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Returning back from work-from-home? Why we can’t continue at home forever

The rapid adjustment toward working from home came abruptly and hastily for most Americans. With the nation and the world forced into an essential experiment of remote working, some workers and business owners are now questioning whether they should return to the office at all.

While remote working can increase flexibility and decrease commute times, it can also hurt company culture. Maintaining a strong culture in an organization is important for attracting talent, retaining employees and developing team chemistry. The disjointment of video conferencing and working from home makes effective team-building fairly unachievable.

Working from home can also take a toll on individual employees. One study found that 40% of remote workers cited isolation as the biggest challenge of their work, and another 40% reported distractions to be the most difficult part. With the case of the coronavirus and remote work, most workers already know each other and have fostered relationships and a team culture. The same cannot be said for new hirees, who can feel unconnected and disjointed from the rest of the team.

Shared spaces promote worker engagement and passion for the organization, giving employees a desire to stay at their job and decreasing turnover. Research by Gallup shows that a higher level of employee engagement is linked to profitability, productivity and customer loyalty. These factors increase when workers are more engaged in company culture, which happens in the workplace.

Staying at home has its benefits, but in the long-term companies can face an erosion of team culture, resulting in negative effects. Some problems that arise with employees working from home include:

  1. Lack of excitement about company growth and company values

Working together in the office creates a sense of being a part of a larger team and a larger goal. While remote workers may perform better at individual taks, team connectivity and collaboration goes down. An effective organization is not a collection of individuals doing separate tasks, but instead is a web of shared ideas, teamwork and joint participation.

  1. Team separation and elimination of daily personal interaction

Daily interaction with coworkers can give employees a sense of purpose and enable them to develop strong personal connections. Also, teams in the same space can better collaborate to generate new ideas. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a recent interview that he was unsure whether teams working together for the first time will be effective at brainstorming and coming up with ideas in a remote setting. Without day-to-day workplace interactions, workers, especially new ones, are unable to develop personal connections which give them a place in the company culture.

  1. Stress management and isolation

Working from home makes it harder to detach work from life, causing stress and hurting well-being. This is especially true for younger workers according to Gensler’s U.S. Work From Home Survey 2020. During the coronavirus pandemic, people in the U.S. have increased their average workday by an additional three hours per day, according to data from NordVPN Teams. Working at home comes with working alone, without personal interactions that are found in the workplace.

Organizations can build workplaces for changing circumstances in order for workers to feel connected with the company, build relationships with team members and reduce undue stress. Office layout and design should be adaptable and account for the safety and well-being of team members as they transition back into the office.

Contact Facility Services today to create the perfect office layout for your workspace.

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