The future of the workplace is bright. Innovation and necessity have resulted in a sea change for employee working practices, with more people working fully or partly from home than before. Workers today and in the future are faced with a decision when it comes to their working practice and environment: work from home, or work in an office. How did we get here?
The Working Landscape
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic saw the UK government introduce legislation that required workers to work from home unless it wasn’t “reasonably possible”. This directive resulting in unprecedented investment in remote working technologies from businesses across industries, in order to continue operating effectively through lockdown measures.
After two years of coronavirus waves and corresponding restrictions on gathering, the UK government began relaxing their coronavirus response, with even non-compulsory guidance regarding remote working removed in a bid to stimulate urban economies. But many have been working remotely, or as part of a hybrid work agreement, for a considerable period of time – and many have suggested that they prefer working from home to working in the office. Each confers its own advantages to workers, presenting a unique choice for modern-day employees. But what are those advantages?
The Advantages of Working from Home
In working from home, employees no longer have to spend money on transport solutions to and from the office – whether petrol costs, or season tickets for expensive and often-busy public transport links. The financial benefit is incentive enough for many, but working from home also allows workers to expand their reach when applying for positions. The commute may have been a prohibitive element to applying for jobs in London, for example – but working from home widens the net, and enables the right worker to find the right company.
Working from home, in many cases, gives workers the opportunity to structure their own workload in a way that’s more beneficial to them. In-office micromanagement gives way to the digital CMS and collaborative software, making projects more modular and easier to follow.
By that same token, employees have much more control over their time and how it is dispensed. The removal of a time-consuming commute, and flexibility over working hours when it comes to non-urgent projects, means the employee has more of their own time to spend with family, or following personal pursuits.
The Advantages of Office Working
While benefits to productivity are hard-proven, with studies producing conflicting results on which work environment is more conducive to productive output. However, working in the office has been proven to improve collaboration, with teamwork much better to manage in-person. This has a knock-on effect on office “synergy”, with improved worker cohesion leading to a positive mental working environment – and ultimately a vibrant company culture.
Training is also much easier for businesses in-office, whether onboarding a new employee or introducing a new process or software. Not only are leaders able to directly relate information and give hands-on assistance, but employees learn quicker, more widely and more robustly ‘through osmosis’, by practical working in the office, than by reading digital literature.
Mental Health Benefits
For many, the office is their primary source for social interactions in a given week. The removal of that in-person social contact can lead to poor mental health in the long term, as employees can feel isolated and alone. A positive office working environment can markedly improve mental health in employees, providing crucial conversation and community.