The Office Dilemma: Part Two of Three
Goals and Collaboration
Effective companies know that to deliver results, they must ensure people have a shared purpose and aligned goals to work towards as a team. The office provides this space to collaborate and work towards these common goals. To experience team collaboration a physical office is needed to foster a sense of togetherness. Morale is the glue that keeps the magic of collaboration alive. But with remote work, companies are reporting a higher struggle with maintaining morale than they used to. People naturally come together to inspire each other and to build a sense of community. Whether that’s to celebrate, mourn, learn or to provide for each other. This lowered morale and loss of community is causing people to lose track of their goals, resulting in a decline in collaboration.
Goals & Variety
Being together in an office can remind people that they’re unified and a part of something bigger than themselves. The office nurtures a sense of community. Walking in with other employees, running into a colleague at lunch or just waiting for the elevator with someone. These are connections that just aren’t possible through online means.
Ensuring a collaborative space gear towards sharing and goal setting also leads to the variety of spaces workplaces can offer employees. While many employees appreciate the benefits of remote work, where they can shop, eat, exercise, socialise and work all in one place. It’s missing the connectivity and team spirit that a workplace provides. Working from home is known to be harder for employees to switch off when they finish work, as they are in the same surroundings as they were when working. This makes it harder for the brain to differentiate when it should be working and when it should be relaxing. The variety that comes with working in an office and enjoying a change of scenery in their downtime is very important. Browsing stores, enjoying restaurants, going to the gym, gathering with friends and also going to the workplace creates variety. Brains get bored easily, so diversity in our surroundings is fundamental to us, stimulating the different social needs we all have.
Movement & Collaboration
The office helps us feel better and move around rather than working and living in the same space. Whether that’s moving between conference rooms, across buildings or shifting around at our desks. This is something the office has over home offices – the benefits to your physical health. The movement has also been connected to better memory and learning processing. Having somewhere to go, giving a sense of purpose and reducing time disorientation, is another mental benefit that people have reported. Physical offices have landmarks that can trigger memory receptors, the conversation you had in the lobby or the meeting room is more memorable because of physical reminders.
The office also provides communication opportunities and energy that can be absorbed by the employees. There is a rush that comes with a shared experience, whether it’s a small meeting or a town hall gathering. Having so many people in one place, sharing laughter, applause or focus – this exchanging of information and communication is important to keep morale high.
Information can be shared anywhere and everywhere now thanks to social media and online platforms. However, these are only a temporary fix compared to being there with people, as is noted by many around learning by osmosis. Coming together virtually doesn’t have the same effect as physically, people can vary from engaged to distracted or having technical difficulties. The sociological concept known as the bandwagon effect (when a group is swept up in a concept) can be helpful to the enthusiasm and engagement when hearing a message as a group.
This need for collaboration with shared goals to keep people engaged and motivated is as old as time. Being in an office is a different experience in terms of collaboration and energy that is experienced by the collective. You can feed off of other peoples high energy and stabilise the collective motivation to a higher standard, working towards common goals together.
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