In the wake of a global pandemic that has been traumatic and stressful, it’s hard to imagine what the office will look like in a post-COVID world. The transition to working from home has polarising views, and people are either dreading or eagerly anticipating a return to the office. While some workers are demanding to be back eight hours a day, five days a week, others are demanding more flexibility now that they know remote working can be done.
While the office-purists and remote-lovers hold polarising views, their preferences are rooted in similar reasons. Some find working in an office makes them more productive, while others find the solace of their own home more beneficial. Some prefer socialising with colleagues, while others just don’t. And a large reason, perhaps the biggest, is mental health.
Catching a break
For the more introverted amongst us, it’s easy to see why working from home is such a hoot. Internal communications got stripped down to its bare bones and socialising went out of the window. Water cooler breaks got replaced with catching up on chores like laundry and no longer did you have to endure your colleagues’ updates about their children/pets/houseplants.
This isn’t to say that it’s been all plain sailing. Introverted people are just as able to feel lonely and isolated as extroverts if they feel disconnected and alienated, and can actually benefit from mingling with colleagues and working on location, at least to a certain degree. But despite this, the return to the office is creating a significant amount of anxiety for those who’ve grown accustomed to the shift.
The flip side
For the more extroverted amongst us, working from home has been an annoyance at best and mentally taxing at worst. Extroverts thrive on socialising, love nailing every meeting, and relish face-to-face conversations. With that taken out of the work-life equation, they can find themselves isolated, unengaged, and lacking in productivity. The combined toll of losing interest in work and feeling alone can have detrimental impacts on their mental health. As such, a large portion is looking forward to returning to the office.
Where to next?
As we move towards a more open, post-COVID world, it’s important for employers to maintain their employees’ wellbeing and safety in all aspects. That includes mental health and wellbeing surrounding returning to the office too. But if a workforce has such wildly different needs as we’ve seen above, how do you accommodate them all?
Truth is, you can never get it perfect but you can get pretty close with hybrid working. It’s a blend of working from the office, from home, and from a different location – the third workplace. The third workplace allows employees to switch it up from time to time, choosing where they’d like to go that suits them – either a bustling coworking location or a quiet cafe tucked away in a museum.
For hybrid working, we recommend a 2-2-1 approach. That’s two days in the office, two at home, and one at a third location. But really, employees can mix it up however they feel. This relaxed approach allows for employees to find a rhythm and routine that suits their needs, whilst maintaining a strong degree of productivity and creativity.
Want to find out more about how your business can introduce hybrid working? Head over to our website to learn more about us and how we can help.