The world is in flux. The COVID-19 pandemic creates new normality of social distancing and more flexible ways of working. With many people working remotely most of the time, it poses a question: are these changes going to last? And how this affects companies and people? Let’s find out.
Remote work is no silver bullet
Skipping the annoying one-hour commute and working in your pajamas? Gaining an extra hour in the morning to exercise and kickstarting the workday from the comfort of your sofa sounds like a dream come true. And perhaps it was. In the beginning.
As time passes, company leaders realize that remote-only might not be the best long-term solution as it’s not all positive for their teams’ well-being, mental health, and productivity.
A recent study conducted by the Martec Group surveyed 1,214 individuals across various industries, demographics, and seniority levels to check how working from home is impacting employees. The result? While a number of people feel good working from home, there was a significant decline in mental health across all industries, seniority levels, and demographics. In turn, this had a negative impact on job satisfaction and teams’ motivation.
“The biggest challenge I personally have when working from home is that it almost always feels like I'm working. The line between work and rest time is blurred and that is ultimately what affects my productivity the most, comments the Head of Marketing at Codeable and a Campus X member Tina Kesova.
"In the office, I have the perfect, distraction-free environment that enables me to do my best work and then when I'm done, I can go home and rest. At home that is not the case. I tend to overwork and then I feel tired and unproductive day after day,” she adds.
But why is that? The self-complexity psychological theory claims that individuals have multiple context-dependent social roles and relationships and this variety is healthy for us. When these aspects are reduced to our bedrooms, we are more susceptible to work-related stress and negative feelings.
As the associate professor at Insead Gianpiero Petriglieri, who studies sustainable development in the workspace told BBC:
“Imagine if you go to a bar, and in the same bar you talk with your professors, meet your parents and date someone, isn’t it weird? That’s what we’re doing now.”
On a final note, humans are social animals, who have socialized with each other for millions of years. We’re wired to crave interaction with other human beings. Our first-hand experience at Campus X confirms this. After surveying and conversing with our members on what was missed the most during the lockdown, people gave one and the same answer: the contact with like-minded professionals.
“To me, personal interactions are vital, especially because I am in Sales. One of the major challenges during the lockdown was the effective communication with the team.
I am very grateful that the Campus X team did their utmost to allow us back in the office so soon. Our internal policy at Payhawk is that everyone can decide for themselves and now with the comfort of the weekly PCR tests, our team has the opportunity to work in a safe office environment,” shares Andrey Bankovski, Director, Business Development at our member company Payhawk.
Business is a social activity
“The workplace is a social environment and business in any form is a social phenomenon,” as the Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford Robin Dunbar explains.
This view is also echoed by other researchers like the Stanford University doctoral researcher Priyanka Carr and Stanford associate psychology professor Gregory Walton who concluded that people working and running businesses together is the foundation of human culture, adding that “working with others affords enormous social and personal benefits for teams and individuals.”
For instance, face-to-face collaboration is key for creativity and innovation. According to recent research on the topic, the ability to meet and brainstorm has dropped by around 13% for people whose job relies on collaboration and who work predominantly from home. Similarly, the ability to have unplanned interactions has declined by 25%. Without the casual meeting around the coffee or water machine, people are lacking the work “flow” and the sense of belonging to a wider community outside of their teams.
At Campus X, we take pride in our powerful community of like-minded professionals, who share know-how, collaborate on various projects, and give life to innovative ideas together. While working from home may have its benefits, it can’t replicate the immense energy of a tight-knit community like the one at Campus X, which has a positive impact on personal well-being, productivity, as well as businesses’ innovation and success. As Maya Zlatanova, CEO of our member company FindMeCure puts it:
“It’s great to be surrounded by other great companies and to be able to exchange ideas and support each other. Having other founders and mentors with an experience that you can reach out to is invaluable.”
The office improves company culture
Culture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something you cultivate with time, helping you stand out as an organization and an employer of choice. Attracting and retaining great talent is largely dependent on your brand recognition and culture or your company’s shared values, beliefs, and the way you connect with your teams.
There’s just one problem – it’s hard to do it remotely. Whether it’s about the onboarding of new hires, mentoring junior employees, or sustaining the loyalty of seniors, companies find it difficult to create a sense of identification with the team and brand from a distance.
Spontaneous small talk and cross-team collaboration at the companies’ offices and relax zones make employees feel part of a larger community and relate to the organizations’ key values and messages. Going a step further, coworking ecosystems like Campus X enable cross-company collaboration, where a carefully selected community of great companies and professionals exchange ideas and know-how and give life to innovative ideas, which drive their businesses forward. The synergy between companies and individual professionals is usually born onsite at their shared workspaces. Commenting on why being part of Campus X is beneficial to them, our members Gtmhub (now Quantive) share:
“Joining the vibrant community of Campus X opened a door to many new opportunities and successful collaborations for Gtmhub. It's no secret that some of the most inspiring and promising companies are building their products and services at Campus X. We just knew that we should join too.”
Last but not least, some employees fear that the remote-only work model might have a negative impact on their career development. Some of the reasons include the fact that knowledge sharing and mentoring are harder from a distance and their direct leaders won’t have the necessary oversight over the individual contributions they make to their teams.
Finding what works best for you
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for both businesses and employees. Staying flexible, as well as testing and trying different solutions is crucial for success in such uncertain times.
Perhaps, your team needs a few days per week of in-person collaboration, which boosts creativity and innovation in a safe office environment? Or there are employees who feel unproductive and isolated while working from home? Explore different options and see what works best for your people and business.
Need a trustworthy partner on the way to success? Benefit from Campus X’s safe and ready-to-move-in offices, leading services, and amazing community. Tailor-made plans with maximum flexibility and no hidden fees. Learn more.