The Covid-19 pandemic imposed unprecedented changes for both employers and employees alike over the last two years and, following the official cessation of lockdown this summer, thousands of people are now returning to the official workplace to perform their jobs.
There has been a lot of talk recently about the negatives of returning to office, and this article by Domonic Lyons will look at the situation from an alternative perspective and focus on the positives.
Keeping home and work life separate
Before March 2020, for many the office was a place of work, and home was a place for personal life. Covid-19 created a big challenge for those working from home, with workers struggling to create a partition a find work and home life balance. Working from home can also lead to consistently feeling the need to check emails or phones past working hours and this has had a knock on effect on the nation’s collective mental health. The routine of only communicating through email, telephone or video calls can be monotonous and has created a formality within communications between colleagues. As such, many have found the opportunity to return to office energising.
Boosting professional development
A question for your manager or team leader that, in the office, could be answered in a matter of seconds, sometimes does not feel worthy of a call or email. For those embarking on new careers, projects or new roles, the opportunity to mingle with your colleagues can both calm nerves, improve professional development and encourage teamworking. The chance to bounce ideas off colleagues seamlessly without being hampered by an invisible technological barrier is something we all benefit from.
Collaboration and creativity
Being in the workplace together gives workers an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in a way that is not possible when working remotely via video conferencing. Social interactions produce happiness and empathy as studies have shown, and there is a creative fluidity that can arise when people get together.
However, returning to office may not be for everyone and it is certainly not something which only has its benefits. For some it can mean less time spent with loved ones, more money spent on travel and lunches and even an earlier alarm!
Overall, depending on the company’s policies, there are a variety of options available and the following months may see companies trial a mix of hybrid working, returning to the office full time, or continuing to work from home.
Here are a couple of quotes from the Jones Chase team on why they feel spending some time together in the office as a team is beneficial:-
Harriet Bowtell, Senior Associate: “Being able to work in a different environment to my home has improved my morale by giving me a change of scene and feeling better able to connect with colleagues and feel part of the team.”
Katherine Budge, Associate, described a positive of returning to office as the opportunity of “Being around lots of people again and working collaboratively”.
Dean Jones, the firm’s Managing Partner, believes:- “Whilst the firm has a flexible approach, it is incredibly important for me to ensure that our culture and values are maintained and not lost due to excessive homeworking. Working remotely has its advantages, it can be quite disparate and isolating. I want people to enjoy working for the firm, feel good about the team that they are in and understand what the firm is about. It is much easier to create and embed a company’s culture when we spend some time together in the same physical workplace, albeit this does not need to be 5 days a week, and is also particularly important for new joiners to the firm.”
What are your views? Do you think that returning to the workplace is on the whole a positive or negative thing?
About the firm
Jones Chase is a specialist employment law firm based in the centre of London with an excellent track record of looking after those that we assist.
We fundamentally believe in helping both businesses and people with all their employment law needs.
Feel free to contact us should you require further information or need any assistance. We are always happy to speak to people and point them in the right direction.