The pros and cons of keeping an office post COVID-19
Are you looking forward to the first Monday morning commute to work? Getting out of bed at 5 a.m., sitting in traffic or crammed on a train for over an hour? Probably not, and now we’ve all had a taste of how working from home feels like it’s got people asking the question: do we even need to bother with that ever again?
The lockdown has shown us how outdated the idea of the office is. Eight hours a day, five days a week stuck in the same four walls. Remote working gave most of us a sense of freedom in our workday unlike anything we’ve ever had before. If you get tired of staring at a screen, you can get up and take a walk. Take an hour’s break now and add it to the end of the day – glorious freedom and flexibility.
Three out of five people would like to work from home more often than they did before the lockdown. And 45% of people expect it to be a permanent change when it’s all over. But 50% of people aren’t happy with their work-life balance while working at home, citing longer hours and more stress. It’s not as clear as it seems. So are we keeping an office post COVID-19 or are we ready to ditch them? Let’s look at the pros and cons of office life.
Pro: You can see each other face to face
This goes for both clients and colleagues. Working together as part of a team can increase productivity. This is much easier to accomplish when you’re all in the same space. It can lead to more creative problem-solving, speed up your personal development, and even make you happier. And happy employees are productive employees.
Everyone is there at the same time, so if you need to ask someone a question, just stick your head above the parapets and fire away. And it’s easier to justify the greasy burger and chips for lunch when you’ve got some partners in crime from accounting.
For your clients, you have a professional space where you can host meetings and show them what you’re about. You lose some of this mystique when you’re talking over video call and it’s much easier to bounce off one another when you’re face to face.
Con: You can do everything over the internet
Say what you will about those video calls, but they’re definitely easier to set up (internet connection willing). People don’t have to drop what they’re doing to go to a specific location at a specific time. They can just open a new window on their laptop and they’re there. In an office, people might lose hours of work just traveling to the meetings.
Cloud software allows us to access our work wherever we are and on any device. Unless you’re dealing with some top-tier level software that needs a whole server to run, most people can get by with their laptop or PC. It makes you wonder: just because you can have an office, should you? Are you keeping an office post COVID-19 because you need to or are you doing it because it’s just “the way it is”? Working from home is cheaper and some people’s first choice.
Pro: It’s a better service for your clients
By keeping an office post COVID-19, you force yourself to do the “Monday to Friday, 9 to 5” routine. This is good if that’s what your clients do. It means you can stay in sync and are always available to answer your clients’ enquiries. We’d all love some flexibility in our day to day, but we have to be there for the people who matter most – the clients.
If you’re a night owl whose most productive hours are between 12 and 5 a.m. that’s great, not so much if you need to discuss with a client first. You can’t pick their brain in the middle of the night. Well, you could, but they might not be your client for much longer. During the lockdown, phone traffic is down, but the importance of the calls has increased. You need to be there when they are and an office helps you stick to that.
The office provides a regimented space that keeps you working at a normal time and pace so you can provide the most helpful and convenient service to your clients. The small business attitude everyone loves today means customers feel confident they can pick up the phone and talk to the director if they want. That’s harder to do if the director is out golfing because their schedule is different.
Con: You don’t have the freedom
But this lockdown has shown us how freeing being out of the office is. The director can go golfing in the afternoon and not feel guilty about it. That freedom makes us happier; 39% of people say the flexibility improves their mental health.
And your clients might have the same thoughts as you and might adjust their own working hours. Talk to each other and find out a time that works for you and, beyond that, work as you please. People who can work flexibly are more productive; they won’t think twice about answering a call or email out of work hours because they can make up for it elsewhere.
The office is the antithesis of freedom. It locks you away, even eating at your spare time after, as you commute home. It’s why coworking spaces have shot up in popularity – the industry is worth $26 billion worldwide.
And they might be the answer. The question is “are we keeping an office post COVID-19?” and the answer is “kind of. Maybe”. We’ve seen how good not being in the office is, but we know it’s not for everyone, so you can’t drop it entirely.
The solution might be somewhere in the middle and coworking spaces could be the answer. If we take only the space we need and create lean workforces of essential staff, we have the freedom to do whatever. Freedom to work where we want, how we want, and with who we want.
You’ve got problems; we’ve got solutions. Give you and your staff the freedom to work how you want and leave the call answering to us. We can handle your incoming calls so you don’t have to sacrifice your free time waiting for the phone to buzz. We work 24/7 meaning we’re there for your business no matter the time.
If you want to find out more, get in touch on 0345 056 8888.