Since the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, the staff at Marketing Systems Group has been working from home. Since the Summer of 2022, that’s changed. We are back to the office on a hybrid work schedule. We learned a lot in the past two years about productivity including work/life balance, and we’re taking those lessons back to the office with us.
We’re not alone in this migration back to the office, at least on a part-time basis. A June 2022 report from JLL Work Dynamics called The Workforce Preferences Barometer indicates that a majority of workers (55%) have gone hybrid. What’s also true is that the days of exclusively working from home have pretty much ceased. 73% of office workers work at least once a week at the office. Another trend on the upswing is the increasing flexibility of hybrid work. It no longer means working either at home or at the office. More workers are collaborating in third locations and satellite offices. For some, it’s the local coffee shop or hotel lounge. For others, it’s a convenient co-working facility.
What Have We Learned Working From Home?
Productivity did not suffer at all. In fact, many of us are getting more done at home, because we don’t lose chunks of the day sitting in a car commuting back and forth to the office. While the convenience and productivity of working at home have been huge pluses for us, there have also been downsides.
We have found that mentoring, training, collaborating, and social bonding have markedly suffered. MSG is a small company that has always cultivated a family-like atmosphere. Many of us have been here for many years. As some employees move into retirement and as we bring new and younger hires into the fold, we want to make sure we don’t lose the tight bonds that have kept us working as a team.
There’s just no substitute for being in the same place together. JLL’s research confirms this. 25% of employees feel isolated, 50% miss social interactions when working from home, and 44% miss the common understanding and bonding that stems from being together in the workplace.
To that end, we’re seeking ways to balance the best of both worlds: flexible work-from-home schedules and making the most of face-to-face time. The return to the office is not without challenges as reported in Vox.com, but for small companies that rely so much on social bonding, we think the value of being together, in the same space, at the same time, some of the time, is worth holding onto.