You’ve probably experienced an upside-down work environment in one way or another since COVID-19 arose in 2020. You may have had to switch your employees to remote work or use new safety precautions in the office, both of which can hinder regular social interaction.
Thankfully, COVID restrictions have eased considerably, and employees are returning to in-person work again. However, many workers have grown used to working from home over time. In fact, 61% of people working from home choose to work remotely even if their office is available.
Despite the popularity of remote jobs, in-person work and human interaction benefit health and wellbeing in many ways. If your employees are hesitant to return to work, we’re here to provide some insight into how this can be healthy for them mentally, emotionally and physically.
Read on to learn six significant benefits of going back to an in-person work environment. By expressing these benefits to your workers, they may start to see the value of going back to the office regularly.
1. Opportunities for Socialization
The opportunity to socialize is a significant benefit of returning to in-person work. Humans are social animals by nature and genuine conversations and friendships are valuable aspects of everyday life. However, the 2020 lockdown took away many regular opportunities to socialize with others. As a result, many have forgotten the joy and fulfillment of socializing with others.
While remote work provides some opportunities for socialization through virtual meetings and phone calls, this simply isn’t the same experience as real face-to-face conversation. Going back to the office creates opportunities for coworkers to catch up on each others’ lives. Along with filling the need for regular socialization, this gives us a true sense of community, belonging and acceptance.
2. Improved Productivity
While some remote workers find it easy to work from the comfort of their home space, others may experience daily distractions from children or pets or have a workspace setup that makes it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Additionally, some remote workers may struggle to disconnect from work at the end of the day, especially if they relax in the same environment they use for work. Without being able to separate from work and recharge, they may find their job productivity and performance decreasing.
Working from the office can make it easier to keep work life separate from home life as employees physically and mentally leave their work at the office. The office also tends to have fewer distractions, increasing employees’ ability to focus. Concentrating on their work at the office and leaving it behind at the end of the day often leads to a significant productivity boost over working from home.
If you’re looking for other ways to boost employee productivity, an in-person environment offers many opportunities, such as implementing a coffee bar or installing a vending machine.
3. Health and Wellbeing
Returning to an in-person work environment can enhance mental health and wellbeing. As mentioned above, social interaction is a fundamental human need. When we’re deprived of this — as many were with COVID— we experience unhealthy feelings of loneliness and isolation. Over time, this can lead to higher rates of depression and anxiety.
When employees work together in person, they’re fulfilling a natural desire to socialize and be in the company of others. This socialization can help combat social isolation, improving workers’ mental health and well-being.
In addition to mental and emotional health, returning to work can benefit physical health as well. Companies can provide their workers with:
- Healthy food and dining options: Employees may be hesitant to return to the office if they have limited healthy eating options there. You can help overcome this hesitation by ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food at the office.
- On-site fitness accommodations: Many people got used to exercising at home when many gyms and recreation centers closed during COVID. On-site access to fitness equipment and accommodations offers your employees an equally convenient exercise option.
- Comfortable, ergonomic work equipment: Since COVID remote work first began, many employees have invested in improving their home office setup. Ensure that a return to the office won’t mean a downgrade in comfort and support.
4. Career Development
Being surrounded by fellow employees and watching them work is a helpful way to learn.
Even if we’re not always aware of it, we grow in the workplace by observing our coworkers’ behaviors. Additionally, everyone brings their own unique skills, personalities and talents to the table, stimulating creativity and allowing workers to bounce ideas off one another. However high or low you are on the corporate ladder, you have a lot to offer your coworkers.
This observation and collaboration contribute to career development and learning. While you can certainly develop your career in a remote position, it’s easier to watch, learn and model new skills in an in-person environment, where you can see what’s happening directly in front of you.
5. Face-to-Face Collaboration
When your employees return to the office, they’ll experience more face-to-face communication, allowing more transparency and productivity to explore more creative ideas.
Face-to-face collaboration typically aids in brainstorming and teamwork. While some messages are easier to send via email or discuss in a quick video call, it’s often more effective to hash out important topics through in-person meetings. And with these face-to-face conversations, you won’t have to worry about potential technical glitches.
Face-to-face brainstorming sessions also give you a better view of body language and nonverbal behaviors. That awareness helps people understand each other better so they can get their work done more efficiently and creates a stronger synergy than virtual meetings.
6. Work Perks
By returning to work, employees can once again experience the perks they missed while they were away. Your office perks might include:
- Complimentary coffee and tea for workers.
- A comfortable breakroom with snacks.
- Gift card and ticket giveaways.
- Company lunches.
If your workers have these fringe benefits to look forward to, they may be more motivated to come back to work.
Get Your Employees Excited About Being Back in the Office
After reading through these return to work benefits, we hope you feel more confident about bringing your employees back to the office. Implementing more advanced corporate dining services is a great start if you’re looking to boost team productivity and excitement towards work.
At American Dining Creations — a division of American Food & Vending — our team of hospitality and culinary experts can transform your workplace café to create an advanced dining experience for your employees.
We tailor our innovative dining solutions to suit your business’s unique needs. We provide mobile ordering, quality chef-inspired menus and ingredients, authentic and nutritious cuisine options and exceptional customer service to help your workplace adjust to this new normal. If you want to reflect your company’s values and positive work culture in your corporate dining program, learn more about what our business dining solutions can do for your workplace!