As we transition back into a "new normal," it can be difficult to see the benefits of being back in-person. After adjusting to an exclusively remote work life following the pandemic, people can find it daunting to return to the office and in-person events. Pairing sweatpants with a business professional button up or blouse for a ZOOM meeting feels…weirdly right? Well, maybe not right but definitely comfortable.
From flexibility in schedules and fitting in that morning workout, to spending more time with family and having home-made meals more often, remote work has its perks.
But, there is much to be said for the power of being back in-person. There are many benefits for both employees and employers for being back in the office, especially the sense of community and social connection we experience. The collaboration and connectedness we achieve when working with our colleagues face-to-face (at least part of the time) is just as important as it was four years ago.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND NETWORKING
No matter where their employees are working from, great organizations hold them and their work to the same standards and value them the same. But since we are human after all, it can be easier to focus on what is in front of us. Being in person increases your visibility in your organization, and gives you the opportunity to foster meaningful connections with the people you work with. Making a good first impression will be more impactful in a face-to-face situation, rather than continuing to wait to put a face to a name.
In one study, 87% of employees believe being in the office is necessary for fostering relationships and making new connections. If you are seeking a promotion, the importance of being in person is even higher - you need that face time with your boss! Growing your network never stops being important, no matter your title or time in the industry. Whether you are seeking help, or holding the golden ticket for someone else, making those connections in person and virtually can help nudge your career in the right direction.
Having the opportunity to socialize with your team can increase the overall morale and mood in the office, which can then boost the contributions you make as well. When physically present with your team and other members of your company, you are able to become more familiar with one another. By being more familiar, the sense of comfort and trust is built as well. You can better understand what drives the members of your team, how they function at the office, and what they are experiencing in their personal lives. This can help to streamline projects, grow skills, and enhance the dynamics within your team in a positive way.
Being in person can also increase the overall performance levels in your work. This is due to human's inane need to communicate and socialize. The need for human connection doesn’t have a time frame, and it definitely doesn’t stop once you enter the workforce. In certain industries or occupations, like graphic design or digital marketing, there is a lower demand for in-person working conditions since this kind of work can be done in a remote setting. Regardless of the industry though, working and connecting with colleagues and peers in-person can raise performance levels by effectively collaborating, brainstorming, discussing, and sharing ideas as they come.
In-person, you are also able to learn and teach those around you more efficiently. By building relationships, elevating your career opportunities, and collaborating more, you will constantly learn new things. This sense of gaining knowledge and sharing experience can add to the fulfillment you gain from your job. Feeling supported while also challenged is one of the greater feelings that come out of a job.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Research shows that without proper time amongst other people, our well-being declines. There is a release of the chemical oxytocin, or the “feel-good” chemical in our brains when we are face-to-face with others.
Some argue that working from home is helpful for people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, and it is true there are benefits to working remotely or in a hybrid situation. (having the freedom and flexibility in one's schedule etc.)
However, the need for social
interaction and connection has and will always stand true. It can make your work more fulfilling, by connecting and bonding with your team more consistently with the element of being physically present.
Some research shows that during the pandemic, the personal and professional networks of people declined by around 16%. As we continue to grow into the "new normal" both as individuals and as organizations, there is something significant in the opportunities we have for being in-person. Remember when we didn’t know if things would ever go back to normal? Attending events with peers, growing your network outside of your computer screen, and immersing yourself back into the world, are important for both careers and companies. In person, you can enhance and improve your company culture, increase employee engagement, and expand your career opportunities. Its worth considering.