Office life before the pandemic was different in many ways, and although the “new normal” has largely returned to the old normal, some aspects of our lives are forever changed by the events of the past 3 years.
One of the most life-altering changes is that of the way in which we work. Prior to COVID, many American employees were longing for employers to allow them the freedom of working remotely. Although the trend was growing, some businesses were resistant, until the pandemic forced it upon us suddenly.
Now, more than two years in, most of us are still greatly enjoying the freedom of remote work, however, we are also now quite familiar with the downsides, such as the amount of time we spend in video conferences or just waiting for them to start. In fact, on average, employees spend 11 minutes per meeting just waiting, up to 30 minutes just looking for the link and about 3 days of lost productivity per year due to wasted time from video conferences.
Not only are these conferences wasting time, but they also do not appeal to the simple humanity and basic needs of the person behind the camera. The unnatural form of interactions, with faces too close, invading personal space, and a lack of ability to take cues from body language, is adding significant amounts of stress to workers. Adding to this is the fact that we are forced to look at ourselves on camera much more often than is healthy. Zoom fatigue is a significant problem.
In addition, employees simply miss the interactions that happen naturally in the office. They miss the casual water cooler chats and the unplanned banter that doesn’t require a link to begin.
Since remote work is here to stay, it’s vital that employers find a balance between the virtual world and the relational needs of employees. This is where a virtual office comes in.
A virtual office can provide more natural interactions all while maintaining the ability and flexibility of working from home.