Rejoice! The new era awaits - more freedom, lesser mask wearing, more social gathering… back to the office?
Work-from-home (WFH) arrangements have started to see its decline. The lingering question on many HR practitioners heads is to what extent WFH should remain. THere is no right answer, but many points to consider.
While employees are befuddled about the new arrangements, a shock no less, it is imperative that we consider the other side of the coin. Working from the office, as we have been before, is a useful tool!
Here at Brydan Group, we believe that hybrid work settings are here to stay, but we cannot speak for everyone else. We are sure some of you believe in the pre-covid days of being in the office all the time. Nevertheless, consider the points below.
1) You might actually be replaced!
Having a full WFH setting means that companies, especially Multinational Corporations (MNCs) might not need any locals. Since everything is online, they can simply save costs by hiring someone elsewhere that demands a lesser salary. Remote-working means globalisation in full force. You can work with anyone across any time zone, so long as you can meet in the middle and arrange to sync. Moreover, their footprint may actually diminish. They can simply release their offices by a tremendous amount, thereby lowering their headcount of locals even more. Work-sharing spaces might be a thing!
2) Work-settings can be enhanced to enable socializing
While we expect everyone reading this to be professionals in their work space, it is impossible not to get by without talking to your colleagues about things beyond work. The work environment encourages discussion, advice and socialisation in the pantry. This can happen even during lunch breaks, or after work. The converse means that staff will be working in isolation, without any forms of communication and interaction. This can be detrimental to mental well-being when in prolonged durations of isolation.
3) The real problem with WFO is the lack of understanding
Beyond work, we are all our own people, with families and goals that we wish to nurture. Work from home has been effective because the time spent away from the computer (waiting for an email) can be used on personal endeavors. This can mean sending the kids to school, or even taking a short nap to recharge. If companies can fix this problem by giving a little bit of leeway/flexibility to their employees, a full WFO might even be accepted. However, since that might be difficult, cost-wise, the hybrid setting remains to be an efficient balance.
4) Distractions - less of them in the office
While old-fashioned, being surrounded by peery eyes and the watchful gaze of your superiors means less of a tendency to be distracted by other things than work. At home, you have full-freedom of browsing movies on Netflix, scrolling through social media, playing with your pets or even taking care of your children. At work, this becomes less possible. While there are arguments that being in the office is actually counter-productive, it is quite logical to assume that if there are no distractions, one performs better. Out of sight, out of mind.
5) Work-based support. We actually do need it.
Being able to easily get a hold of your colleague means more opportunities to bounce ideas off one another. While remote-working enables this, it simply is not as efficient. Eureka moments often come spontaneously, and the whole delay of anticipating your colleague to pick up the call just isn’t ideal. Employees need to be aligned, as much as possible, with the company’s goals. This means creating more time and spaces for discussion. If everyone works in isolation, the probability of a intra-department competition becomes more likely. That is counter-productive. United, not unilateral collaboration is the way to go.