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Is “Work from home” Really better?

Joe has an interesting point in his response to my last blog. Could all the ‘work from home’ requirements being foisted on us become permanent and thus affect cities central cores, all the businesses that survive based on a daily influx of workers into an area.

He comments on the benefits of having coworkers at hand in the office but juxtaposes that with being surrounded by the wonders of family at ‘work from home.’

A couple of decades ago a major financial institution decided to move most of its workers out of the office and back home. Think of the savings, they posited, in office space and related costs. The advent of instant communications makes such decisions possible. Five years later, they moved everyone back to the office.

They found that both the tangible and intangible results from working from home, even when employees were required to come into the office one day a week, were a big negative. Productivity was down, and creativity almost nonexistent.

Creativity seldom happens in a vacuum. So called brainstorming sessions, water cooler discussions, and “Charlie said something that gave me an idea” plant seeds that oftentimes grow into world class ideas. Teams aren’t formed over the ‘net. Competition that one sees in an office environment wanes when there is no office environment.

As much as our betters would like to promote the concept of working from home, the social construct that results from an office environment has shown that the camaraderie of the office makes a huge difference in just how business is done.

My prediction: As soon as we come to our senses, and go back to work, the results will show in unimaginable ways. Social distancing is not natural. It may be necessary for a short time, but we are social animals. We will love the result.

JVH

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