There have been many big battles over the years – Ali v Frazier, Thatcher v The Unions, Road Runner v Wile. E. Coyote. To that list, we can now add something new – Office v Home. Six months ago, it was a one-sided contest. Office won every time. It was the flame to which all hard-working moths were drawn. But that all changed six months ago with the pandemic, save the NHS and social distancing. Overnight we became a nation of stay-at-homes.
But now it could be time for another change. The Government is urging us once again to get back to the office and gather round the water-cooler to talk P&L and discuss R numbers. So what’s a business owner to do? It seems we’ve fallen in love with home desking. In the UK only 34% of employees have gone back the office, compared to an average of 68% across Europe.
Well, to help you make your mind up we’ve put together some of the arguments for home versus office.
The benefits of working from home.
- You’re never more than ten yards from your office (now there really is no excuse for being late for that meeting).
- You can say goodbye to traffic and trains (and the cost of being in traffic and on trains).
- You work just as hard and as long as you would in an office (and longer if some reports are to be believed).
- No more office politics (replaced perhaps by home politics).
- You don’t have to wear a mask (but you do have to wear that Zoom face, the one that says – I’m really interested in this when you’re really not).
- You no longer have to live near a train station or motorway (that lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides could be all yours).
- You can pop out for some fresh air (as opposed to the city where you can pop out for some diesel fumes).
- It’s cheaper (that very nice, glass box you rent in the city is very pricey for a glass box).
- No danger of getting anything nasty (apart from going goggle-eyed after all those online meetings).
The benefits of working from your office.
- You can use your commute to prepare for the day ahead (delays due to leaves on the line can give you that valuable thinking time you’ve been looking for).
- You can get to sense what clients and colleagues really think (can you really sense how a meeting’s gone by scrutinising twenty small faces on a screen?)
- You can have a working lunch (and keep a sandwich shop from going under).
- You can enjoy the camaraderie of your colleagues (you never really get home banter)
- You can meet people who don’t work for your business (and maybe hire them one day).
- You can find out what’s really going on in your company (talking the temperature is not just good for your health, it’s good for your business).
- You can have a laugh (and leave that po-face for Zoom calls).
- It’s good for younger employees (having spent months in lockdown, younger people are desperate to meet other younger people. This won’t happen online).
- No interruptions (no washing machines that need emptying, no demands to walk the dog, no endless deliveries at the front door).
- You’re more of a team than on Teams (having everyone in one place is unifying, inspiring and builds cohesion).
You may already have made your mind up which way your company is going. But whether you renew your season ticket or say a sad farewell to the property landlord who’s been taking half your profits, it’s worth asking is this the best way forward? What may work perfectly for you, may be terrible for some of your staff, or customers. Just as many have enjoyed the delights of home-working, can you also also rediscover the joys of office life? The Office v Home debate. It’s not going to be settled any time soon. But whichever path you take, we wish you all the very best.