As a result of the continued ‘stay at home’ advice from the Government, for many of us, working from home is now the norm, writes Sam O’Flynn. To some, it’s been a transition that has been a welcome change, but for others, slightly more difficult.
But how does working from home compare to a traditional office setting for a creative and comms-driven agency such as FSC? We’ve looked at the pros and cons of both.
‘Can you hear me?’…Sorry my Wi-Fi is playing up today!’ the words I’m sure we’ve all uttered at some point during this year. With disparate team members spread across the country, good communication is key in order to keep aligned on actions and maintain a healthy working relationship. While platforms such as Zoom have arguably increased communication with clients who you may have previously only seen face to face once a month, days of endless video calls can be quite wearing.
For our agency embedded in the hospitality sector, socialising outside of work is a big part of our culture and a great way to stay close to the sector. The pandemic, of course, has restricted this and altered the way we can meet as a team, so video calls have been vital in allowing us to socialise and have fun.
However, the PR industry is founded on creativity and team work, it’s a key ingredient to a successful campaign or project. A team brainstorm, in person, allows you to freely bounce ideas around and build creative proposals together. Nothing beats the benefits of a real in-person meeting, providing the opportunity for all parties to be heard clearly, inject some dynamism and really engage in a discussion. Working on proposals and pitching via Zoom really struggles to cut it.
Flexibility and productivity
When working from an office, we all likely have a set schedule. Alarm goes off at the same time, every day, you grab your morning coffee on your commute and arrive at your desk ready to work. A nice routine, but, particularly with challenging or tiresome commutes, one that can become draining day in, day out.
Home working offers greater flexibility, allowing people to maybe start a slightly earlier or finish slightly later, all while being able to look after the family dog and put the washing on! And with a recent study by Finder UK revealing that 65% of workers said they are more productive at home rather than the office, there are some clear benefits here.
Working from home or living at work?
Though working from home has its perks, there is the question of are we working from home, or living at work?
Pre-Covid, the office offered a separate and distinct location for work, providing employees with an environment they associate with their working lives. However, for those who may not have the luxury of a designated working area or office within their home, or may live alone, the lines between home and ‘the office’ have certainly blurred.
A recent study from Nuffield Health found that 80% of Brits feel that working from home has negatively impacted their mental health, with one in four claiming that they are finding it difficult to cope with the loneliness and isolation. So, there is an important discussion to be had around whether working from home really is the optimal solution as some suggest.
With the current restrictions, for many working from home isn’t a choice, but a Governmental instruction. At FSC, we’ve looked to make the situation as seamless as we can for the team and regular check-ins have certainly helped remove any levels of isolation which can so easily materialise. There is of course a balance that needs to be struck between office and home working and in the future, it will be a discussion of what’s right for both the individual and the business.
But the pandemic has opened the eyes of many companies as to the benefits remote working can bring, while also reminding people that the office dynamic is not something that is easily replicated at home and in the virtual world.