Many of our candidates at the moment are looking for a new job because they feel forced to go back to the office. Working from home in sweatpants with your own kettle on hand can be great, but have you considered the benefits to you of going back to the office?
Connections and engagement
This is tricky to pin down or quantify but very important: all the little connections you have by physically sharing space actually make you more successful, efficient, and productive as an individual. It’s called the “bandwagon effect” and it happens because you’re all united, working towards a common goal.
It’s quite remarkable actually. We depend on others to be our best. Physically working alongside our colleagues makes our bodies release feel-good hormones, which improve mental function.
Flexibility isn’t just about being able to work from home. It’s about choice. It’s being able to say, “Oh, the kids are with their other parent today and I fancy an adult-only office”, or thinking “This project needs brainstorming—I need the office, but this report needs peace and quiet—I’ll do it at home”. The most efficient and productive workers need choice. If these two choices aren’t used, then one will disappear. It’ll either be the cohesiveness of office life, or the leaders will draw a three-line whip and there will be no working from home, full stop.
Did you know that workplace culture actually benefits you as an individual? Think about places you’ve worked where the culture has been difficult and you’ll understand. It’s so important to your wellbeing. But workplace culture can only be sustained through a fair amount of togetherness and interaction.
Office days are rife with micro-opportunities that simply can’t be replicated through remote work. They are of enormous benefit to you. For example, you learned how to do something because you happened to be alongside someone else doing it; or a mentoring relationship was nurtured whilst taking the lift at the same time; or you took a chance to do the CEO a favour and got noticed. Incidental moments aren’t planned and you need to just be there to take advantage of them when they arise.
Research shows that during the pandemic and WFH, employees are working an average two extra hours a day. That’s appalling for a work-life balance and will be noticeable in terms of wellbeing. With an office day, boundaries are easier to apply. Home can be home and work can be work.
Presenteeism shouldn’t be necessary to prove value. However, the reality is that being seen and heard means being remembered. If you want your value recognised, you simply have to ensure that you are there regularly and demonstrating that you are a grafter. Your career development will be grateful.
Belonging and identity
We feel better when we work with others towards a shared purpose. We feel better when we belong. For many of us, our office life is a core part of who we are.
Work has concrete benefits, such as a salary. But don’t underestimate the power of less tangible benefits of going to work that can support your wellbeing and your career.
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