Pre-pandemic, everyone was heading to work, and now it’s common to see people working remotely or doing hybrid work.
This new normal begs the question, should we continue to work at the office?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the pros and cons of working in an office, how to make the most out of your office space, and alternative workplaces to consider.
What are the pros and cons of working at the office?
1. You can network and collaborate with coworkers in person
One of the most significant benefits of working in the office is interacting with people.
You can collaborate, solve problems, exchange information, and develop professional social skills in person easier than when you’re working online.
It’s also more natural to foster and create connections face-to-face.
2. You’ll have access to office resources and equipment
You may not have the space in your home office for all of the work-related equipment you need to perform your job.
An office already has the supplies you need to work productively and efficiently, which can be a huge benefit to working away from home.
The most common office resources include the following:
- Filing cabinets
- Snacks and drinks
- Reliable wifi
- Quiet atmosphere
Not only will you have everything you need, but the company’s computers and laptops will also have pre-installed applications and software for your job.
3. You can develop a healthy work-life balance
In 2021, 66% of full-time U.S. employees lacked a work-life balance and felt less productive and motivated as a result.
By going into the office, you can easily separate your personal and work life.
You’ll have a designated time to work during the day, and after hours, you can focus solely on yourself or your family.
Remote and hybrid work intertwines work and personal life, resulting in longer work hours.
Not having a proper work-life balance can be a detriment to both your physical and mental health, so it’s important to establish clear boundaries.
1. Working in the office can be boring
A routine of waking up, going to work, coming home, eating, sleeping, and repeating can make life mundane.
Life can get boring at the office, which makes remote work more appealing to some employees.
2. You may be more productive working remotely
Recent studies have shown that remote workers are often more productive at home than they are at the office.
There is greater flexibility and fewer sick days when employees are allowed to work in a more convenient and comfortable environment.
Working from home also seems to make employees much happier than those who travel to work in an office.
That said, people are individuals, so where you’re more productive falls down to your personal needs and wants.
3. The office may increase stress and anxiety
Coming in and working at the office is time-consuming and can sometimes lead to stress.
From commuting to work and ending up in traffic to trying to ensure you’ve dressed appropriately for the workplace, the pressure can build when working in the office.
Introverted employees may also feel more pressure to perform when they are around supervisors and coworkers rather than in a relaxed remote environment.
Almost half of the surveyed in-office employees believe their work contribution is not recognized more than employees that work from home.
All of these factors and more can result in stress at work, decreasing your overall productivity and mood.
How do you create a more enjoyable workspace?
Below are some ways to make your office space or home office more enjoyable.
1. Have comfortable office furniture
If you sit at your desk most of the day, invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair.
A good chair will reduce strain on the neck, shoulders, wrists, and back caused by sitting with bad posture.
Standing desks are also becoming popularized in the workplace and can provide health benefits such as helping blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of body pain.
When you—or the company you work for—invest in comfortable, supportive office furniture, you’ll be able to focus on work and not the nagging pain in your back.
2. Decorate your office space
Working in a gray, bland office space can be depressing and affect your work and mental health.
On the other hand, working in a cluttered office can also lead to feelings of frustration and discontentment.
To make your work experience positive, it’s a good idea to enhance the look of your work area.
Having a few plants is a great way to decorate your office on a budget, and many studies show that a biophilic design can improve mood and increase work productivity.
If you work at home and have the time and the budget, try repainting your office space with a more fun color.
Color invokes different emotions, according to color theory and psychology.
You can also rearrange your office for a refreshing new start.
The video below covers more ideas to transform your office space:
3. Set the office at an appropriate temperature
If the office space you’re working in is too hot or too cold, you won’t be able to focus on the task at hand.
It’s recommended that the temperature in your office fall between 70-72°F or 21-22°C
4. Inquire about a more relaxed dress code
In the business world, it’s normal to dress professionally to make a good impression or follow the dress code.
However, a survey found that 61% of the participants felt more productive when the dress code relaxed.
With a more relaxed dress code, employees feel more comfortable and are less pressured to dress to impress.
5. Let the sunlight in
Having natural light in the office is beneficial in more ways than one.
Not only do employees get some vitamin D, but the sun also reduces eye strain, headaches, and drowsiness.
Having sunlight streaming throughout the office also increases serotonin neurotransmission, which regulates happiness.
What are alternatives to working in the office?
Almost 75% of U.S. companies are offering hybrid work.
This working model offers more autonomy for your tasks, but it also requires employees to visit the office once or twice a week.
Below are a couple of places to work remotely:
1. Work from home
This option is the most popular among hybrid workers because it allows them to work from the comfort of their own homes.
When working from home, it’s important to have a dedicated office space for increased focus and productivity.
Benefits aside, working from home can also be isolating. You won’t have the same social elements that exist in an office setting.
Working from home can also make it difficult to separate home and work life.
2. Work in a coworking space
If you don’t want to work in the office but still want to work away from home, coworking spaces can be an excellent alternative.
These spaces are designed for employees to work on projects and assignments in an environment where they can focus and collaborate.
Coworking spaces offer amenities like wifi, printing services, and comfortable furniture.
If you’re currently working from your home office, a coworking space gets you out of your house, and you can separate your home and work life more easily.
No matter where you work, the goal should be to create a workspace that allows you to focus and manage time efficiently.
Invest in office supplies, furniture, and decorations that will make your workspace comfortable so you can get more done with less stress.
See also: Working Remotely in Another Country: Tips, Tools, and FAQs
Frequently asked questions
For an employee to work remotely, companies should ensure that they have stable internet.
Employers can also provide a work laptop with all of the necessary software and applications to make the transition from office to remote work seamless.
Working in an office is worth it for some people and can provide a healthy work-life balance, help develop skills such as communication and teamwork, and give employees a greater sense of purpose in the workforce.
While working at home, you may find yourself more easily distracted than when you’re in the office.
Office spaces provide a designated place to work on your projects without unrelated interruptions.
That said, the opposite can also be true. Depending on your home life, working from home may actually increase your productivity.
Working in an office gives employees the chance to mingle with coworkers, use work-related equipment such as scanners and paper filing systems, and have a workspace outside of their homes so they can focus on family after hours.
Working at the office has its pros and cons.
Take the time to consider your situation, and talk with your supervisor to weigh your options.
Tammy Dang is a staff writer for Shoeboxed covering productivity, organization, and digitization how-to guides for the home and office. Her favorite organization tip is “1-in-1-out.” And her favorite app for managing articles and deadlines is Monday.com.
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