From coffee shops in LA to break rooms in Nashville, the conversation about work – and where to do it – is a hot topic. Just this June, for example, discount-dealing LivingSocial closed their Seattle offices, requesting that employees work from home to save their jobs. They are just one of many companies proclaiming, “Have wifi, will travel.”
Around the same time, US News & World Report posted a fascinating article by Rebecca Thorman entitled, “The 10 Real Reasons You Like Working From Home.” In it, Ms. Thorman reminded us of the flexibility that is ours when home base is, quite literally, at home.
I read Thorman’s article through a turnstone lens because, ironically, roughly 35% of our employees work remotely – and by “remote” I’m talking states and time zones away from our headquarters. The remaining 65% enjoy some blend of working on campus and at home.
We work hard to accommodate our mobile workers and ensure that work happens regardless of anyone’s zip code. And while it can’t be denied that there are perks to working from home, I also believe there are definite benefits to participating in a great workspace — the following are 10 reasons.
1. Your co-workers stave off loneliness
Some days call for quiet focus, but enduring days on end with only the sound of your air conditioner to break the silence, and even an introvert can cave to isolation. We all have different people-meters but at the end of the day, we really do need each other.
2. Collaboration breeds creativity
Grabbing a few co-workers for a quick meeting might be all you need to get your wagon out of that muddy rut. Instead of staring at the ceiling or tossing a tennis ball against the wall, try talking it through with your team. You might hit on an idea that will get you thinking in a new direction.
3. You get heads-down time without the distraction of dishes and doorbells
A pile of dishes in the sink, loud neighbors, barking dogs, and a ringing doorbell at home are a recipe for stress and distraction. When you’ve got a big project due, you can’t risk time lost to baked-on spaghetti.
4. The chair in your home office is less than impressive
People sometimes say they’re more comfortable at home. I get that. We all have a favorite recliner! But just as often, I’d argue that stiff desk chairs and a ‘hunched-at-the-dining-room-table’ posture are not only uncomfortable, but unhealthy. For productivity and well-being, having the right furniture is important and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
5. Teamwork starts with trust, and trust grows from social interaction
This one is obvious: the more you interact with people, the more you trust them. And once trust is established, teamwork takes off. Without some measure of face-to-face time, the process is delayed. Services like Skype have made strides in helping to overcome this handicap, but it still can’t completely compensate for doing life—and work—alongside another person.
6. Your office culture is too fun to miss
Why would I want to miss out on green smoothie week? Or enjoying a burger at our lunchtime BBQ? Or skateboarding through our Town Hall? (OK, I’ll leave that to the interns…) When office culture is awesome, you’ll have a place that people want to come to.
7. Your walls don’t give you the feedback you’re looking for
When you aren’t sure of your new creative direction, it’s a great benefit to roll your chair next to your friend for a quick chat. Sure, you could pick up the phone and describe what you’re doing, but you miss the body language, facial expressions and nuances of an in-person meeting.
8. Being close to your product inspires you
At the end of the day, you’re not working just to jump through a series of hoops. You’re working, hopefully, because you believe in your product and want the world to know about it! Staying close to it keeps you inspired
9. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Thankfully, no man (or woman) is an island, and some things are just better tackled when done by a team. We each have important roles to play, yet as fate would have it, we are stronger together.
10. Because everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves
One of the reasons I love coming to work every day is to be part of something bigger than myself. I enjoy meeting new people, hearing different points of view, and feeling that my contributions help fuel the direction of our company. Everyone wants their life to be about more than their next trip to the grocery store. Investing in your teammates and in the heart and soul of your company is a fantastic place to start.