It’s no secret that we have seen a huge shift towards remote working and hybrid positions due to the changes brought on by the pandemic. COVID-19 has quite probably changed the landscape of modern working forever and it’s unlikely we will ever return to rigid 9-5 office hours.
Shortly after the pandemic, reports by Total Jobs and Indeed showed a huge surge in searches for ‘remote working’ across all sectors by workers now familiarised with this new way of working. Highly publicised debates in the media surrounding workers’ rights to work from home and whether companies should be able to demand returns to offices were common, and the Home Vs Office debate raged on throughout most of 2021/2022.
However, Business Insider’s 2023 Flexible Working Index now shows that fully remote work has actually began to decline in popularity. Their article suggests that the initial attraction of fully remote work has waned, and instead workers are looking to move into hybrid models because this gives them the freedom to achieve the best of both arrangements.
Our advice to candidates is that returning to office working where possible certainly makes sense when looking for a new role in this changing landscape. Remote working’s isolation, longer hours, poor home office setups, sitting for prolonged periods and blurred lines between home/work are taking a toll - and whilst there are plus points of home working, we believe it is important that the benefits of office working shouldn’t be forgotten.
Here are 10 reasons we commonly hear about why candidates want to head back to the office:
Increased opportunities for training and development
In the office, managers can more easily spot the visual cues for when an employee needs that little bit of extra support. Furthermore, a huge amount of learning takes place informally in a workplace, whether through experience or simply observing others. Bringing employees back to the office will ensure they continue to develop and grow.
Sociologically, the easiest way that we learn is through watching others. Even when we’re not consciously aware of it, we watch and mirror others and it helps us pick up processes and skills much more quickly than we might over a computer screen.
Faster career development
In-person interactions can also enhance career growth. Working within your office environment provides an opportunity to be regularly interacting with, and learning from, key members of the business. It also puts you in recent memory of leaders who may be thinking about expanding their team or promoting key talent which is good for your growth within the company.
This is especially true for younger employees building their first professional networks. “Being in the office provides you with an opportunity to build your social capital, but also to be on the radar screen of and in recent memory of leaders who may be thinking about expanding their team or promoting key talent,” says Tracy Brower in Forbes.
A more productive working environment
When you’re working from home, it can be easy to procrastinate so you’re perhaps more likely to stay on task and be productive in an environment dedicated to working. Returning to the office provides a dedicated workspace with a proper set up can also improve ergonomics and prevent physical strain.
The formal workspace setup in an office can rarely be perfected in a home environment and therefore working in an office can make it easier and more comfortable to complete certain tasks. Large common monitors, printing facilities, projectors, ergonomic desks and chairs, coffee area, meeting spaces, etc. are all nice commodities that we can take advantage of in an office.
Better ideas and collaborative thinking
Many of the roles we come across require a high level of creativity and collaboration. Being physically present in the office for in-person meetings and brainstorming sessions opens doors to quick and continuous idea sharing.
According to research cited by marketing software developer HubSpot, remote meetings generate on average 10.43 ideas, while in-person meetings generate an average of 13.36. So, while it is feasible to achieve these discussions through video conferencing, in-person engagement creates a different level of collaboration that can spark unique and game-changing ideas.
Social and cultural wellbeing
Humans feed and thrive off connections with others, and research demonstrates that if we don’t have adequate time face-to-face, we experience declines in wellbeing and feel a lack of motivation. Technology helps us connect but is inadequate when compared to communication in-person.
In addition, being on camera can also make us anxious, self conscious and can create an intensity in the workday which can be exhausting. Being present together in the office can reduce tech fatigue and is critical to our physical and emotional health—for all of us.
Reduced energy bills
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to deepen, the need to reduce bills and tighten the purse strings has never been so prevalent. Working in an office could mean that you have a warm place to work without the concern about how much it’s costing.
Remote workers use 75% more gas per day over the winter months and 25% more electricity than those in the office five days a week, analysis from price comparison site Uswitch shows. Larger households with a higher energy consumption are likely to pay £513 a month, rising to £698 for those who are working from home.
Some 14% of Britons plan to spend more time working from the office to reduce home energy bills, a figure that rises to nearly a quarter (23%) among 18-24 year olds, according to research by MoneySupermarket.com.
Sense of purpose and belonging
During the pandemic, many workers felt isolated and disengaged. Swathes of redundancies lowered morale, and new employees who hadn’t yet met their colleagues in person had to do so virtually through Zoom, Slack and Teams.
By turning up at the workplace consistently, you will undoubtedly feel to a greater extent a feeling of being a genuine part of the team. It creates a sense of belonging within the company. In fact, our survey showed that 52% of candidates we speak to miss the social aspects of the office.
Better friendships made by real connections
Natural relationships are more likely to build in an office because you have easier access to more information about people. You learn what they’re going through, what motivates them and how they operate. This means you’re much more likely to understand them, empathise with them and open up to them - with this openness comes a great foundation for great friendships to build.
When working with friends, 22% of employees feel they are equally or more productive, and 21% believe it makes them more creative.
Helps to maintain a healthy work-life balance
Working in an office can set healthy and distinct boundaries between work and personal life. While many employees prefer remote working, the reality of working from home can blur the line between work and real life, which makes it more difficult to fully switch off.
Working in an office presents a clear boundary where your work should take place and leaving at the end of the day is a clear sign your home life should begin. Mentally switching off is essential to stay motivated, relaxed and engaged.
During stressful times, having time in between your work life and home life (perhaps in the car with your favourite radio station) can give you an opportunity to destress and recharge. This time can be precious and can help us to cope with the transition from employee to parent/partner etc.
Benefit from the company culture
Working remotely doesn’t make creating a successful culture impossible, but it is likely to make it significantly more difficult. Engaging and feeling apart of a cultural team enhances your wellbeing and ensures you are more engaged and passionate about your role.
Employee experience day to day in the office is a fantastic tool when defining and creating a culture and has huge benefits when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Without a physical space, it’s harder to implement activities and practices that create a strong company culture.
We hope this article has been helpful and helps you to see the clear benefits of hybrid and office-based roles. If you’d like to find out more about anything we’ve discussed, more information can be found in our references below.
Looking for a new role?
You can check out all the current vacancies we have available via our pharma jobs page
Are you looking for new talent within Life Sciences sector?
Carrot Recruitment have over 17 years experience, recruiting across the full Pharma product life cycle. We support clients across all functions, from product development to commercialisation.
We have a deep reach into many niche candidate networks with over 20,000 candidates on our books. Candidates love our approach and work with us throughout their career, which means we have a huge catalogue of top talent at our fingertips.