After a couple of years of being encouraged to work from home, would you be happier at work if you spent more of your time in the office?
A working life that consists of nothing but homeworking makes you lonely. So reported The Atlantic1 last year, citing research from the US that found almost two-thirds of workers felt “the cons of working from home outweighed the pros”. Seventy percent said combining work with the other responsibilities that creep in when you work from home was a source of stress.
This year, a Microsoft report2 found that, although remote working can improve job satisfaction, it can also lead to employees feeling “socially isolated, guilty and trying to overcompensate.” Also this year, the BBC reported that 80% of workers feel “working from home has negatively impacted their mental health”.
Generally speaking, the workers surveyed in these reports are employees. If you’re trying to launch or grow your business from the shed or kitchen table, things can feel even more isolating because you’ll typically have fewer colleagues in your social circle with whom you can share a quick Zoom.
Why happiness at work matters
Let’s take a step back. Yes, we’d all love to be happy in our work, but does it really matter if we’re not? The simple answer is yes, it does. Studies show3 happy workers are more likely to arrive at work energized, get more done and make a bigger impact to the bottom line. A business requires lots of things from its leaders but being engaged and ready to put in a shift is about as basic a requirement as you’ll find. After all, if you’re not fully committed, why should anyone else (staff or customers) be? That’s why happiness matters.
More people are discovering that, when launching a business from home, it’s not the ‘launching a business’ part that presents the greatest challenges, but doing it from the isolation of the home. So how can heading back to the office – even in a part-time, hybrid way – make you happier?
1. De-cluttering your day – and mind – makes you more productive
You might have a home office tailor-made for homeworking. Then again, you might not. If your home office involves fighting for space while you balance the laptop on a pile of papers, the environment could be a distraction, damaging your productivity as well as your wellbeing. Mess causes stress. An office helps you escape to a space that’s solely for work.
2. An office helps you achieve real work life balance
It’s difficult to create a genuine distance between work and life when they both happen in the same space. It’s not just that it’s not easy to close the door on work when the office is the kitchen table. It’s the fact that the opportunity to put in another half hour/hour/evening can be hard to resist when work is so close. Yet as this and many other features note4, if you want to resist burnout and make the hours you work more productive, living away from your work can be important.
3. An office helps you connect
We’re social animals. If you’ve spent the day alone at your desk, you feel it. Even a Zoom call or two can’t replace the effect of bumping into someone at the reception desk, in the lift or in the kitchen. Conversations don’t always have to be about work—for wellbeing it’s often better if they’re not—but the positive effect of engaging with people around you can only happen if there are people around you.
4. An office helps you find solutions
You’re stuck. A client has asked a question to which you don’t know the answer. Or perhaps they want you to deliver a range of services, one of which you don’t offer. When you work in an office, chances are you’ll be able to find the answers or partners to help. Collaborations help share the load, which means you have fewer sleepless nights.
5. An office motivates
Procrastination (that is, putting off things you could and probably should be doing now) doesn’t just harm mental health. Research shows5 it can even affect physical health. Even at a low level, you know how frustrating it can be to reach the end of the day knowing you could have achieved so much, when you’ve actually done so little. The routine of heading into the office, not to mention the motivating effect of having people around you, can help you overcome those negative emotions.
Which office should you rent?
For all the benefits of renting an office, there remains the practical reality of paying for it. EC2 at Blackpool Unlimited has a range of offices and desk spaces to suit every business budget, so you can work from an office in a way that benefits you, your happiness and your business.
Choose a hotdesk when you want a hybrid work pattern that allows you to switch between home and office. Book meeting rooms that get you away from the home yet enable you to meet in a more appropriate space than the local Costa. Or choose an office for one, and then grow your space as your grow your business.
To explore the options, and to work happier, talk to us now.
1. The Atlantic
2. Microsoft report
3. Studies show
4. Other features note
5. Research shows