Consistency. It’s challenging right now, no? We all thought we were in the clear not even a month ago but in classic 2020 fashion, the future has done a 180-degree pivot. While it’s important to not ponder the future and take on more stress than you need, it’s so valuable to think on the benefits of returning to the office.
We’re not talking about your home office, study nook or kitchen table. We’re talking about that space you’ve designed specifically to reinvigorate your senses and get you motivated. By recognising our current situation and embracing the upcoming joys that await us, we collectively can dispel unnecessary fears.
So, without further ado, here are our top five psychological benefits of returning to work…
Benefit #1 — Positive Economical Impact
Let’s start with the heavy hitter — economical impact. As we’re sure you already know, the financial impact of our first and second Victorian lockdown will be keenly felt for years to come. In fact, according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), lockdown 2.0 will cause a “$6 billion hit to national GDP”.
Lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have also “crimped consumer spending” whereby “consumers pulled back not just on categories where spending was restricted but also on a broader range of categories — suggesting that sentiment and caution played a role in the pullback”.
Think of the gradual positive economic benefit that will arrive in response to returning to work! That daily coffee, smashed avo or cheeky lunch hour doesn’t just help you, it helps businesses stay afloat. Your positive impact isn’t just felt externally. It’s felt internally when you realise that you are making a difference.
Benefit #2 — Return To A Safe Working Environment
Now, the term safety has more than one meaning in this instance. It isn’t just about adhering to Worksafe’s requirements. This is about delivering a space that’s safe, physically and mentally. It’s a space that free from and does not tolerate violence, discrimination, bullying or any other detrimental actions that severely impact you or your team.
“Each and every person who leaves his home for his work in the morning should come back to his home in the evening in good health” and we therefore owe it to ourselves and our employees to offer a safe space.
The Australian HR Institute also recognises that being psychologically safe means that “each individual’s fears and concerns have been understood and processes and plans have been put in place to support individuals”.
“That’s everything from people feeling they have permission to speak up when they’re feeling uncomfortable or fearful, to understanding the concerns people have outside the office”.
Returning to work also encourages additional benefits, such as self-esteem and social inclusion caused by feeling wanted and needed. When you get to the crux of the situation, “People in work tend to enjoy happier and healthier lives…we recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long term illness and incapacity”.
Everyone deserves to feel safe. It’s that simple.
Benefit #3 — Clearer Routine
Like the aforementioned additional benefits of returning to work, including self-esteem and social inclusion, returning to the office also encourages a greater sense of routine and therefore, security.
Fast Company noted that the need for consistency and security has grown exponentially since COVID-19.
Why? Because the “Combination of stress, fear and other strong emotions, and the demands of home and work life can take their toll on mental health”.
As ‘dull’ as routine seems, the physical and mental benefit of getting up at a set time, getting dressed for work (no tracksuit and uggs) and actually travelling to a space you deem professional, is huge!
Benefit #4 — Lack Of Cognitive Dissonance
Ok, we know, that’s two big words that may not necessarily mean anything to you. Cognitive dissonance is “used to describe the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes”. That’s all well and good but how does that relate to you? Well, every single person experiences cognitive dissonance in some way or another, especially right now while working remotely.
The Australian HR Institute highlights that, “When you’re in the physical presence of another person, you’ve got a lot more to work off than just their words. You feel their presence through body language, smell, and touch (not in physical distancing times of course). Those things don’t translate through your computer screen”.
“Our minds are together when our bodies feel we’re not. That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally. It’s easier being in each other’s presence, or in each other’s absence, than in the constant presence of each other’s absence”.
It’s like that touchy email you’re planning on sending or that lacklustre email you just received that caused you to eye roll. Things get lost in translation and we all know that. As we’ve all experienced, face-to-face interaction reaps greater reward (even with social distancing of course).
Benefit #5 — Greater Access To More Meaningful Connections And Socialisation
The current situation is tough. There’s no denying it. Even the term ‘social distancing’ forces an image that’s more than just 1.5 metres apart. It’s a feeling of being disconnected and “many of us are experiencing the cruelties of social isolation and loneliness”.
The benefit therefore of returning to the office, is so much more than we could have ever appreciated pre COVID-19. Even with video conferencing and that superficial feeling of being connected, “we’re not able to make meaningful eye contact”. Instead, “We have to stare at a specific part of our screen to give the impression of eye contact”.
As LaTrobe University noted, “Gathering together in public is an essential part of belonging and is important for social cohesion, morale and mental health”. Virtual connections are just that, virtual, which denotes in all of us a superficial experience that in turn calls out for something more substantial.
You miss the ‘old’ normal and by returning back to a place of security and consistency, you allow yourself the opportunity to interact, discuss and challenge.
Here at Waterman, we are offering you and your business the security of a ‘Safe Workplace’ compliant space that allows flexibility to suit your budget and needs.
You deserve to work your own way. You can find out more about how Waterman Business Centres can serve you best, here.