The novelty of remote working has worn off, and the many negative long-term effects of remote working are becoming more apparent as many workers long for a return to the office.
The Productivity Peak
There has been a vast amount of conflicting findings about the productivity, or lack thereof, of working from home. However, what studies seem to now be suggesting is that whilst productivity was at an all-time high at the start of lockdown, this has now diminished as we enter the second year of remote working. Experts point to a ‘panic productivity’ to suggest that the adrenaline associated with the initiative shift to remote working led to a peak in workforce productivity. Part of this was due to the unstable working landscape with workers striving to seem indispensable. As the pandemic has continued, this productivity has gradually dwindled as workers are more fed up and tired.
Lack of Innovation and Creativity
There is a reason that companies put so much effort and thought into their office space. The best office space can facilitate an enviable team dynamic and cultivate a creative and innovative workspace. However, with long-term virtual work, this innovation is far more challenging to find. For those working from home, they are constantly in the same surroundings with blurred lines between home and office. This means that they are rarely able to look at something with fresh eyes. Additionally, the office gives rise to many discussions and collaborations which can play a key role in innovation and creativity.
Burn-Out and Long-Term Health
The novelty of the coronavirus pandemic onset spurred many to enter ‘coping mode’. This meant that many put their heads down and just got on with their lives as they adapted to the “new normal”. Yet, as we enter a second year in our homes, many are feeling tired of coping. The drudgery of remote working has taken its toll and workers are feeling demotivated, restless and uninspired. Without a change of scenery or physical interaction with colleagues, many employees are finding work difficult. On a mental health level, this can lead to many feeling fatigued, stressed or anxious.
Alignment with Company Values
An office space is a physical representation of a company’s brand with employers often taking great care to think about the type of environment they want their office space to foster. Without being physically present in the office and with no human interaction, it is often far more difficult to transmit these company values. This means that employees may feel disconnected from the company and its brand making them feel less invested in the company and less motivated in their work.