The global pandemic we are experiencing in 2020 has left many in the workforce pondering whether a workspace is necessary at all. Almost overnight employees were sent home, with no designated “offices”, juggling work demands with childcare, vying for space at the family dining table to get work done – and what happened? They got it done. Productivity, under arguably the worst-case scenario, was nowhere near as low as anticipated. So, it is only natural that many may wonder whether trading sweatpants at the family table for a suit and a morning commute are really essential, particularly as children head back to school and a sense of normalcy ensues.

But there is still a strong case for the office as it was, and here are four reasons why.

1. Connection. Humans are inherently social creatures. We need human connection in order to remain mentally healthy, and interfaces such as Zoom do not provide this. Being physically together in the workplace brings a sense of comradery that we require to thrive in our respective roles.

2. Collaboration. CEO of New Zealand tech company Tom Harding contributes his teams’ success to the incidental conversations that happen between teams in their dynamic workspace. Having designers speak with marketers or coders purely by chance drives creativity and collaboration between teams, propelling successful ideas into the foreground that would previously never been envisioned. Without workplaces, these chance meetings would never occur.

3. Purpose. While working from home has perks such as increased family time, no commute and the environmental benefits associated with this, there comes a time where wearing sweatpants to work and skyping from bed begins to become mundane. Motivation lowers, and overall team morale drops when employees work from home in the longer term. Contrastingly, being together in the office place can serve as uplifting, allowing employees to be swept up in the energy and excitement of a collective group. Getting up for the day and preparing the mind and body for work also enhance an individuals sense of purpose.

4. Wellbeing. Moving from the couch to the kitchen table and back again has a negative impact on not only our mental health but also our physical. Heading to a workplace, by comparison, means that we are physically moving, whether it be walking from the train or scaling stairs to our office, the incidental exercise is beneficial to our wellbeing. Employees are also better primed to recalling data when they can associate it with a place they were when they received it, and the variation of a workplace optimises this recall.

There is no doubt that working from home showed both employees and employers that this could be done. However, the degree of efficiency and productivity is debatable. As we move forward, some businesses may choose to implement elements of what was learnt, whether this is flexible time management or one ‘work from home’ day a week. However, there is still a strong case to be made for collaborative office space, and it is undoubtedly essential as we move forward.

Interstall can assist in workplace design through the reconfiguration of office equipment or installation of quiet pods. We can also help with tailoring your acoustics to meet your workplace needs to ensure you get the best out of your team. Talk to our team today to learn more.