Back to the office?
A blog post written by the University of Wolverhampton Business School's Associate Director Sarah Williams on returning back to the office after working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
As we emerge from our third, and hopefully final, lockdown, I cannot wait to get back to office. While this view will not necessarily be shared by everyone, for me being in the office has a number of clear benefits over home working.
Working from home or living at work?
Working from home very quickly began to feel like living at work and work-life balance has often felt elusive during the lockdowns. Back-to-back Teams meetings leave little time to step away from the home office during the day so there is little chance to process anything or start to work on anything until after the working day. The productivity happens after that; writing reports or actually actioning the items that are given to you in meetings, gets done after the working day. Conversely being in the office provides natural breaks and space for thinking time, if only on the walks between meetings.
The joy of commuting
I miss the commute. I live close to campus and used to walk to and from work. Not only did this provide opportunities for exercise and fresh air every day, but it also enabled me to listen to audiobooks, put on a podcast or just process the day’s events. I underestimated the importance of commuting in providing a buffer between work and home life.
Working from home can be isolating and being in the office also has social advantages, especially when you work in higher education. I miss the buzz of being on campus, the corridor conversations, the quick coffees in the Forum that spark ideas ... you simply can't recreate those chance encounters when you are working from home. Conferences, research papers, new course collaborations, student events – opportunities for interesting research and collaborations, all can emerge from chance encounters with colleagues on campus.
The future of work
While there are undoubtedly benefits to working from home (longer lie-ins, wearing slippers to work, office cats, to name but a few!), the pull of being in the office, alongside colleagues and students, enjoying the dynamic atmosphere of campus is too strong to ignore.
That said, the world of work has changed and the need for flexibility is likely to be here for good. Some traditional organisations, such as Nationwide Building Society, have already announced permanent working from home after an internal survey revealed that over half of its employees wanted it, but for me I think a blend of home and office will offer the best of both worlds and enable collegiality and collaboration, as well as unfettered concentration and slippers!
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.