The Remote Revolution: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?
Behind the Virtual Curtain
The impact of this virtual barrier extends beyond the professional realm, seeping into the private lives of individuals, isolating younger employees from the social fabric of the physical office space. The absence of brainstorming sessions, impromptu water cooler conversations, and polite hallway hellos can leave people feeling isolated, impacting their mental health and wellbeing. Moreover, remote working blurs the lines between professional and personal life, making it challenging to switch off at the end of the day. It's much easier to 'just check one more email' when your bedroom doubles as your workspace. Wouldn't it be more appealing to take some time for yourself on your commute to the office, reading a novel on the tube or train, or listening to that podcast you never have time for? Perhaps even jog part of the way home for some much-needed fresh air and exercise?
Working remotely often leads to decreased productivity compared to working in an office environment. A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that remote workers were 18% less productive than their in-office counterparts, taking longer to complete tasks. Gensler's research shows that workers in the UK spend half of their workweek in the office. When asked how much in-person time is needed to increase overall productivity, their answers climbed to two-thirds, highlighting the potential for enhanced efficiency with a shift towards office working.
Considering Deloitte's prediction that Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025, organizations should strategically engage with their younger workforce – whether recent graduates or experienced EAs, Receptionists and office support staff, to encourage their return to the office by creating a working environment designed to support their needs.
Now, we're not talking putting greens, beer taps, and climbing walls. In fact, the days of ping-pong tables and quirky design gimmicks are generally long gone. The focus for Gen Z and Millennial workers, along with their executive assistants, has shifted towards an office space that serves a real purpose, enabling them to carry out their work efficiently while supporting a balanced lifestyle.
Strategic Approaches to Enhance Employees' Experience
1. Career Progression Opportunities
Being physically present in the office significantly increases the likelihood of gaining recognition from, and successfully networking with, senior colleagues. Companies can actively promote these relationships by organizing workshops, talks, and mentorship programs, investing in the professional development of their executive assistants, Receptionists and Office Support Staff. In-person discussions with senior members of staff can provide aspiring individuals with access to guidance, wisdom, and valuable networks that can often be the catalyst for career breakthroughs.
2. Rewards and Incentives for Working in the Office
3. Collaborative and Sociable Environment
4. Promoting Health and Wellbeing
Prioritizing one's health is gaining traction, especially among younger generations. Companies promoting employee wellbeing can be a powerful magnet for drawing people back to the office. You don't need a fully decked out gym and a trendy juice bar to look after the health of your staff members. Small changes, like encouraging cycling to work or setting up an optional running club, are good places to start!
The allure of working from home for journalists, writers, and freelancers is undeniable, and may genuinely benefit productivity and career progress. However, for those who are part of an office, the choice to come into the physical workspace is not merely a matter of convenience; it's an investment in one's career trajectory. Becoming a fixture in the office holds a unique power that can significantly influence your career progression.
Instead of just fulfilling your job responsibilities you can forge connections and become woven into the fabric of the organisation. When you are present, you’re not just an employee; you're a colleague, a team member, part of the furniture. In short, someone whose contributions are noticed beyond the confines of a computer screen.
For an executive assistant or personal assistant, working in the office holds distinct advantages over remote arrangements. The dynamic nature of their roles often requires seamless coordination, immediate responsiveness, and quick access to the intricate workings of their boss’ daily affairs. In the office environment, these professionals can foster real-time collaboration, facilitate spontaneous discussions and decisions, and swiftly address urgent matters. The immediacy of face-to-face interactions enables a faster exchange of information, allowing for agile problem-solving and efficient decision-making. Additionally, being physically present in the office cultivates a stronger professional bond with their boss, providing a tangible and nuanced understanding of their preferences and work style. This closeness not only enhances the EA’s ability to anticipate needs but also contributes to a more cohesive and synchronized working relationship, ultimately fostering a more effective and supportive partnership.
Human beings are inherently social creatures, and the business world is no exception. Real, human connections in the workplace foster a sense of camaraderie and trust that transcends virtual interactions. Casual encounters with senior colleagues or chance conversations in the hallway can lead to mentorship relationships that are often catalysts for professional growth. It's not just about the work you do; it's about the relationships you build, the guidance you receive, and the mentorship that propels you forward in your career.
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