In the past years, the idea of normal has been turned on its head. After staring down a global pandemic and scrambling to make a plan for some sort of normalcy, many organizations were forced to adopt a remote work model. Seemingly overnight, the business world transitioned from in-person to remote-first or remote-only.
It was a rough shift for almost everyone. But the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way. These days, your organization, like others, may have moved to a hybrid model where some of your workers are remote and some are in person.
Initially, some workers who thrived off of in-person interactions hated the idea of working remotely. But you may have noticed that even the staunchest work in-person advocate has changed their toon. A lot of workers have discovered that they actually like working remotely—at least some of the time.
So this begs the question: Is a physical office important at all? Do you actually need to work in person, even if it’s on a hybrid basis? Or can you shift permanently to a remote-only arrangement?
Let’s explore why you should continue to keep a physical office even if a majority of your workforce decides to stay remote.
Send the right message to your customers
If you don’t have a physical office now but you used to, the public will likely notice if you decide to shut down your physical office permanently.
While moving your operations online may be convenient for you and your team, consider if it’s also convenient for your customers. Perhaps your customers enjoy coming to your physical office to interact with your team and to get the products or services they need. If you shift to online only, you may be disrupting your customers in a way that you didn’t expect.
Before deciding to close up shop, make sure that you’ve considered if this is the right move for your customer base. Some customers may not enjoy working with you online.
Also, consider what message a closed office may send to your customer. Your customer may mistakenly think that your business is closed completely if you do not have a physical office. And they may not look for you online either. Instead, they will simply reach out to your competitor.
Speaking of competitors, here’s another reason why you should have a physical office: To keep up with what’s expected in your industry. If your competitors have a physical office and are actively seeing customers, you should probably do the same that is if you want to remain competitive. As mentioned above, a customer may choose to go with your competitor if they miss the convenience of walking into an office and working with you on a face-to-face basis.
Boost employee morale
Some employees enjoy working with their fellow colleagues. They gain energy, enthusiasm, and insight from being around others, or even just standing around the water cooler and sharing a joke or two.
Working from home can be isolating and oh-so-quiet, even with the occasional Zoom meeting to interrupt the silence. When you have a physical office, your employees will have the option to work amongst each other end enjoy the vibrancy of each other’s company.
Make space for collaboration
Piggybacking off of the last point, when employees are working together in the same space, it’s easier to collaborate and share ideas with each other. Even if you don’t keep an office for the sake of individual work, you can keep a physical office for the sake of collaboration. Have a central place for meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops, team building, and the like.
Employees can continue to work remotely, but then come into the office to work with the team on projects. Sharing ideas in person is preferable because of the almost tangible energy that comes from being with each other, along with the ability to read body language and detect tones. Advanced human communication like this simply isn’t present over email or even through a video chat.
Create a strong culture
One of the major drawbacks of working remotely is that it’s difficult to create and/or maintain your company’s culture. When your team is working remotely from their offices, living rooms, and bedrooms, how can you create one cohesive culture?
No doubt, there’s a different feeling that you get when you walk into a physical office with your coworkers. That feeling is connected to the culture that you’ve created as an organization. And one of the easiest ways to create culture is with a physical office. That’s because you can influence the way your physical office looks, feels, smells, and sounds. Culture can also be conveyed in paint colors, furniture choices, and the overall vibe of the physical office. You can’t do that remotely.
Create a physical brand identity
When you have a physical office, you have the opportunity to create a more tangible impression of your brand. Similar to how office culture is created, your organization’s unique personality, i.e. your brand, can be identified by the choices you make in and throughout your physical office.
A customer who walks into your physical office can immediately make decisions about who you are as a brand. For an example of this in action, think of an office that you went into recently. Did it influence your perception of that organization? No doubt, and the same will be true for customers who walk into your organization. It’s easier to show people your personality through your physical office than it is through a website or a Facebook page.
Encourage work-life balance
Maintaining a physical office is great for your employees for another reason. When you have a physical office, your employees have the option to work from home or work from the office. Not only is having this choice awesome because not everyone enjoys working from home, but it’s also awesome because you’re actively encouraging the separation of one’s work and personal lives.
When you work from home exclusively, it’s easy to blur the lines. You may even work longer hours without even noticing it. And then there’s the matter of never being able to escape the office because it is always there in the form of a laptop.
Having the option to work from the office will mostly benefit those who are highly susceptible to overworking. If they leave their work at the office, they won’t be tempted to squeeze in one more email over dinner or tweak their presentation in the middle of a Netflix show. They’ll have no other choice but to wait until they’re back in the office. But if you don’t have a physical office, some people on your team will find themselves working more than they should. This is a recipe for burnout.
Create an equitable work environment
In a physical office setup, the environment is usually equitable. Everyone has the same desks and chairs. Everyone has access to the same snack room and so on. However, when your workers are working from home, they do not have the same stuff. Some workers may have their own office that has a door that they can close. Other workers may not even have a space for an office desk and may instead use their sofa as Command Central.
Having a physical office ensures that your workers will have the same equipment, furniture, and resources available to them.
Maintaining a physical office is a great idea for many reasons. Not only does it benefit your employees, but it also benefits your customers.
Share this Post