There has been much debate recently about “getting back to normal” office working, meaning returning to an “everyone in the office” model. A government minister has been urging civil servants to stop working remotely.
Setting aside the health issues – Covid-19 has not gone away yet – how appropriate is it in 2022 to insist on everyone coming into a central office every day?
Travelling to an office every day is costly, whether you drive in a car or travel by bus or train. In addition to the energy costs of travel and the harm to the planet, especially if your travel is by car, there is a personal cost in time and stress.
Of course, face-to-face meetings can be more enjoyable, and sometimes more productive, than video meetings – although video meeting technology has improved considerably in the last couple of years. And working from home suits some people better than others – not everyone has a suitable home space for working or can afford to heat it in colder weather. There is also the social side to office working – for some people, working remotely can be a lonely experience.
Before the pandemic, our team was already working remotely, meeting up in the office every week or two. Replacing those office meetings with video meetings has worked for us. In addition, we try, where possible, to hold client meetings by video conference. We’re convinced it’s better for the planet, and it reduces costs for us and our clients as well. (And we’re not sharing viruses with our clients, even if just the common cold!)
The pandemic has changed the world of work and rather than now pretend it never happened and rush back to the old ways of working we should take the opportunity to embrace new ways of working that work for individuals. The worst reason for doing something is that “we have always done it that way”!