hands-on, in-person experience is beneficial.
Ultimately, learning in-person is more natural.
An Updated Office Experience
A lot of companies are hopeful to get their employees back to their desks. What can companies do differently to bring back that in-person work experience? Following are some tips and suggestions.
More Flexible Work Schedule
Ever since the pandemic, the dreaded 9-6 has gone away for a lot of people. If workers were to move back to in-office, that doesn’t mean these strict, long hours have to stay the same.
Over the past 2 years, employees have proven that they can be trusted to work remotely and do not need the in-office supervision to validate that. Employers should allow employees to choose how to best balance their in-office time so long as they complete their respective tasks.
It doesn’t matter if someone rolls into the office at 10a and leaves at 3p so long as they complete their work timely and accurately. Lets face it, we’re all adults here, we know what we need to do to keep our jobs and earn promotions – we’re responsible, and accountable.
Creating a better place than home can provide
Adweek’s May 9th, 2022 magazine titled CMO Awards discussed “The New Office Space” which includes creative ideas that gave workspaces modern makeovers to lure people back to working in-person. These ideas were thought out to include the developed routines that working from home created.
Before the pandemic, workspaces were viewed as spaces to get work done, rather than an investment. Since everyone is now rethinking their relationship with work and where to work, people have developed higher expectations for the in-office experience if they want to prefer in-office, rather than conveniently working at home. Agencies have been stepping up their game in unique ways such as creating outdoor areas and locker rooms for after the office’s “morning run club”.
Whether a company has the money to make drastic upgrades, or not, these ideas can hopefully inspire change and a move in the direction to go back to the office. That said, there are ways to create a more inviting environment without breaking the bank. Some ideas include:
- Turning the existing office space into a hub where furniture gets rearranged to provide comfortable nooks for conversation or stepping away from the noise
- Adding inspirational quotes along the walls
- Scheduling late afternoon brainstorming sessions with snacks and drinks
- Creating a room or corner for ideation where a problem gets posted every Monday and employees add their thoughts throughout the week – the only way to see/participate is by being in the office
How Integral is approaching the Return to the Office phase
The hamster wheel is gone!
At Integral, we’re providing our team members with the opportunity to create a schedule that works for them – come into the office if you want to get away for a bit or for long form meetings best suited for in-person interactions (sometimes, meetings are held at Starbucks or a park). The place where work happens no longer has to be an office with desks and chairs.
The official office hours are listed as 10-5 but no one is required to work those exact hours. Some of us do our best work in the early mornings and some of us are night-owls. We respect individual productivity preferences and encourage everyone to balance their day as they see fit so long as client needs are met, meetings are attended as scheduled, and tasks are completed on time.
Your personal life doesn’t stop between the hours of 9-6, and let’s face it, work doesn’t start and end between 9-6, so allow your employees to find a balance that works for them, respect their boundaries, and reap the rewards of a motivated and productive team that will stay with you for years to come.
About Integral’s Office Space
It’s a small hub – created to get away for a bit and to inspire.
There are colorful walls and furniture, fun decor, and inspirational quotes throughout. Bookshelves are lined with industry relevant books and inspirational five-minute reads. The desks are small with double screens so that you can be productive but not feel like you have to stay all day. And of course, a pantry stocked with snacks and a mini fridge loaded with ‘liquid inspo supplements’ (if that’s your thing that is).
We value culture and in-person interactions, and we respect our team members’ desire for flexibility and balance.
Interested in joining our team? Shoot us a note with your desired role and resume.