The recent pandemic has reshaped different perspectives on doing business, including employees' work-environment preferences. With lockdowns happening in the advent of the pandemic, many business owners dealt with conflicting opinions on whether to shift from a work-from-home setup or to continue working in an office space. The underlying question beneath it is: what is the most effective work-environment model?
In-person Work Pros and Cons
A workplace is more than just where employees work. It is a place where collaboration, innovation, and network-building exist. It is a safe space where employees create meaningful professional relationships with their peers. As health protocols loosen, business owners are also strategizing how to execute the best way to return to their offices. As a guide to businesses, here is a list of both advantages and disadvantages of working in an office.
Benefits of In-person Work:
1. It drives a sense of purpose and belongingness.
Creating a workplace that freely supports a sense of purpose is vital in business. Being around co-workers who share common values and goals reinforces individual purpose in the organization. Also, working in an office helps drive a sense of belongingness. That is something that takes work to build in a virtual space. The reason why it is vital to have an office is that it will help out making meaningful connections face-to-face.
2. It improves employee productivity.
The office setup allows the free flow of ideas from employees, which surely boosts creativity, and at the same time, develops collaborative and social skills. It is easy for employees to work with their colleagues, especially in projects requiring face-to-face interaction. Employees can move away from static work routines and become more productive.
3. It improves the "onboarding" experience.
In-person onboarding has significant benefits for newly hired employees, such as an opportunity to ask questions directly to their team leaders, learn through actual work experiences, and better understand organizational psychology. The newly hired employees adapt better from the start through in-person onboarding. They would quickly feel accepted by the company they work with.
4. It drives career growth for employees.
Employees who work physically in a workplace grow in their careers, mainly because they all have the opportunity to get in front of their leaders who influence their growth and development. Also, employees who work in an office tend to be exposed to a multi-level aspect of the business which gives them opportunities to learn new skills.
Drawbacks of In-person Work:
1. Regular office distractions
One reality of working in an office is the flow of communication among employees, which may result in a noisier work environment. This may have a severe effect on an employee's work concentration and might have an impact on their performance.
2. Privacy concerns from employees
In any organization, there will be diverse personalities working, which means there might be employees who are more extroverted than others and may not like working in a team. This will be a disadvantage as it stirs up a feeling of not being comfortable.
3. Increase in stress/anxiety
Undeniably, being in an office adds to the pressure to perform well. This might over-stress an employee, decreasing employee productivity and capacity to work.
Remote Work Pros and Cons
At the advent of the pandemic, lockdowns were mandated, which resulted in the temporary closure of 'non-essential' businesses. Also, it increased the demand for work from the home environment. This unpredictable situation made organizations train their workforce to rapidly adapt to the virtual working styles, seeking to maintain the same productivity as working in the central office.
Although this working style may be new to many businesses, it has its fair share of advantages. Here is the list of those benefits:
1. Better Work-Life Balance
Most remote work opportunities have flexible schedules, so employees can freely choose when they would like to start working. This culture is highly accepted as long as tasks are accomplished accordingly. Admittedly or not, having a structured work schedule can be invaluable, especially for personal matters.
2. Less Stress in Commuting
The time an employee wastes commuting is just one of the downsides of working in an office. Imagine the stress an employee receives daily as they do the hustle and bustle in the busy streets. Studies even emphasized that 30 minutes of daily one-way commuting is highly associated with increased stress and anxiety.
Ditching commuting will help an employee gain better mental and physical health, and it also helps out in prioritizing tasks and responsibilities.
3. Improved inclusivity
Remote work lets businesses embrace diversity and inclusion when hiring potential employees from different socioeconomic, geographic, and cultural backgrounds.
4. Saves money
Working can save money. Employees will no longer worry about paying for gas, car maintenance, transportation, and other daily expenses accumulated from working in a central office. They will save something by simply working in the comforts of their own home.
5. Impact on Sustainability
Working remotely supports sustainability initiatives both for economic growth and to reduce inequalities. This can also open up creative ideas to employees, especially in looking for sustainable projects that would benefit many.
6. Customizable Work Space
Having the freedom to create an office space in the comforts of your home is a win for remote employees.
7. Increased Productivity and Performance
Working at home saves an employee from interruptions, office politics, and a chaotic work environment. So staying at home can help employees focus on individual performance.
8. A happier, Healthier Work Life
Employees who work remotely tend to be happier and more loyal to the company mainly because working at home significantly lessens office stress. Also, employees are free to pursue other things they are passionate about at their convenience.
Hybrid Work Pros and Cons
The move from a regular workplace to a hybrid has transformed businesses, especially during the pandemic. To know more about the benefits and downfalls of hybrid work, here's a list:
1. Employees can work when and how they are most productive
In an in-person work model, employees are expected to work an eight-hour shift; however, for hybrid work, setup employees have more flexibility as long as tasks are scheduled. The employees can choose to work with others in an office or do heads-down work from a remote location.
2. Better Work-Life Balance
It is easier for employees working in a flexible environment to balance life and work. When employees have control over their respective work schedules, they can also take care of other personal lives.
3. Hire talent across the globe
In a hybrid work setup, businesses can hire employees from all parts of the world. With the privilege of a wider talent pool, companies can hire people with specialized skills. It will work as a competitive edge to the businesses, resulting in higher productivity.
4. Save on Real Estate Expenses
In a hybrid work environment, only a few employees can work onsite. This will limit as well the space businesses need for their onsite office. In lieu, real estate expenses will be lessened.
5. Collaboration is more challenging with remote work setup
Hybrid work will allow employees to have freedom with their work schedules, meaning it would take more work to gather everyone in one place to collaborate on specific projects. To fulfill this might require higher technology, which can be expensive for business owners.
6. Requires oversight and maintenance
For a hybrid work setup to work in the right direction, it has to be taken care of. Also, businesses want to create a work environment that speaks so much about freedom and flexibility. In that case, it also needs the appropriate oversight, policies, and maintenance.
7. Not Suitable for All Businesses
This working model is only sometimes applied to all industries. Some fields need work exposure which requires a higher demand for onsite presence.
8. Managing Health and Safety Can be Challenging
Whether employees work remotely, business owners should still have the same health and safety responsibilities as their workforce. Therefore, constant monitoring should still be done even if it can be challenging because of the work setup.
Discover Your Ideal Work Model
The pandemic has forced businesses to reassess their work-environment models and adapt to the evolving needs of employees. Each model – in-person, remote, and hybrid – has pros and cons. The most effective work-environment model will depend on the business's specific needs, goals, and nature, as well as the preferences and well-being of its employees.
By carefully assessing the benefits and drawbacks of each model, businesses may make well-informed judgments regarding which structure is best suited to their particular circumstances. Ultimately, striking the right balance between productivity, employee satisfaction, and company culture will be the key to success in the post-pandemic world of work. Click here to book a discovery session.