As the world has grown more digitized, businesses have naturally followed suit, with many organizations embracing remote work policies. According to a recent Gallup poll, 43% of Americans worked remotely “at least some of the time” in 2016. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, those numbers have changed dramatically, with the number of remote workers increasing exponentially to an estimated 56% of US workers today.
Remote work undoubtedly has its benefits. For instance, by eliminating the need to commute, it saves employees’ time and money, and can provide greater flexibility. Studies have also shown that remote workers are often more productive than their in-office counterparts, as they are free from the distractions and interruptions that can happen at work.
However, remote work isn’t always the best choice for businesses or employees. While there are certainly upsides to remote work, this work arrangement can create complications for companies that depend on face-to-face collaboration or that work in person-centric industries. Additionally, without the office environment providing common ground, remote workers may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues.
For these reasons and more, there is still a strong case for in-office work, and why it should be considered as a viable work arrangement for modern businesses. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the many benefits that in-office work can offer both employees and employers alike.
Benefits of In-Office Work for Employees
Collaboration and Communication
One of the most significant benefits of in-office work is the ability to collaborate and communicate with colleagues in person. Being present in the same office can facilitate impromptu conversations or problem-solving meetings, making it easier to work together as a team. This direct contact can also foster a sense of comradery among team members, creating a shared sense of purpose and passion.
When employees are in the same location, they have more opportunities to build meaningful connections with their team members. While platforms like Zoom and Skype can be helpful communication tools, they are no substitute for face-to-face interaction, which can be more productive, efficient, and enjoyable.
Working in an office environment offers opportunities for face-to-face interaction between employees, supervisors, and managers. This contact is necessary for building stronger relationships and fostering collaborations that can lead to mutual benefits. These interactions can improve trust levels and reduce the risk of misunderstandings or assumptions that can arise in remote environments.
Face-to-face interactions between managers and employees, for instance, can provide a space for employees to express their needs, concerns, and ideas. Also, feedback can be given promptly, with in-person suggestions and corrections that can be immediately acted on.
In-office work can also reduce the sense of isolation or loneliness that some remote workers face. By being surrounded by other people who share the same daily work experience, employees are more likely to form connections and find a sense of belonging.
Better Work-Life Balance
While it’s true that remote work offers greater flexibility, this flexibility can be a double-edged sword. Many remote workers struggle to maintain a good work-life balance, as work and personal life have a tendency to bleed into one another. Having a designated workspace in the office, on the other hand, can help employees keep their work and personal lives separate.
In-office work also creates clearer boundaries around work hours, as employees can leave work at work after leaving the office. As such, employees can rest and recharge at home or engage in their hobbies without worrying about being on-call all the time.
Another significant benefit of in-office work is enhanced opportunities for professional development. In-office environments offer more opportunities for employees to access in-person training and networking events, participate in mentorship programs, and learn new skills through job shadowing or cross-functional team work.
Being in an office environment can also facilitate a better sense of camaraderie and mentorship amongst colleagues. Senior employees can act as role models, sharing their knowledge and expertise with newer or younger employees.
Benefits of In-Office Work for Employers
In-office work enables team collaboration that can drive innovation and inspiration, providing support to coworkers that help build a sense of common unity. Furthermore, in-person interactions enable managers to delegate and review tasks, providing valuable insights into team dynamics and project progress. It creates a space where colleagues can share ideas and provide instant input and feedback, showcasing initiatives and building on them.
Teams that work in the same office environment are better equipped to work towards a common goal, as they can share ideas, bounce off each other’s views and provide feedback on the spot. When employees brainstorm together, they can come up with better ideas than when they try to do it alone.
Improved Work Ethics and Accountability
An office environment also fosters accountability, responsibility, and an improved work ethic. When employees occupy space at the same location, they are more likely to feel vested in the work they do, which can foster a stronger sense of purpose in each employee. Additionally, accountability and work ethic come through better visibility, with managers and employees able to assess the actual work rate and quality.
Enhanced Company Culture
A positive company culture is crucial for any company’s success. When employees work in an office, they are more likely to feel a sense of community and build a sense of cohesion around shared objectives. This encourages fostering connections, identifying strengths, and developing a sense of team spirit. This resultant corporate culture will ultimately spill over into how clients and stakeholders view the company and can impact the bottom line.
Physical offices can also create ethos and their layouts can be designed to foster shared values, loyalty, appreciation for one another, and a sense of being an integral part of the organization.
Better Security and Reliable Access to Data
A striking advantage of in-office work is the ease of maintaining and securing company data. An office environment is built to optimize information security and offers trustworthy shared networks that keep company data secure. The security risks inherent in remote environments are less in play in an in-office environment where security protocols are more prevalent.
When working in the same environment, it is simpler and more secure for co-workers to share sensitive information and collaborate while adhering to established protocols about the use and transmission of that information.
Improved Opportunities for Flexibility
Contradictory as it may sound, in-person work offers a high degree of flexibility that is important when it comes to unforeseen situations. Since employees are co-located, it might be easier to cover for a sick or absent colleague, handle sudden workload spikes, and adapt to any crisis or sudden market shift. Employees who work in an office environment are better placed to handle contingencies as they arise, such as emergencies or disasters, without the need to strive to get set-up remotely.
Undoubtedly, remote work has its benefits, as the past year and a half has painfully shown. However, in-office work still has significant benefits that can’t be replicated through remote work. In-office work is important for establishing and maintaining effective team dynamics that contribute to increased productivity and better outcomes. Sharing the same workspace allows team members to connect, collaborate and support each other in achieving success, with the resultant corporate community spilling over into company culture and ethos
While it may not be for everyone, in-office work is still an option that should be considered when deciding on the best course of action for your employees and your company. It could ultimately provide a more stable, engaged, and productive work environment that elevates your organization’s success.