Jingle All the Way to Reality:Debunking the Myths About In-Person Work

The tides have turned, and, as per usual, the grass is suddenly looking a little greener on the other side.

In 2020, most employees would’ve (and did) jumped at the chance to work from home. And now, they seemingly jump to work from the office – or are they?

Employees in 2023 aren’t demanding one thing or another but are actually advocating for FLEXIBILITY in the workplace … because, ultimately, what they want is to have both.

And they mean it.

What Do Employees and Employers Really Want?

In response to the Great Resignation, workers and employees are now facing the Great Reshuffle, a time when employees are putting organizations under the pump to deliver on engagement, well-being, and flexibility initiatives … or bust. Employees are taking charge of what work-life balance means;

And what it means is that they want to be in the office, and they ALSO want to be at home. This is great for employers who are desperate to rebound the low levels of employee engagement and foster in-person connections and togetherness.

Don’t believe us?

Here are the Top 5 Untruths About WFH Culture + the Fear of In-Person Work… and it’s a doozy:

1. Employees Want to Work from Home 100% of the Time:

First, studies by Eden show that people are looking for flexibility around when and how they work. It is noted that many prefer to have the flexibility to work from home sometimes at their discretion, and they’d like to be in the office some of the time at their discretion.

Contrary to popular belief, the same study showed that 34% of people would PREFER to work full-time in the office. In fact, tech workers reported that they miss the comradery if they’re not in the office (44%), don’t communicate as well with their team (35%), and miss the opportunities for on-the-spot mentorship (26%).

2. There Are No Major Benefits to In-Person Work

According to recent surveys by Harvard Business Review, nearly two-thirds of all employees want at least some (if not all) in-person work opportunities to connect and collaborate with the teams.

People know now that connection and tangible community are key players in feeling healthy, balanced, and positive about your work and life. Studies show that your mental health and career advancement opportunities are intrinsically linked with meaningful relationships, including mentors, leaders, and colleagues. It also showed that people value being part of a caring culture, which is much more powerful when we are physically connected to others. Genuine feelings of warmth, empathy, and care are greatly enhanced in person.

3. WFH + Face-to-Face Produce the Same Results

New research by Fisherman’s Friend and famous British anthropologist Robin Dunbar looked at the relationship between in-person work and success in the workplace, which included feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction. What they found was that employees who felt like they had friends at work made work feel significantly more meaningful, which ultimately created better job satisfaction, retention, and overall mental health.

Another study by MIT looked at the relationship between in-person work and its subsequent knowledge flow. This study showed that people who had increased in-person interactions with colleagues produced ‘more effective work outcomes. The focus group in Silicon Valley even showed that face-to-face workflows produced significantly more patent citations – proving face-to-face work had significantly stronger innovation, success, and prestige output.

Ultimately the study found that a decrease in in-person meetings by even 25% would, in turn, REDUCE production by 8%.

4. Productivity is the Same with WFH 

We wish it were true …

And although studies on productivity show that at least SOME work can be done remotely successfully, research shows that the increasingly complex the work becomes, the more people benefit from collaborative work.

Just like you want to play sports with people who are better than you so you can improve, you too should you want to work with people who outperform you. The Journal of Labor Economics shows that overall performance in the workplace is better when you’re together, as sharing common goals creates an emotional response of ‘being in it together.

With engagement, satisfaction, and productivity tending to each reinforce the other, it is clear that being at work is sorta good for you overall.

5. Teams Are Equally Connected Virtually  

There are an infinite number of reasons that in-person work is beneficial for the PERSON, but the real benefits come with the things you simply can’t reproduce alone at home:

  • Creative Problem Solving: 

Creates dynamic opportunities to establish team synchronization through the implied cooperation and coordination it takes to solve manufactured problems. Research shows that being physically together as a team drives creativity and completely expands the scope of focus.

  • Fresh Perspective 

Strengthens the team’s comfort to share experiences, ideas, and opportunities with each other by enhancing the feeling of empathy, affirmation, and support. Teams who share and can excel at brainstorming find solutions with more exacting execution than those who don’t.

  • Team Rituals:

Surveys show that teams that create and execute rituals together co-create a more meaningful work experience and increase the feelings of shared intent and purpose.

Looking for a little team-building, thinking outside-the-box mentorship, and bringing people back to the office.

StellaPop can help you lay the groundwork. 


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