August 7, 2020 / by Keith Gordon
Advantages of an Office Space Become Clear
The advantages of an office space are becoming clearer as many businesses have been operating remotely for months. Employers and employees have surprised themselves with their ability to adapt to working from home. However, many businesses are beginning to see the downside of not working together in an office space.
Why Is Office Space Important
As work-from-home has become an accepted, if not expected part of many industries, business owners and companies are asking, “why is office space important?” Some of the answers that come to mind most quickly are that an office provides a place for clients to understand the full character of a business; it acts as a center for employee performance, interaction, and training; and is a physical location that helps inform what the brand stands for and conveys its corporate culture like no virtual realization can.
Chip Cutter reports in The New York Times that a number of executives are realizing why office space is important and what the downside is to not working remotely:
“Projects take longer. Training is tougher. Hiring and integrating new employees, more complicated. Some employers say their workers appear less connected and bosses fear that younger professionals aren’t developing at the same rate as they would in offices, sitting next to colleagues and absorbing how they do their jobs.” (read the full article here)
Primary Benefits of Working in an Office
Most of the primary benefits of working in an office space are not a surprise. But, it is important to remember why working in an office has been a core part of successful businesses for centuries. The list of benefits of working in an office space could go on and on. Below are five primary benefits:
Better Focus: Work Gets Done at Work
People understand that when they are in an office, they are there to work. The power of this shared objective should not be underestimated. When people have a common cause, they are more likely to focus and accomplish what needs to be done. Working from home can dilute a person’s purpose, as non-work elements can more easily distract from the job at hand.
Ongoing Teamwork: Facilitates Continued Spontaneous Collaboration
An office space provides an atmosphere for ongoing teamwork that cannot be replicated via Zoom or video conferencing. When a video conference is over, most interactive collaboration ceases. A physical office space facilitates continued collaboration. Physical proximity makes spontaneous interaction simpler and easier than scheduling yet another conference call or Zoom meeting. So, collaboration and ideas continue to flow.
More Complete Communication: Less Obstructed Conversation with Clearer Clarification
Successful communication is ongoing and dynamic. Generally, in-person communications are the most complete. Spotty or dropped connections, audiovisual-delay, muffled microphones and the like all impede what is being conveyed. Yes, we’ve become accustomed to working through these glitches. But sometimes, important elements of an exchange are lost.
Additionally, when a call or videoconference is over, minor clarifications may be needed. Physical proximity supports efficient exchanges that may not take place or may take more time than necessary to obtain virtually.
More Effective Meetings: Fewer Glitches, Higher Engagement
It’s extraordinary what can be accomplished virtually. However, there is no replacement for in-person meetings. Time lost getting everyone’s tech working is a non-issue with in-person meetings – even when everyone is safely six feet apart. Not only is conversation seamless, engagement is higher in person. Also, micro-signals help participants to fully grasp what’s being communicated. Whenever possible, in-person meetings are more effective. Creativity and ideas flow best from being in a room together.
Stronger Work Bonds
Working together toward a common goal brings people together. Stronger work bonds are more likely to be established in person. While some bonding can be accomplished virtually, there is nothing more efficient or effective in solidifying bonds between people than proximity. Penn State University writes about research that proves this point: “The proximity effect refers to the idea that physical and psychological nearness to others tends to increase interpersonal liking (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012).”
A more complete list of benefits of working in an office can be found in the article, “Benefits of Physical Office Space.”
How Office Space Affects Productivity
How an office space affects productivity is a key factor in assessing the advantages of an office space. The primary benefits of working in an office discussed above highlight how productivity is positively influenced. Focus, teamwork, more complete communication, effective meetings with higher engagement all contribute to increased productivity. These important factors should be considered when determining the true value of office space.
Is the Cost of Office Space Really Worth It?
Maintaining an office space can be an invaluable part of any business. In an era where the benefits of virtual participation and work-from-home is en vogue, the advantages of an office space should be acknowledged.
Plainly, it is an overhead expense that may seem more easily cut than ever. But consider the trade-offs in regard to the longer-term health and productivity of your business. It shouldn’t be viewed simply as a cost, but an investment that helps pay for itself. It pays back in the:
- Enhanced brand it presents to clients and potential clients,
- Increased productivity and dedication of employees, and
- Confidence and stability investors see projected by your literal place in the world.
Based on these criteria, the answer to the question, “Is the cost of an office space really worth it?” may be that the investment is definitely well worth it.