Numerous reports have demonstrated that people would prefer to have a mix of working from home and the office. With many of us being forced to go back to the office and many more required to work in the office full time, the office is a requirement, not a luxury. With that in mind, let’s unravel the truth about working in an office. Why do people want to go back and is it really all it’s made out to be?
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The truth about working from home
The below table highlights the desirable and dreadful realities of working in an office.
|Work In An Office Advantages||Work In An Office Disadvantages|
|Offers an escape from your home||Involves commuting|
|Improves time management||Noisy office can cause disruption|
|Can purchase lunches easier||Less flexible work schedule|
|Easier to contact people||Can be less efficient|
|Appropriate office equipment||Can decrease productivity|
|Introduces more movement and steps||Costs more money|
|More social interaction and networking||Poorer work life balance|
|Be involved and embrace company culture|
The above list highlights some of the key pros and cons to the humble work office. Now let’s delve deeper in to find out what’s attracting so many people back to the office. On the other hand, there are a large proportion of being dragged back to the office. So, why exactly don’t they want to go back? Let’s find out the hidden truths about if working in the office is worth it!
In a study of 1000 workers, 49% stated that they would prefer a hybrid model of working from home and the office. 26% prefer to work remote and 25% prefer to work in the office full time. Source
Work In An Office Advantages
Offers an escape from your home
Many work from homers can experience cabin fever from living in the house to spending your working day there too. Working in the office grants you a break from the same 4 walls. It also allows you to break up your day or week as sitting at a desk all day can become tiring.
It’s no wonder that 49% of people prefer a hybrid model of working…
Working from home can be delightful and peaceful if you have the house to yourself or live in a quiet home or estate.
However, if you have kids, pets or noisy family or housemates, it’s sometimes easier to just get out of the house for a break away from them too.
Improves time management
Many companies have core working hours where staff must be present. This means you need to be on time and more organized to ensure you leave enough time for commuting and getting ready.
Additionally, you’re usually bound by break and lunch times which means you need to adopt a more structured approach as opposed to taking a break at home when the mood strikes you.
If you struggle with the confinements of set hours, you may be fortunate enough to work for a company with a flexible working policy; with this structure, there will be more freedom to select the hours that you start and finish work.
Can purchase lunches easier
In the office, there’s often a canteen serving food. If not, most places are within close walking or driving distance to a shop.
If you don’t enjoy cooking or time is short, this can be a saving grace that you might not have the luxury of at home. A harsh reality is that if you don’t stock your fridge, you’ll also be scavenging for food!
When you are working at home, you typically have less choice in terms of food available to eat. It’s often confined to the contents of your kitchen; even at that, if you haven’t food prepped in advance, you’ll hardly have time to whip up a lovely hot meal in your short lunch break!
Easier to contact people
Speaking to people face to face or arranging discussions is often easier when done in person. This is made easier when all necessary parties are on site.
Add to that all those niggly IT issues that often crop their head. Sometimes you can simply drop over to the IT crowd, and they’ll have it resolved. But when working from home, you’re often at the mercy of a helpdesk.
I personally found that when working from home, there were some IT issues that wouldn’t have been an issue if I was in the office. For instance, having to reset my password required being connected to the office network.
Since I was at home, I had to go through the rigmarole of ringing the helpdesk to resolve something that would normally take a minute.
Appropriate office equipment
Working in the office grants you access to decent sized desks, adjustable chairs, monitors etc. Many of us took this for granted until we were forced to work from the side of our kitchen table.
Being huddled over your laptop is tolerable for a small amount of time. But it becomes a productivity and ergonomic nightmare if endured for too long.
If you have a good setup at your home, this won’t be as much of a problem. But bear in mind, you may not have as much access to or be eligible for as much equipment as you would be if you were in the office workplace.
Plus, offices are often better heated, and you won’t have to play for heating up your home!
Introduces more movement and steps
The average amount of steps you expend will somewhat depend on the nature of your job. If you’re someone involved in projects or auditing onsite, you’ll rack up a larger number of steps than someone desk based.
Irrespective of this, when working in the office, you’ll have a longer distance to travel from the canteen to the bathrooms and even walking as part of your commute.
You’d be surprised just how much extra steps you accumulate. I’d personally have about 3000 steps by 10:30 am in the office. When I’m working at home, I’d be lucky to have 500 steps!
Unless you’re living in a Beverly Hills mansion, you probably won’t have far to walk when moving between your desk, the kitchen and bathroom at home.
After a few hours of sitting uninterrupted, be prepared to feel the need to get out from your desk.
