Singing the Praises of In-Person Work: The Many Benefits of Working From an Office

While remote work certainly has its advantages, working in person with colleagues and supervisors offers distinct advantages to you and your team, especially for new employees or for junior members of your team.

Working from an office provides staff members with hands-on opportunities for mentorship and allows employees to form positive working relationships with managers and senior team members.

Communication is also much richer and more effective when working in an office compared to communicating via email or via a video conference. A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that face-to-face meetings are 34 times more successful than emails.

Working from an office also helps to combat loneliness, foster human connection, enhance professional growth, encourage creative and collaborative work, and even increase the chances of a healthy work-life balance.

Benefits of Working From an Office: Employee Development and Growth

Younger or junior employees often find it easier to learn the specific skills required by a new job when they’re trained in an office environment versus remote training and onboarding.

When working in an office, younger employees can easily ask questions and be trained in a hands-on manner and it’s even easier for them to collaborate on team projects and be mentored by senior staff members.

Working from an office also helps new and junior team members learn and become a part of your company’s culture.

“When you’re starting your career, being able to be face-to-face and with those around you allows you to pick up on social norms and company norms faster,” said Christine Cruzvergara, chief education strategy officer at Handshake, a website designed to help recent college grads find work. “And so when you’re learning, and you’re ideally hopefully getting lots of feedback as well, being in person allows you to build some of those really core and key relationships that can help you advance within your organizations.”

New team members can better learn on the job skills when they work from an office by listening in on phone calls, learning from your top performing staff members, and asking questions as they arise organically.

You can harness the benefits of working from an office with your experienced team members as well. It’s much easier to network with other employees, get face time with managers, and obtain answers to questions when working in an office than it is when working remotely.

Teamwork and Collaboration

One of the greatest benefits of working from an office is the increased potential for teamwork and collaboration.

When employees are present in the same physical space together, they typically find it much easier to share feedback with one another, brainstorm new ideas, and collaborate on projects together.

It’s also a much lighter lift to stay engaged and connected with coworkers and supervisors when you’re working from an office. Distractions such as bad internet connections, loud pets and children, and accidentally muted mics that are common pitfalls of remote work aren’t an issue with in-person collaboration.

Face-to-face group work is more conducive to the organic exchange of ideas and can even allow for team members to form in-person collaboration strategies such as gathering around a whiteboard and sharing ideas easily and quickly.

In-person collaboration is also critical when complex problems need to be solved.

For example, if you have a problem with a product, team members can meet in a shared workspace to troubleshoot issues and develop fixes much more quickly than is possible when working remotely.

Working from an office creates opportunities for more informal collaboration and problem-solving, too. Spontaneous conversations between staff members over a cup of coffee during a break or a chat over lunch may lead to innovative ideas and solutions.

“Hallway conversations and pre- and post-meeting chats happen naturally when in person,” explains Jim Kalbach, Chief Evangelist for Mural. “It’s not uncommon for people going in and out of meeting rooms to talk about the topic at hand. Sometimes, decisions are even made during those unofficial conversations. In those cases, remote coworkers get left in the dark or miss out on opportunities for connection.”

Friendship, Social Interaction, and Community

Humans are inherently social creatures who rely on cooperation and relationships not only to feel fulfilled but to thrive. Multiple studies across numerous academic disciplines find that social connections foster greater happiness and a healthier body and mind.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most impactful benefits of working from an office is the sense of community, connection, and happiness that it creates for team members.

Happiness expert Annie McKee, the author of How To Be Happy At Work, writes, “One of the ways we can make ourselves happy and feel more fulfilled in our workplaces is to build friendships with the people that work with us, work for us, and even with our boss.”

Loneliness, on the other hand, can impact all aspects of our lives, including productivity and general happiness at work. A 2022 global survey found that 94% of managers reported their team members are feeling greater loneliness from remote work. 

Working in person from an office with other people gives us the opportunity to form higher quality relationships and even helps us to activate additional parts of our brains and neural networks.

A Yale University study published last month found that in-person discussions cause heightened activity in the brain while online exchanges via Zoom don’t activate our neural circuitry in the same ways.

“In this study we find that the social systems of the human brain are more active during real live in-person encounters than on Zoom,” says Joy Hirsch, the senior author of the Yale University study. “Zoom appears to be an impoverished social communication system relative to in-person conditions.” 

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