Many businesses are now taking steps to bring employees back to their offices whether that is on a full-time or part-time basis. We have all missed the many social and collaborative benefits of working together. But what about the wellbeing benefits of working in an office? In this blog we take a look at the negative impacts working from home has had, some of the research that has been carried out in this area and the wellbeing benefits of working from an office.
As recently as this month a survey of Senior Managers and Directors by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that reduced mental wellbeing of staff due to isolation was cited as a challenge by 44% of the survey respondents. In a separate study by YuLife and YouGov nearly a third (30%) argued continued lack of personal interaction is taking its toll, citing lack of real interaction as having negatively impacted their wellbeing.
Bringing employees back to the office keeps them engaged and connected with their own team and the wider workforce.
The feeling of always being on
Joint research by YuLife and YouGov has revealed the harmful impact on employee wellbeing and mental health from a year of lockdown. The research found that working-at-home staff reported feeling ‘always-on’ and having to juggle caring commitments. The study showed nearly a quarter of workers (22%) simply do not take any breaks at all during the working day.
Remote employees often feel compelled to work longer hours than their in-office counterparts to “prove” productivity, with the pressure to appear “busy” causing increased anxiety. An office allows us to physically differentiate between home and work life, and, pre-Coronavirus, we could use our journey to walk to get in the zone before work or decompress after it.
Damage to workplace confidence
In the Mental Health First Aid Survey March 2021, the research discovered that more than double the number of women than men (68% compared to 31%), said their workplace confidence had dipped as a result of the pandemic, while many more women (64%) reported feelings of loneliness and isolation than men (36%)
Lack of wellbeing check-ins
In the same survey, 41% of respondents said they had less frequent wellbeing check-ins, or none at all, during the pandemic, while 43% said their workplace mental health and wellbeing support had either stayed the same, or got worse, during the pandemic.
Impact on Mental and Physical Health
The solitude of working remotely can hugely affect mental health, with research showing that loneliness can be twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity. Many work at home employees are reporting neck and back problems from sitting in chairs and at tables that were not designed for all day use and helping with posture.
Whoever knew this was to become a “thing”. What at first seemed like a vital help to working from home, for many it has become somewhat of a hindrance. A survey by software company Smartsheet found that almost two-thirds of Gen Z workers and just over three-fifths of Millenials felt that the amount of time spent on video calls made it harder to get through their workload.
Collaboration and Co-ordination.
Workers who are physically able to see and talk to each other will find it easier to streamline their communications and collectively innovate to develop new ideas, leading to a more fulfilled role. Office-based work helps teams stay functional and aligned with the work of others.
Working at home means you are unable to observe that all important office interaction, from overhearing conversations that may enhance your understanding of the business or project to missing important information said by someone in passing. It’s not just about what you can’t hear either. As much 93% of our communication is non-verbal, so body language plays an important role.
In the moment training.
The lack of opportunity to observe is particularly detrimental to the growth of junior employees who learn by osmosis.
Whilst undoubtedly for many of us the lockdown will have made us more tech savvy, our skills aren’t quite on par with a qualified IT department. Unreliable connections and subpar equipment at home resulted in valuable work time being lost for many. Accessing IT support is much easier for many in the office environment.
We hope that the information we have gathered here resonates with you and that you will be coming back to the office soon, if you have not done so already. If you have always worked from home and you now feel that the time is right to get your first office or you are looking for a new home for your new business, then why not come and see first hand what Eagle Tower has to offer. Contact Us.