With the UK forced to adapt to a Work From Home lifestyle over the course of the pandemic, it has certainly had it’s 5 minutes of fame. Once the novelty of attending meetings in a shirt, tie, and pyjama bottoms has worn off, what then? While more flexible and agile working should not be dismissed, the need for an office environment and its many social, personal, and business benefits, remains.
Levels of motivation are bound to drop when you work from home. Without the structure and routine that the office provides, it can be hard to will yourself to be on time and stay upbeat when faced with a day of work. Procrastination can set in, resulting in tasks being put off, and productivity massively decreasing as a result.
It may also be hard to separate work from home, which can lead to health and wellbeing problems. While some people are well equipped for the WFH lifestyle with their own at-home office, not all of your employees will have the space. Feeling like they cannot get away from work when their home becomes an office does not make for a happy and motivated worker.
We spoke to Tamsin Lloyd, Operations and Admin Manager at Myerson Solicitors, who have recently returned to their office in Altrincham. She said:
“We are thrilled to welcome back employees to the office, and it has been lovely to see one another in person as opposed to virtually. After months of successfully working from home, it has been quite a change to get used to again, but having the tools available in one place, more space than at home and colleagues to discuss things with, is much easier and much more enjoyable. Although working from home can have its advantages, realising the benefits of separating work from home helps me feel better generally. At Myerson, we are extremely proud of our culture, creativity, enthusiasm and team spirit, and it is never quite the same virtually”.
Another major aspect of the office that you cannot get at home is sociality. Forming face-to-face relationships with your colleagues, the feeling of belonging to a team, and collaborating on your work, makes for more productivity and better mental health (and no, Zoom does not count).
Outside of work hours, these friendships and team mentality remain important. What motivates a person more than a celebratory drink with work friends at Altrincham Market or the Con Club after a week of hard work?
Sara Gaughan, Co-Owner and COO of Finlay James, recruitment consultancy in Didsbury, said:
“As the co-owner of a Tech Sales recruitment business with multiple locations (including an established head office with both serviced offices and home working) I recognise the importance of offering a variety of work spaces to our people. A well designed office space can provide elements of the best of all of these: Shared areas for innovation and collaboration; calmer, quieter areas for concentration and social areas for friendship and community. Research has shown that the human interactions and spontaneous discussions made in offices leads to increased creativity and innovation which I believe is vital for the economy to flourish, particularly at the present time.”
Being amongst your team in the office can drastically improve creativity when compared to working alone at home, or even in comparison to a team brainstorm on video call. When working from home, physical distance can act as a psychological barrier to asking questions that don’t seem quite important enough. You could, as a result, be losing out on important discussion which could improve the quality of work. The ability to bounce ideas off each other as they come to mind will inevitability lead to a more creative and better end result, with inspiration and a second opinion from others developing the work of an individual.
Local Creative Agency, Made in Cheshire, agree on the importance of the office. Owner Jacinta Russell says: :
“The opportunity to take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities and lush, airy surroundings makes an office space the perfect setting to boost creativity and upscale your business – and it looks like 3 Barrington Road ticks all the boxes!”
Whether you work best in your suit and tie, or you’re clinging onto your #WFH clothes, there’s no question in our minds that the office is here to stay. Whether it be 5 days a week, 9-5, or adapting to a more flexible schedule combining office and home, the office is too valuable to ever go away completely.