The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the role of the office, with many employees switching to either working permanently from home, or doing hybrid work. With such a dramatic change in the working environment, businesses are being forced to reconsider when and how to best use their offices, which begs the question: What’s the purpose of the office, and do we still need it?
The office is more than just a building – it’s a place where people come together to build connections, collaborate and innovate. Workers are provided with desks, chairs, computers and other equipment they may need to perform their jobs. It is an environment where people are surrounded by co-workers and managers. This encourages and nurtures greater teamwork, cooperation, communication and personal development.
While the purpose of an office has remained the same for a long time, there are ongoing debates about the need for physical office space in the world of hybrid work.
More and more companies are allowing remote workers to perform their jobs in a fully virtual environment, thereby eliminating the need to be physically present in the office building.
The office is the control centre that allows management to:
- plan it's operations and implement new strategies
- organise and monitor progress towards defined goals
- determine staff levels and develop employee career paths
- evaluate employee and company performance, and finally
- to control and coordinate all the activities of the business.
Benefits of the working in the office
a) Time Management
The office can be a place with fewer distractions that also allows people to leave their work behind when they have completed their tasks for the day. Hybrid office work and people who from home, are often unable to "switch off" and continue to work until all hours. "There’s always one more task that needs to be completed...."
“Some people can work from home, and they’re good and really disciplined. Others do fare much better in an office,” says Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG. “Maybe at home there are too many interruptions. Personally, I like to go to an office because if I don’t, I’ll work day and night. Being able to leave the office is an important mental break.”
The office provides employees with a clear structure and a time schedule, with defined working hours and breaks.
b) Building Professional Relationships with Colleagues
This is one of the most significant pain points people have expressed after switching to remote and hybrid office work. In an office environment, employees can easily assert themselves and get to know each other better. Moreover, building interpersonal skills, office friendships, and collaborating are all assets that make the team more effective, robust and efficient in the long run.
According to Charles Towers-Clark of Forbes, employees require physical offices for three key reasons, all of which combine to form a unique experience that only office-based working can provide. The first is around problem solving, which will be facilitated by younger generations coming into the workplace and learning to overcome certain challenges as a team. Secondly, innovation goes hand in hand with problem-solving, as shared learning experiences, plus collaboration, collectively drive innovation. Finally, there’s community, which is beyond just coexistence and instead is how you socially interact with others. This can all be packaged up into one single unifying experience.
c) Company Culture
Every company has its own unique culture. In some cases, the company culture can actually be a selling point in the recruitment process and also play a role in employee retention. Maintaining a strong company culture and nourishing the company spirit is difficult with remote and hybrid office work. Digital collaboration and virtual socialising doesn’t work for everyone. Less face-to-face communication may result in a lack of camaraderie and the erosion of company culture.
It’s difficult to maintain a company culture through remote work and keep it alive, engaging, and genuine.
d) Recognition and Face-to-Face Time
This is by far the most important aspect that gets lost in remote working settings. While this issue can be unimportant to some people, having the chance to get to know managers and peers personally and work with them closely, is priceless for recognition. It gives people the opportunity to shine and show their unique skills and personality traits that may sometimes be buried during virtual meetings. Recognition can be quickly gained through face-to-face contact and by having a presence in the office.
Hybrid work means improving your working area at home and at the office
Whether you are doing hybrid work or are permanently in the office or at home, working in an attractive, clean space can have a positive impact on productivity. Home office ideas.
Because you spend so much time at work, improving the setup of your work area is critical to avoid back pain and other ailments caused by a poor ergonomic office setup. A safe and healthy work environment is a productive work environment. Poor ergonomic practices can lead to lower productivity and in extreme cases, physical injury, which is obviously bad for both the individual, and the business. Best practices for ergonomics in the workplace.
Hybrid work dictates that you need a proper work area at home AND at the office.
A poor ergonomic work setup at home can be detrimental to your health. With hybrid work, people often end up working on their couch, bed or at the dinning table with a typical dinning-room chair. You need to consider your complete work area, remembering that when you are seated, you are doing so correctly. 9 Tips to correctly set up your study chair and desk in your home office.
YES....the office is still relevant and plays an important role in building teamwork, innovation and maintaining the company culture.
While many employers make great efforts to create a positive and productive work environment, not all offices are the same. When considering a new workplace, it's helpful to assess the quality of the working area and the overall atmosphere. A spacious, pleasant office with plenty of natural light can make a big difference to your personal wellbeing and productivity. If you are doing hybrid work, make sure that your home office is setup in an ergonomically correct way. Contact us for advice on setting up you work or home office.