After more than a year of remote working, make-shift home offices and countless virtual meetings; many employers are starting to reopen their offices and invite their teams back to work. Is now the time to ditch your sweatpants and slippers and don your office-wear once more?
This article will cover the pros and cons of working from home vs returning to the office and the ways in which you can make the transition as stress-free as possible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven for many companies that remote working is achievable and more desirable. Being able to leave your bed in the morning and walk a couple of steps to your desk, without needing to endure the crowded tube, train, bus or motorway for your morning commute. This has allowed employees to not only feel safe during the pandemic but has allowed them to have a much happier and healthier work-life balance.
For many, being able to work from home has also increased productivity, due to the fewer interruptions, which can occur when working in a busy office environment. The quieter environment aids work that requires deep levels of concentration and focus - meaning work can be completed quicker and to a higher standard. It is apparent that employees feel more trusted by their employer when working from home. With their working relationship less closely monitored, employees are given the freedom to get on with their work in their preferred routine - aiding an increase in motivation.
A report from Microsoft Surface and YouGov, entitled Work Smarter to live Better, states that 55% of employees that work from home (WFH) now use their lunch break to focus on their personal life and 56% reported an increase in their levels of happiness whilst working from home. However, many employees said that they feel like they are being stretched further in the work they need to deliver. Nearly one in three reported an increase in their hours while working from home, and 53% feel they have to be available at all times.
On the other hand, some employees relish the idea of being able to return to the office, collaborating and conversing with their colleagues in person and the opportunities to separate their work-life from their home-life. The freedom to build relationships and learn from colleagues isn’t the same when done virtually. Working in the office also allows employees to quickly ask colleagues, line managers or directors for their opinion or assistance - without the need to arrange a suitable time and sending out a calendar request.
Although numerous companies implemented a hiring freeze over the past year, many people still started new jobs during the pandemic and during the 3 UK wide lockdowns. Never having had the opportunity to meet any of their colleagues in person can be daunting and lonely so the need for them to return to the office in order to build those relationships is high on a lot of companies' agendas.
Rebecca Buchanan, our Marketing Copywriter started working with us in April 2021 and is yet to meet any of her colleagues in person. “Starting a new job during a global pandemic has been daunting and adapting to working remotely has been a challenge in itself. However, everyone at Serenity Digital has made me feel so welcome and supported - I instantly felt part of the team! They provided me with all of the equipment I needed for my home office, ensured I had an in-depth handover / induction and I've also had the opportunity to meet all of my colleagues on a one-to-one basis to understand their roles within the company (albeit via GoogleMeet). I am very much looking forward to finally meeting my colleagues in person and going into the office very soon!”
Dolly Bagnall, our Search Marketing Executive also started with us in April 2021 and says “At first, I found it quite challenging starting a new job both remotely and during a pandemic. Most people will agree that it can be quite nerve wracking as it is to move to a new company, without the added complexities of trying to get to know your new role and your colleagues virtually. I feel really fortunate to have joined a company that is very understanding of this and that has gone above and beyond to make us feel supported and welcomed to the team.”
The survey Work Smarter to live Better, disclosed that 27% of employees have chosen to go into the office to meet with their colleagues in person. 65% of employees say that socialising is what they miss the most when working remotely. The survey also states that 62% would love the opportunity to return to the office to work with colleagues.
Whether you are returning to the office full-time or adapting to the hybrid working environment, the disruption to the routine that you had to quickly become accustomed to, back in March, can feel very intimidating and overwhelming. From interacting in person with minimal people, to entering back into a full office after perhaps a busy morning commute.
Renee A. Exelbert PhD, a licensed psychologist and founding director of The Metamorphosis Center for Psychological and Physical Change says that “Getting back to normal, or to a new normal, will take some time. Be patient with yourself as you adjust. Try not to feel guilty if you are not totally thrilled to be back in your office. There will definitely be some desirable things absent, and it is ok to feel some sense of loss.” Mind UK, a mental health charity, also has lots of useful advice and support on their website to help manage employees' well-being during this transition.
Peter Garrett, Serenity Digital’s Director says "Given the complexities around individual roles and personal circumstances, Stuart and I have always been keen to listen to feedback from the entire team. Having listened carefully to their feedback, it's clear that all members of the Serenity Team are keen to be back working with their colleagues. We like to think this is due to the careful cultivation of our work culture, where we opt to work around our staff's individual personal commitments - this approach is at the heart of our "lifestyle" company.
“There will undoubtedly be a more flexible hybrid approach which is adopted in future with the option of time working from home, but careful consideration will be taken in consultation with the team to get the best results for all. We're on that journey and expect to make our decisions in the weeks and months following our initial time (finally) back in the office."
As the restrictions ease across the UK and with the impending announcement about June 21st, many employers have big decisions to make on how best to accommodate their employees, whilst maintaining the interests of their company. Both remote and office work have their advantages and disadvantages but these all depend on individual needs and the particular industry. How will your company continue working?
Find out more about Serenity Digital and the services we have to offer by getting in touch today.
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