We have a natural tendency to prefer solutions that provide immediate gratification. We got so used to quickly adjusting to working from home that many of us forgot the shared office space's enriching experience. We forgot those initial days when we were fumbling in our make-shift home office spaces, struggling to maintain consistent communication with coworkers, and figuring out how to move everything online.
Now that offices are calling employees back to the office, it's time to remind ourselves of the good ol' days of yore. Spending time with coworkers benefits both the business and the individual, although these benefits come to light long-term.
Here are a few reasons why going back to the office employees can benefit your mental, physical, and professional health:
Interactions Promote Enthusiasm and Empathy
Humans are social creatures – we've all said this to ourselves at some point or heard our local philosopher friend say it. There's a lot of research to back this idea up. Returning to work will satisfy our intrinsic desire for social interaction. Moreover, when we engage with others, we get better at empathizing and caring for them. Social connections are necessary for our social brains to grow.
Information Spreads Faster
Business knowledge and experience have a tougher time spreading when everyone is in remote locations. But in office spaces, it's much easier to voice your opinions and share valuable information. We unknowingly share a lot of knowledge through brief, casual interactions at the office.
Most of our interactions happen through text when we're working from home. It is much harder and time-consuming to communicate basic work issues, let alone share casual insights and news. Because of this extra effort, people are less likely to ask quick questions or share information.
The physical workspace encourages spontaneity, and that does wonders for driving projects forward. You might run into a colleague and ask a question that leads to an unexpected answer to a problem you were sitting with all morning. Perhaps you and a few coworkers get together for a cup of coffee and come up with a new project or service idea. Alternatively, you may spot a colleague struggling with an assignment and offer them some time-saving advice.
Collaboration Fosters Growth
These little exchanges can have a huge positive impact on our own success as well as the company's performance. Working more efficiently is beneficial to the company because it increases staff productivity. Individuals also benefit from the freedom to collaborate.
Workplace friendships and coworkers boost job happiness. Collaboration also reduces work frustration by making it easier for employees to obtain help when they need it. It is much easier to learn new activities when there are people around to help you.
Instills a Collective Sense of Purpose
Another advantage of spending time at the workplace with coworkers is that it promotes the idea that you are all on the same team. The goal contagion theory talks about how you adopt other people's goals after observing their actions. Being in the company of others striving toward the same objective instills that goal in everyone.
People are more satisfied with their jobs when tied to the organization's mission. When you have confidence in the organization's goals, you realize that your work has a purpose, and it isn't just a mundane way to make money.
You'll Return to Healthy Daily Habits
The line between working and non-working hours is very thin when our work and personal lives share the same space. Working from home for extended periods can cause burnout, apathy, and even more serious symptoms of depression.
Engaging in various stimulating activities can be very beneficial for maintaining emotional stability and good mental health. This could be as simple as having a reason to get out of bed, getting ready for work, setting a daily schedule, and connecting with others. Resuming activities such as waking up in the morning, going to work in a different environment, and returning home at the end of each day are also good for physical health.
New-Found Respect for Work-Life Balance
Many of us remember being frustrated with extra work responsibilities and conflicts with family because we spent so much time cooped up in the same house. A lot of us also used our jobs as an unhealthy escape from our personal lives for far too long. Getting back to work will help you break out of this toxic routine and establish better boundaries for work and family.
Employers should also be more cognizant of the need for a healthy work-life balance and the importance of employee mental health. It is a better time than ever to get back into the swing of things at work, this time with a little more empathy and compassion.
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