As I looked around my crowded train carriage on my way to the office this morning, sipping a coffee
As I looked around my crowded train carriage on my way to the office this morning, sipping a coffee I actually had to queue to purchase, I thought to myself: London’s back!
Whether full-time in-office, four-day working week, hybrid, blended or flexible, the physical workplace has weathered the lockdown storm and shown itself to be integral to businesses and their people. So, let’s celebrate the office and the benefits of being back to work.
Ok, perhaps we may not be waving goodbye to Zoom calls entirely, but the office certainly marks an easing of video call fatigue – and frustration: “Barry you’re on mute”.
Returning to the physical office also provides an opportunity to rebuild human connections. Reading body language and interpreting physical cues is essential for gauging our colleagues’ thoughts and feelings; particularly useful for managers to identify if an employee is struggling and requiring support.
Ahead of September’s mass return to work, a LinkedIn survey revealed that people were most looking forward to in-person collaboration (70%) and socialising with colleagues (69%).
A primary benefit of the office is it provides human connection and a sense of community; it sees a diverse range of personalities, cultures, backgrounds, ages, experiences, and levels of seniority united by a common purpose. The physical office is therefore a key tool in fostering a culture of belonging and reducing the risk of people working in silos.
Coming to work gives us a sense of purpose and never is this more apparent than in the physical workplace where you are surrounded by colleagues who are all working towards the same goal. Contributing to something you believe in, while also collectively contributing to a common purpose is hugely beneficial to productivity, job satisfaction and feelings of connection – to your organisation, to your colleagues, to your own sense of achievement and ambition.
People – largely parents of young children – would often make this joke. However, having juggled the demands of work and home life for the past 18 months, for most employees returning to the office marks a time to re-establish professional and personal boundaries.
There is also something incredibly valuable in closing your laptop and walking out of the office door; the physical action of leaving work behind in its rightful place – the office – is vital for switching off and returning to your home life. That’s the reason so many freelancers can be found working from coffee shops and hotel lobbies – you need headspace to work.
Small and informal watercooler or coffee machine chats can lead to exciting innovations. It is these impromptu and spontaneous office-based conversations that lead to creative problem solving and idea sharing – something that is rarely replicated under the pressure of a scheduled “brainstorming” Zoom meeting. “How do we uncouple our process roadmap from our pre-production song sheet? Go!”
The office is therefore a space of constant opportunity for collaboration, experimentation and creativity. Plus, it is a place of learning and professional development with multiple opportunities for internal and external training and networking.
Maximise your commute time
Learn a language, enrol on an online course, write a diary, write a novel, meditate – there are so many ways to utilise that commute time.
Invest in comfortable workwear
Comfort is king when it comes to getting back to the office. Read our workwear guide here and discover the demise of the traditional suit – yes, really.
Support your local businesses
Lockdown was particularly challenging for small, independents that previously relied on business from surrounding office workers; so, stretch your legs at lunch, rediscover those hidden gems and support local businesses.
Whatever the business size, whatever the business need, our experienced property consultants can support you to find the right office solution for you and your people. Get in touch to discover more.