A good tip is to take a walk at your lunch time or consider a standing desk such as the Bush Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk.
Why not take it one step (no pun intended) or treadmill desk such as the Sunny treadpad slim under desk treadmill 20740!
More social interaction and networking
Many people use work as an opportunity to make friends, have chats with people on their breaks and even talk face to face with people regarding work. You lose a lot of this social engagement when working remotely.
While you probably will speak with people over Teams or Zoom meetings, it doesn’t quite compare to talking to them in the flesh.
Networking with people is also much easier and more effective when in the office! This can pay dividends when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder.
If social isolation becomes an issue for you, the option of a hybrid WFH model could be considered where you work onsite a few days a week. You could even use a working hub a couple of times a week to get you chatting with others.
Be involved and embrace company culture
When you’re based in the office, you’ll be able to embrace and get more involved in the company culture. Whether it’s get-togethers for birthday cake, celebrating onsite events or attending those town hall meetings.
If you’re working remotely, you probably will miss out on those free lunches, site meetings or event days and you may feel as though you’re missing out.
Work In An Office Disadvantages
The biggest advantage to working from home is the lack of a commute. When in the office, you may have to travel long distances including sitting in traffic.
The average commute time in the US is 52.2 minutes a day. Often, it’s a much lengthier commute of up to a few hours for some people!
When travelling to the office, you’ll be short on time, and have to pay for the cost of fuel, car maintenance, parking or travel tickets.
Tip: Commuting just 1 less day a week could save approximately $900 a year!
Noisy office can cause disruption
Many people are placed in noisy open plans which can be severely limiting to your productivity. That in addition to people dropping by your desk for a chat or to ask you a question can consume a considerable amount of time.
If you have your own office or work in a quiet area of the building, you are in a lucky location.
When working from home, people can’t distract you as much. They’ll probably resort to emailing you or sending you a message which is often responded to faster than a full-blown face to face chat.
Less flexible work schedule
When working from home, you have much more flexibility to work the hours you desire. Since commuting is eliminated, you can start earlier or later in the day if you wish.
You won’t have to schedule your breaks around canteen serving times or busy periods waiting ages for the microwave.
However, in the office, it’s another story…
Say hello to being confined to the mantra of working 9 – 5, eating at set breaks and lunches and getting up at an hour that allows you to make it to work on time!
Additionally, you may need to schedule the time you start and leave work to avoid rush hour traffic!
Can be less efficient
When working in the workplace, there’s usually more time and effort involved. Whether it’s your commute, preparing lunches, picking out clothes, doing your hair and makeup. Even having clothes ironed to wear takes time!
Much of these tasks can be avoided or made more efficient by working from home.
While you’ll still have to look presentable on video, you won’t need to go to as much effort as if you were seeing people in the flesh.
Can decrease productivity
Working in a shared office or open plan where people are making noise and interrupting you can significantly deplete your productivity.
Constant interruptions make it difficult and slower to complete deep work, e.g., writing or reading reports.
People who work from home are about 13% more productive.
By working from home, you have less disruptions and can power through your work.
Costs more money
The hidden costs of working in the workplace become much more evident when you start remote working. Costs include food, snacks, extortionately priced teas and coffees, travelling costs, childcare and the cost of clothing and make up.
Working from home can save you as much as $12,000 per year working full time remotely or $6,000 working on a hybrid model.
The average savings per year by commuting 1 less day a week can amount to as much as $900!
If your commute involves costly parking fees, the average savings per year by parking 1 less day range from $288 – $1848!
Tip: Working fewer hours or days means you can spend less on food, treats and coffees.
Poorer work life balance
Working from the office means that you’ll have less time to spend with family and friends. And of course, you can’t have your precious pet on your lap!
Since you spend more time on getting ready for work, making lunches and commuting, there is less time can be spent in a more beneficial way for your health and wellbeing.
With 35 – 60 + working hours in a week, people will have little time for personal commitments and achieving a work life balance.
By working from home, you can use the time to get some exercise in, spend it on your hobbies, with family or on everyday chores.
Tip: Compressed work weeks, such as a 4 day work week, allow full time staff to complete their work in a shorter week, which could equate to less hours and more free time.
The reality is that there are both pros and cons to working in the office. For many, a hybrid model will be the perfect setup.
For others, 29% of people to be precise, it may result in them seeking another role that offers them the choice of more flexibility or 100% remote working!
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the array of working models, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look. Some of them I guarantee you’ve probably never even heard of!
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Is Weekend Work Worth It? + Does It Pay Better?
- Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!
- Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
- Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!
- How Unlimited Holidays Work – An Insider Guide + FAQs!