back to the office

More than 60 per cent of Americans have said that they’d prefer to continue working remotely, according to the New York Times. It’s easy to see why: with reduced commuting costs, escape from irritating coworkers, and more control over your day, working from home has plenty of benefits. 

However, not all work from home situations are created equal. Some Americans prefer to be in the office, citing the camaraderie between coworkers and increased productivity. In a recent survey conducted by Axios, 42 per cent of Americans surveyed between the ages of 18-24 would prefer to go back to the office, and 32 per cent of those over 55 agree.

While the decision to return to the office is personal, there are certainly things to consider as you weigh up your options.  

Why should I return to the office?
Flirting with the idea of heading back to work? If any of the below sound like you, it might be time to get back to the office.  

  • Most offices are cleaner than ever.
    A recent survey from SERVPRO found that 83 per cent of businesses are investing more to clean their office spaces, and 63 per cent of those businesses are cleaning several times per day. Definitely speak to your employer about the safety measures that your company is taking in terms of social distancing and mask-wearing but know that most businesses take sanitization very seriously.  
  • You don’t have a ‘real’ home office.
    Have you been working from the couch since March? Lack of a real ‘home office’ is certainly a reason to head back to the office. A 2019 survey from the Harvard Business Review found that employees who are happy with their work environments are “16 per cent more productive, 18 per cent more likely to stay, and 30 per cent more attracted to their company over competitors.”
  • Collaboration is key to productivity.
    A recent study from the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that “collaborative work is five times more likely to result in higher performance.” If you’re feeling sluggish in your work and the Zoom calls just aren’t cutting it anymore, it might be time to head back into the office.  

Why shouldn’t I return to the office? 

Whether or not we should even be returning to the office is hotly contested. According to a recent Forbes article, some of the world’s biggest companies are letting their employees work from home indefinitely, while others are making plans to bring employees back on a phased basis this autumn. Why shouldn’t you return to the office? We’ve outlined the biggest red flags below:

  • Your company hasn’t let you know what safety precautions they’ve decided to take.
    For the experts at the World Economic Forum, not knowing what precautions your company has decided to take in the wake of the coronavirus should be a huge red flag in your return to the office. In the article, Paul Scialla, International Well Being Institute founder discusses the issues surrounding the return to the workplace. Scialla says: “The science of keeping a building healthy is not universal; the kinds of safeguards required will depend on a building’s type, its location, age, the way it’s used, and more. There is no checklist to bring to your employer.” However, he encourages employees to be curious and to ask questions about protocols, air circulation, disinfectants, and the cleaning schedule. 
  • You’re worried about the risks.
    Those worries about COVID-19 aren’t just in your head. According to a recent survey by mental healthcare provider Ginger, nearly seven of every ten employees consider the coronavirus pandemic the most stressful time of their professional career. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Managed Care, found that 88 per cent of respondents reported moderate to extreme stress since the pandemic began, with 62 per cent losing up to an hour a day and 32 per cent losing up to two hours a day due to COVID-19 related stress. Stress can have a profoundly negative affect on your life, so if you’re worried about contracting this disease, going back to the office may not be a great idea. 

No matter your decision, weighing up the options and having all of the relevant information at hand will be crucial as you map out your work schedule. 

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