In light of social distancing orders, some employers have imposed remote working policies in order to continue with business operations in a safe manner. With many working out of a home setting, some are thriving while others struggle. This begs the question as to which of the two setups prove to be more productive: work in office or at home.
There are numerous factors that can impact productivity when work from office vs work from home is compared. Many have looked at work from home as the new standard but some experts argue that offices will remain relevant in the future of work in a post-pandemic world.
Working from Home vs Office Productivity
Productivity is at the heart of any conversation when we debate about the working from home or office. While technology has made remote work feasible, many businesses and organisations continue to find working on site to be more effective.
- Commuting to and from work
Eliminating commute time is one of the benefits you can get from working from home. It’s an important one to consider, especially when time is such a valuable resource. Your mornings get less hectic as you don’t have to spend as much time getting ready to take the few steps to your workstation at home.
However, the absence of the commute time may be disruptive for some since many take the commute to work as the time to get mentally prepared for the day, and similarly, the time to unwind during the evening commute home.
- Virtual meeting and conference calls
There is a great sense of convenience when you don’t have to fully prep your looks or don a work outfit if you’re just hopping onto a conference call or video chats. For many, calls are a great way to jump straight to the point for the intended purpose, without other distractions.
Even so, there are psychological advantages to face-to-face meetings and co-location, according to Prof. Richard Arvey of the National University of Singapore Business School. Personal interactions provide non-visual cues such as facial expressions and bodily gestures that are not captured by email or video conferencing, which has a potential to lead to miscommunication. One of the work from office benefits is the soft skills you can shape, such as interpersonal communication, which is best achieved face-to-face.
- Plugging in and unplugging
Working from home vs office statistics depicts an interesting point for office relevance in the foreseeable future. In the State of Remote Work Report conducted by Buffer in 2019, it is suggested that 22% of those who work from home find it difficult to unplug after work.
The lack of distinction between work and home can make it difficult for people to draw the line between time to work and time to step away. The distractions of home life is another important point of consideration. When they are not well-managed, it can contribute to more stress which leads to loss of focus and productivity.
- Roles and responsibilities
In a grand scheme of things, remote work lacks a sense of designation, whereas the roles are more defined for every member in an organisation when there is a common workspace. This plays into a very important factor to foster deeper understanding of an organisation’s work culture, and the absence of an office environment makes it more challenging to do so.
When it comes to working from home vs office pros and cons are a long list and always debatable. To help you weigh your options between remote work vs office work, it is important to look forward as work trends for the future may hold more answers.
Future of Work Trends
The future of workplace is defined by a flurry of digital leaps and dynamic change, with or without the pandemic. While it is currently veiled in a shroud of uncertainty, many are saying that working from home will become the norm in the future ways of working. However, with this new normal work setup being exposed for some productivity pitfalls, it is undeniable that working from home is not for everyone, and not for all industries.
Below are some of the trends that provide a clearer future of work definition, which also provides insight into the future of the office and its role in achieving productivity.
Trend 1: AI and Automation
Artificial intelligence has made its impact on various aspects of life. Businesses and employers are employing AI in their operations to gain competitive edge. It is often mentioned in the same breath as automation, which combines to deliver a positive impact in the way employees deliver work. It drives better employee experience and in turn deliver higher productivity. The sophistication of these systems almost guarantee that it exists in an office environment to support the value of work and working from home limits access to such tools and systems.
Trend 2: Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration
With more efficient technologies at your fingertips, the future of work is going to foster better communication and collaboration. AI and automation is germane to this trend, as these two fields result in the tools for employees to facilitate creative collaboration and improved communication. Tools that are more complex may not be as accessible from a home office setting, which is why working from office post lockdown will remain relevant. Contemporary flexible office spaces and shared offices tend to have the relevant tools available or be ready to tailor to the needs of a company from the get go.
Trend 3: Rise of Superjobs
According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report, superjobs are those that require advanced employee skills. Moving forward, organisations are likely going to prioritise hiring and retaining highly skilled individuals in order to rise up to current challenge. A skilled workforce that is adept and agile is going to prove valuable in a future work setting that is fuelled by the latest technology. The need for defining roles and responsibilities, as well as more strategic decision-making will make work from office even more important in the future.
The future of work is shaped by the existing work landscape, which is influenced in part by the need for social distancing and work from home. The biggest factors that will define future trends, however, are the demand for augmented experiences, need for efficiency, and the ability to adapt to changes in work environments. It is for these same reasons why a work office is going to remain relevant despite today’s shift between home and office.