A growing number of businesses are telling employees that they don’t need to return to the office permanently. The latest is Airbnb, which was previously aiming for all members of staff to be back in the office in September 2022. While the ‘work from anywhere’ model might make sense for a company whose ethos promotes flexible and accessible travel options, this isn’t the case for all businesses.
Taking a very different tack, big tech companies in the US, like Google and Microsoft, have tried to create office environments that are as alluring as holiday spots, offering games, fast food outlets and the likes of wine tastings for employees going back to their commutes. They have also offered less pay for employees based in locations where it is less expensive to live. Similarly, in the UK, law firm Stephenson Harwood is offering a 20% pay cut for those who’d like to work from home completely.
But does it all need to be so tactical? Is working from home really what the majority of the country want? In a recent survey by a productivity tech platform called Click Up, it was found that actually only 45% of the UK workforce believe working remotely from wherever they’d like on a permanent basis is a realistic option.
Going back to the office has some really significant benefits for employees, and workers are starting to realise that. Chief among these is community and connection. In an article on forbes.com a senior leader at a financial organisation describes this as “The X-factor. It is tougher to quantify than productivity or attendance, but is critically important. It has to do with connections, engagement and being with our colleagues. It is the need we have for each other and to be united around something that matters. It is also the positive obligation to contribute to the group and the culture, and to share our talents and build relationships.”
This is particularly true and important for young people who are just starting out their careers and will gain so much from being around experienced staff. Learning on the job doesn’t just come from doing it. It comes from absorbing conversations and behaviours. And psychologically, research has proven that interactions increase cognitive performance. So for those who want their careers to flourish and have ambition for great success, it is vital to be around colleagues.
Being in the office provides you with an opportunity to be on the radar of leaders who may be thinking about expanding their team or promoting key talent. It is in the office that the contributions you make will really be noticed.
Spending time around co-workers also broadens our social circle, which in turn enhances creative and diverse thinking. It is all very well being around our friends from school or university or even those we meet through shared interests but being around co-workers offers a different perspective on life. These are the kind of life lessons we won’t learn if we work on our own at home. They are learned through experiences.
It has, in fact, recently been proven by researchers at the University of Michigan that when people spend more time interacting with others—talking, socialising and connecting—they displayed improved mental function.
Although the jury is still out about whether working remotely, hybrid models or back to the office is the future of work, it is worth remembering the pros of working amongst a team when the allure of working from home in tracksuit bottoms feels strong. What might seem comfortable and easy now could, in the long run, really affect the path your career takes.
Whether you are looking for flexible work or a job in an office, get in touch with our recruitment consultants who will take the time to get to know you and your needs.
020 7468 0400 or email us.