Stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 news. Learn More

Insights

An Ode to the Grind – Working from Home vs Office Working

Written by Adam Birrer . January 04, 2022
4 min read

Are reports around the demise of the office premature? After a challenging period once again working from home throughout the middle of 2021, one of the positives at the back end of the year was actually a return to working in the office. Personally, I have found it a re-invigorating change!

This was probably enhanced by the fact that we at BLG were lucky to have a shiny new office on Keira St to come in to once COVID-19 restrictions eased. But really, the main thing is the way it has highlighted all the things that we miss out on when working from home.

Social Interactions

First and foremost, it’s the interactions with all the people we work with – both formal and informal. You gain the full experience in the office. Hearing what people got up to on the weekend as they roll in on a Monday morning, grabbing a coffee for your mate or just a chat at the water cooler. Plus, being able to bounce work questions or issues off your colleagues with a quick conversation rather than the effort of trying to line up a call.

Mentor Support

For more junior staff, there is an element of learning by osmosis (just by seeing and hearing what others are doing and saying) that is impossible to get at home. For those supervising, it is easier to pick up on queues when someone might need help. I think overall, the ability to support and to be supported is much greater in the office.

Even just the sense of solidarity of having others around you at busy times makes work feel less stressful, as does a bit of banter throughout the day. I’d take the buzz of a busy office, along with the inevitable distraction, over the quiet and solitude of the spare room any day.

Face-to-Face Meetings

In a client-focused service business such as ours, there is no substitute for sitting down face-to-face for meetings. Online video conferencing has been useful and will still be a good tool for convenience moving forward, but there’s no doubt we miss out on a lot when communicating this way.

While meetings can easily be arranged at a client’s premises (as we often do) or a café for instance, I believe having dedicated meeting spaces at our office provides a valuable opportunity for clients to step away from their business in both a physical and metaphorical sense. This can help in seeing things from a different perspective, aiding in more fruitful discussions and better business decision-making.

Routine

And finally, it turns out for some of us (myself included) the daily grind of physically going into the office each day is actually a welcome thing – who would have thought? The process of getting out the door each morning and off to work provides a nice delineation between home and work, and somehow, I’ve even found the return to enforced routine beneficial in other ways such as making it easier to fit in running / exercise on a consistent basis.

Working-From-Home

With many businesses deferring a return to the office until 2022 due to continuing uncertainty around COVID-19, there’ll be some interesting decisions to make about how working arrangements might look in the future. Will part-time working-from-home (WFH) be part of the plan?

Not everyone (particularly younger people) live in a large home with suitable space to comfortably work, a factor that should be given due consideration by employers when weighing up their WFH policy and office space requirements. On the flipside, some may prefer to work from home at least part-time. But does having a scattered workforce who are sometimes present and sometimes not somewhat defeat the purpose?

Of course, I’m writing this from Wollongong after a 10 minute drive to the office and accept my perspective might be different were I plying my trade up in “the big smoke” for a multinational firm. Perhaps what we may see in future is more businesses setting up offices in regional cities and towns instead of (or in addition to) capital city CBD’s to provide the lifestyle opportunities that many people clearly want – including shorter commutes!                                                               

Either way, I think these old-fashioned hubs of productivity we call offices will be with us for a while yet – and that’s a good thing. What do you think?

*This information is relevant at the time of publishing and is subject to change*
Written by Adam Birrer . January 04, 2022

Categories

Covid-19 Resource Centre

Keep up to date with the Coronavirus.

Covid-Resource-Centre
Access Resource Centre

Are you ready to speak to a business adviser?

Let us show you how we can help.

If you’re more of a talker we’d love to chat, call us on 02 4229 2211

Talk with us

mail (1)

Get business advice that helps you, no matter what stage of business you’re in.

Yes, an email that matters!