I think Mark McGowan’s recommendations for those working from home to get back to the office are right. We need to be working in the office, all of us, together, not at home on video conferencing apps. The Premier of Western Australia has said of working in the office that “It creates collegiality, it creates a culture that’s constructive, people work together to achieve outcomes…Everyone sitting in their kitchen on their laptops I don’t think generates that.” He couldn’t be more right. I for one, hate working from home.
Yes, working from home was necessary for many workers during the COVID pandemic, me included sometimes, and for some, is still a necessity. But I think we as a society have become a bit too used to working from home, and it is time to move back to working in the office to be a team player. Don’t get me wrong: If public safety requires working from home, I am all for working from home. But when it isn’t needed, let’s spend a bit more time awake and travel too and from the office and work in the office.
“…I mean police officers, construction workers, mining workers, teachers, nurses, journalists and lots of people out there go to work,” McGowan said on Tuesday 20th September 2022.
Why do we need to be Working in the Office?
It’ll be better for the economy in the long run
Especially with local businesses. Where I work, there is a small family run coffee shop/café nearby. My $10 a week I spend there to treat myself to coffee 1 or 2 days probably doesn’t make a huge difference to them, but when everyone from most of the businesses, warehouses and factories in the area converge for morning coffee, lunch, snacks, it adds up for them. That local family business where I can see the husband and wife team are putting their heart and souls into making nice coffee and food relies on people not working from home to survive. And when they do well, they do more business with other businesses, so money flows through the economy. This scenario is repeated every day of the week around Australia when people don’t work from home, and get up a little earlier to go work in the office.
Like Premier McGowan said “…across the board working from home I just don’t think it’s good for society and good for the community.” People working in retail, restaurants and cafes were also disadvantaged if workers were not regularly going to the CBD.
Working in the Office is More Productive
There are too many distractions at home, so I choose to work in the office. It is easier to call out to a colleague when I need them rather than email them, or try and start a MS Teams call. There are less distractions in working in the office, but at home, there are too many distractions. TV, Radio, thoughts about cooking an unusual lunch, video call meetings where everyone gets distracted by your choice of décor, your desk chair, that slightly funny top you are wearing, neighbours wanting a chat over the fence, or your pets or kids just walking in. Remember this poor guy?
So many work from home meetings have had a lot of time wasted by these things when you are meant to be productive. I want to talk about work, not about your cat.
Collaboration with Work Colleagues in the Office is Better
No app can match a real whiteboard for collaboration.
In a creative role, my team and I can work out a new design or campaign idea on a whiteboard. We take turns in drawing up our ideas and sharing as a group. No apps can match a physical whiteboard experience.
Working in the Office creates a separation between work and home
Stay with me here. When I leave the office, I leave work in the office. My home is my space. When I am at work I am in work mode, when at home, I am in personal mode. I don’t want to see my work desk at home, and feel like I have to work to work outside of work hours. I want to turn off from work at home. That helps my mind stay fresh, sharp, and relaxed so I can have better ideas when working in the office.
I enjoy the trip to and from work
Sometimes it is a bike ride through the parklands. Sometimes a bus ride. It is a morning trip that gives me time to think. To read the news. To Pray. And often, I get good ideas come into my head when travelling to and from work. Plus, cycling from home to work is a great way to start the day. The morning trip to work is a good time to compose yourself for work. No point in getting out of bed 10 mins before you need to start working at home and having breakfast while checking the morning’s emails. I guarantee you won’t be that productive, won’t do your best work, and will be groggy for a few hours, so you end up doing a lot less work.
Sure, for personal circumstances, sometimes working from home is necessary:
“Sometimes there are requirements, you can negotiate it with your employer to work from home, sometimes you might work appropriately in individual circumstances,” Mark McGowan said. “But across the board working from home I just don’t think it’s good for society and good for the community,” and I for one couldn’t agree more.