Over the last few years, for reasons we all know about but are fed up of hearing about, there has been a paradigm shift in the way we work and how businesses are run. The accelerated trend of remote working has now become a hot topic for organisations to tackle with valid arguments proposed by people on both sides of the spectrum.
Now that we are more digitally connected than ever before working from home has become substantially easier. Team members can exchange ideas through words, video, audio, and other media from all four corners of the world. The speed in which this technology has arisen is truly meteoric and it's no stretch to say we are literally one step away from hologram calls like we see in the movies.
With all this free flow of ideas, increased information, education and amusement it's easy to see why people are reluctant to return to old the old ways of working. Employees of AT&T and Apple claim that they are being compelled to return to the office prematurely, prompting each to create petitions demanding that their company's pandemic work-from-home policies be made permanent. They allege that the restrictions on remote work have jeopardized diversity and staff welfare.
However a group of prominent corporate leaders are resisting the trend towards remote work. The CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, is among them and has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with remote work and the use of Zoom, which he has dubbed "management by Hollywood Squares". Dimon believes that returning to the office will be beneficial for promoting diversity and instigating creativity. Elon Musk also recently entered the debate by telling his employees that they can work remotely, as long as they have completed 40 hours of work at the office.
But without the usual office overheads is it beneficial for the bottom line? According to a Stanford economist, remote work is contributing to the growth of companies globally. This claim is supported by several studies, including one which found that 77% of workers reported higher productivity levels while working from home. Nevertheless, some reports suggest that those who work full-time from home are 70% less productive than those who work outside of their home office.
Regarding mental health, there is a debate among experts about the effects of working from home. Some argue that it can alleviate stress since there is no need for a daily commute, allows for more sleep, and makes it easier to manage family commitments. Additionally, without office chatter and telephones, workers may achieve a better level of concentration. However, according to a study conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, the majority of employees who work from home reported negative impacts on their mental health. They experienced feelings of isolation, loneliness, and difficulty disconnecting from work at the end of the day.
Although remote working has many vocal supporters, even they acknowledge the advantages of spending some time with colleagues in person, especially for young individuals who require mentors, those who crave social interaction, and those who may be easily distracted, lonely, or dealing with anxiety.
Face-to-face communication builds stronger, more meaningful business relationships. It helps to build trust and foster meaningful connections among team members, their managers and clients. It can also lead to better collaboration, greater productivity, and more innovation and creativity.
25/8 have realised that both remote work and a return to the office have their benefits – which is why we've adopted a compromised approach and adopted a hybrid work philosophy.
Our team has regular company and divisional meetings so that we can build camaraderie, encourage teamwork and give support to those who might need it. It is a key aspect of our business to make site visits to understand the needs of our clients and their environment one on one. Plus we frequently attend trade shows to meet the right people and create opportunities to network with like minded associates.
25/8 has thrived by balancing face-to-face interaction and working from home. We will continue to adapt and be flexible for the well-being of our employees and for the continued success of our business.