I promise that the Chief Executive of your company didn’t pay me to write this.
There are genuinely good reasons to reconsider full-time homeworking and venture enthusiastically into that retro pre-pandemic work venue known as the office.
I have actually convinced myself - a fan of working from home - of the virtues of collaborative working in person at the office while writing this blog. I cover the whole office worker lifestyle experience as well as the time spent actually in the office, and point out the advantages.
So let me try and open your mind to the benefits of going into the office too…
1. To collaborate on projects and have face to face discussions.
Be inspired by brainstorming in person. You’re not a one-man / one-woman business genius – your performance and strategy will benefit from debate and feedback. Sharing thoughts informally generates new ideas and takes you in directions you hadn’t before considered. Most people contribute and receive different opinions and new ideas better in real life – our enforced video meetings have suppressed good contributions from more introverted team members. Our conversations at work face-to-face tend to be less transactional, and more open. Just remember that so much of our communication is non-verbal.
2. To socialise with colleagues is good for our mental health.
Some banter around the water cooler can lift our spirits, and what starts as small talk can surprise us when we find a connection with someone unexpectedly. We can crack open the Party Rings and celebrate an occasion once more as a team.
3. To enjoy a change of scenery.
You might be lucky enough to work in Edinburgh’s beautiful Charlotte Square or commute via the scenic Clifton Suspension Bridge; our greatest British cities are a sight to behold on a frosty, sunlit morning on the way to the office (I’m looking at you, London Blackfriars Station). Even if you don’t have such a scenic work venue or journey, it’s still stimulating to leave the limited space of our homes. Businesses are increasingly being more creative and clever with the different work and social spaces they provide for employees – with both collaborative and quiet and areas to inspire us. Enjoy time in spacious ‘neutral spaces’ at the office which are multifunctional – sometimes for gathering and other times for relaxing.
4. To help and support colleagues, especially newer, younger or less experienced team members.
It’s been tough for new starters to learn the ropes remotely, and they deserve your full attention and mentorship in the office. Plus, we all learn from others and the bustling office environment provides us with subconscious learning opportunities and experiences.
5. To improve your relationship with your partner and children.
Not being in each other’s pockets all the time is healthy, in my view! Enjoy some time apart and reconnect at hometime. Did you enjoy the break from the noise of your little darling’s Fisher-Price Roaring Rainforest Baby Jumperoo at the office today? I bet you did.
6. To build empathy with colleagues in different departments.
Until you overheard that chat at the office, you had no idea how challenging it is for Oliver in Operations to get those products stocked and live on your website. You might even realise that you could help him by changing what you do?
7. To distract yourself from home and family problems.
When we focus on work at the office, it can in some cases provide a welcome mental break from home issues that are worrying and upsetting us. Separating home and work lives is no bad thing. Putting on a brave face and smiling because it’s expected in our job can genuinely make us feel better sometimes. We resent having to be upbeat at first, but before you know it, one of our smiles has been a real one.
Also, at the end of the day a commute can give you the chance to regroup ready for home.
If your job is stressful or hectic, having time in between your work life and home life (perhaps in the car with your favourite radio station blaring out) can give you a chance to switch off. A far better chance than if you’re simply turning off your laptop at home and immediately attempting to be a fun Dad or attentive partner.
8. To support nearby businesses.
Let’s talk shopping and sandwiches: have you actually tasted the Naked Chicken Katsu Baguette from Pret? It’s delicious. It’s time to wave goodbye to beans on toast on the sofa with Steph McGovern alone to keep you company, and sample the best that your city street-corner café has to offer. Plus some of us (pass the mirror) get a big thrill from perusing the crop jackets at a real-life Mango of a lunchtime, so city working suits us very well. That independent gift shop near your office has had a terrible couple of years – so show it your support and help to keep our high street vibrant.
9. To have your electricity and heating paid for by your employer.
Due to travel, this doesn’t make financial sense alone, but coupled with all these other advantages, it’s nice to bring that terrifying home ‘leccy’ bill down a notch. Do you get free posh coffee in your office too? Savour it.
10. To take more exercise – potentially.
Trekking across Manchester Piccadilly station and running for the bus on the other side of Cambridge’s Parker's Piece does boost your step count to a higher level than if you’re permanently in your two-bed terrace perhaps. Getting moving at the office might involve popping over to see Arnie in Accounts in the next-door building and hot-footing up four flights of stairs to the marketing meeting in the boardroom. Make time to explore at lunchtime your urban or rural surroundings on foot. And is it easier to pop into the gym on the way home from the office, rather than setting out from home? It’s up for debate.
11. To enjoy using better equipment and stronger WiFi – potentially.
With admirable restraint perhaps for a blog hosted by Posturite, I’m tucking in this point near to the end. Many of us have enjoyed good homeworking equipment provided to us by our employers during lockdowns, but if you haven’t, your employer might well be providing some pretty pucker kit right now in a professionally-designed office to entice you in. There is likely to be more space to house multiple screens, a larger desk and more.
12. To have the opportunity to wear some decent clothes.
Button up and polish those brogues. Wearing trackie bottoms boasting last week’s tomato soup stains day after day is demoralising.
13. To be noticed by your colleagues and managers.
Your outstanding efforts and unrivalled talent at work could be more visible to colleagues if they see you in person. I have no cold hard evidence to offer you on the higher likelihood of promotions – but I would say that it’s human nature to feel affinity with the people you spend time in close proximity to, and less with people you see only on-screen.
14. To be in the city, ready for fun after-work evenings.
Disregard this if your office is located in a back-of-beyond provincial industrial estate, but if you have theatres, comedy clubs and restaurants on the doorstep of your workplace – enjoy them. Inspire yourself with highbrow or lowbrow culture – whichever floats your boat. Again, the people in these entertainment industries will appreciate your support.
I hope I’ve successfully pointed out some great reasons why going into the office can be beneficial to you both professionally and personally.
It does not have to be a single choice of course between home and office - hybrid working is hot right now. For me, mixing up both home and office working - for different tasks - is the best of both worlds.