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The benefits of returning to the office

by Sellick Partnership | 8 July 2021

With lockdown measures lifting, there is a renewed focus on when and how the workforce will be returning to the office. There is no doubt that many people are able to carry out their job effectively from home, but the question remains if that is something they would want to do indefinitely.

After more than a year of remote working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is only reasonable to assume that there might be some apprehension about venturing back into the workplace. Many employers will be more willing to consider a more flexible approach to how and where people work, with staff splitting their time between the office and home. 

So whether you are returning to the office five days a week or favouring a hybrid approach, we have shared some of the most significant benefits of being back in the workplace. 

A purpose-built environment 

Returning to the office promises a dedicated professional environment perfectly suited to work. In addition to high-quality furnishings, reliable broadband connections and ergonomic design – all of which make it much easier to work effectively – employees benefit from the major focus that has been placed on making office environments as inclusive and inviting as possible in recent years. 

When working remotely, it can be incredibly difficult to find the space necessary to make it a sustainable long-term option. Whether it is having to share a workspace with family members, keeping children busy or dealing with pets excited to have their owners at home, each person has their own individual circumstances that can make working from home challenging.

When in the office, the whole workforce benefits from a level playing field and access to the resources required to make their role as easy as possible.

Without room for a dedicated office space, many people can find themselves working perched on breakfast bars or on the sofa. The inequality in the space and resources employees have readily available at home can mean that some might struggle in silence. 

Without the same oversight an office offers, it could take leadership much longer to recognise that a staff member is struggling and fix the issue. 

Better communication

While digital communication has proven to be an effective tool when working from home, there is no doubt that face-to-face communication can allow for greater collaboration and a sense of community within an organisation. 

The inherent formality of video conferencing can often make people, particularly more junior members of a team, feel uncomfortable to voice their concerns or opinions. By removing the physical barriers that have been a constant over the last year, all employees will feel more comfortable and confident in asking questions and sharing ideas.

For everything from formal meetings to new business opportunities, to office chit-chat, and even answering a quick query, in-person communication is a great way to strengthen bonds within any business. 

On a personal level, having the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with your colleagues beyond the confines of scheduled meetings is important. Not only does it help to  maintain the culture of a business, but it can provide informal support and guidance for employees at every level. 

Progression and development 

One of the biggest benefits of returning to the office is the opportunity to observe what is happening within the wider organisation. In addition to formal training and development, so many people learn from those around them. 

Particularly for more junior staff, the opportunity to shadow more experienced colleagues is invaluable. Without the opportunity to see how other team members approach tasks and work through problems, employees can feel like their professional development is entirely in  the hands of external factors or a pre-agreed development schedule. 

With so much focus being placed on collaboration, one of the easiest ways to ensure it happens is to have staff working together in the same space. It is only when you remove physical barriers that employees are able to get involved in broader business activity, and proactively pitch in on projects that they feel will help them gain more experience and develop their skills. 

Work/life balance 

While some people have benefited from not having commuting costs, the lack of physical separation between work and home life has been a struggle for many. 

Being able to work effectively and without distraction in the office is important for productivity. The temptation to come back online in the evening is much weaker when you are confident that you have been as efficient as possible during the working day. The ritual of travelling home from the office also creates a much-needed physical barrier to help people switch-off. 

Ultimately, the events of the last 12 months will have resulted in many employers becoming more willing to adopt a hybrid approach, where employees split their time between the office and home. While greater flexibility is brilliant, it does not diminish the many benefits of being back in the office. Any employee concerned about returning to the office should speak to their employer and try to find a compromise that all parties are comfortable with. 

If you are looking for a new office and your next role, please contact one of our talented Consultants today to learn more about how we can help you to secure your ideal job.