Working From Home – With many people now working from home since Covid-19, after getting the taste for it, some are asking the question: is it a good idea?
Despite the lure and sense of freedom one may get, there are issues around working from home that many may not have thought about.
For example, as the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has recently said that he believes that working from home, especially for young people learning their trade and starting out in networking, it may cause more harm than good to their long-term prospects. Indeed, he doesn’t believe that he would have excelled to the level that he has had he been working from home.
“I doubt I would have had those solid relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom.”
“That’s why I think for young people in specific, being able to physically be in an office is valuable,” he added.
Indeed, Sunak may have a point. Face-to-face meetings, whether with colleagues or clients, are an invaluable part of business and learning, let alone interpersonal relationships. After all, work life is not just about, well, work. As no doubt many of the readers will know, work life is also about building personal relationships and meeting new friends. It’s just human nature.
I know from experience that the people we work with, and the relationships we build, face-to-face, is an important and enjoyable part or working life. Physical human contact makes the work life much more interesting and, it would seem, much more productive. Of course, we all experience distractions in the workplace, like catching up with the chat in the canteen, but the distractions at home can be much harder to overcome.
Then there’s the mindset. There will inevitably be a difference in mindset from either sitting in from of the computer, dressed casually, and at home, compared to be suited-up and feeling and looking the part. Indeed, research has now lent credence to familiar sayings are like “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” and “look good, feel good”. The research demonstrates that the clothes we all wear have a big impact on our confidence, attitude, personality behaviour, even on the way we interact with others. This is sometimes called “enclothed cognition.”
The results of a study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science are worth taking note of, especially if you are planning to work more from home and in a more casual setting. Importantly, it showed that dressing in formal clothing – which is much more likely to happen in the workplace setting results in a much-improved ability to think abstractly.
In other words, our environment matters, and the environment extends to the workspace and cloths we wear.
Sunak also spoke of the lasting relationships and mentoring he had from being present in the office space, “The mentors that I found when I first started my job, I still talk to, and they’ve been helpful to me all through my career even after we’ve gone in different ways.”
What we are likely to see, however, is a mixed approach, a balance between going into the office and working from home. There is no doubt that technology has now a larger role to play in working life, which has been greatly magnified by the pandemic.
Commenting on this, Jamie Johnson, CEO at Property Investment firm FJP Investment said “We are definitely in a new era which was inevitable anyway. The pandemic simply accelerated the adoption and overall, it has been a very seamless transition. Still, you can’t beat the power of a human eye to eye, face to face meet”.