As a society, we have been through a lot of changes. From letter writing to the creation of the internet and emails, from cubicle offices to beautifully interior designed workspaces, the world of work is constantly shifting, and we are morphing alongside it. Three years ago, there was a new necessity to adapt the way we worked to fit the new state of the world, and so we did. We packed up our things, went home, and worked from isolation, communicating only via screens. As the world once again shifted, people gradually started going back to their workplaces, however the option to work from home had become an incredibly attractive benefit for many. Now, for a lot of people, this is the preferred option; as a recruitment partner, we are seeing first-hand how this is proving to be a deal breaker for some candidates, and potentially brilliant job opportunities are not taken for this reason. An IPSOS survey for the World Economic Forum found that among 12,500 employed people in 29 countries, a majority want flexible working to become the norm, and almost 30% said they would consider looking for another job if they were forced to go back to the office full time.
It seems that many have lost the desire for office-based working and are not bothered about being surrounded by colleagues but would rather work alone at the kitchen table. Exciting opportunities are now being disregarded, rejected, and overlooked for the simple reason that they are office-based. These opportunities include incredible jobs with great salaries, wonderful colleagues and potential friendships, and potential career development/progression, just to name a few. Is it worth risking all of this just to work from home?
Working from home negates the possibility for interactions with colleagues; this can negatively impact our social lives and needs. As Age UK states, “research suggests that participating in meaningful social activities, may help people maintain their thinking skills better in later life and slow down cognitive decline.” It is essential for our health to keep social interactions regular, and offices provide these in abundance. Whether it’s bumping into a colleague at the water fountain or trying to catch a rogue spider that has infiltrated your office, the workplace provides many moments in which we can bond with our fellow human beings.
When you work in the same place you live, the boundaries can become blurry and therefore you may find work-life seeping into your home-life more and more. The BBC references data that suggests, “remote workers are putting in longer hours at their desk” with “up to 80% of UK workers feel that working from home has negatively impacted their mental health.” This is indicative of the lack of structure home working can encourage, with no clear ‘end of the day’, and working running straight into home life. Where a lot of people say that the commute puts them off office-based working, it may be useful to consider the benefits of that travelling time. Even if it’s a short drive, listening to the radio, gathering one’s thoughts, or catching up with friends and family over the phone (hands-free if driving, of course!) helps separate work life from home life. If the commute is putting you off office-based working, use it to your advantage. It could become a favourite time of the day if you use it right!
Working from a dedicated place with all the extra information and advice you may need close at hand can also help make your work-life easier. Grabbing five minutes with your Line Manager is much easier if they are just down the hall or at a nearby desk, rather than setting up a Teams call and risking dodgy Wi-Fi just to have a quick chat!
Additionally, many companies state that a lot of their vacancies will have the potential to become hybrid working. It’s important to remember that the first few weeks/months of an entirely office-based role allows both employer and employee the opportunity to develop and build a relationship, and significantly, gain that level of trust. An important tip for candidates: please don’t write off a job because a role is portrayed as completely office-based, it’s crucial to remember that once you have proven that you are a viable long-term investment, that you add value to the team, and fit the company culture of your new employer, the chances are you will have cultivated enough trust to potentially flex the working parameters and work in a hybrid capacity. In the grand scheme of things, it is so valuable to get through this stage as you could end up with an incredible job, which suits your working preferences.
Obviously not every company can logistically offer working from home, nor flexible working, but this needn’t be seen as a disadvantage. In fact, office-based working is on the rise again as people start to crave interaction and clearer cut work-life balance. Make sure you don’t miss out on a wonderful experience and opportunity just for the sake of an easy commute to your kitchen table!