It’s happening more and more—employers are asking their workers to return to the office. After several years of accommodating flexibility and remote work, companies are now requiring employees to work from the company’s office at least a few times a week. Here you are, trying to find meaning in your job, and now you’re frustrated with having to return to your desk at work. But think again. This return to the physical office can help you discover more purpose in your day to day duties. Here’s why.
You’ll build comradery. The physical proximity to your co-workers certainly creates some stress, but it also fosters connection. According to Harvard Business Review, this interaction with co-workers “reinforces the sense that you share a common mission.” Seeing other people work toward the goals of the company encourages you to do the same. The more you feel connected to your company’s mission, the more satisfied you’ll be at work and feel like you are there for more than just a paycheck.
Communication is bound to be better. The close quarters with your fellow employees also provides the grounds for improved communication. It’s so easy to misread someone’s intention through emails and texts and that sometimes leads to unnecessary conflict. The more frustrated you feel, the less meaning you’re likely to find at your job. In actuality, “A lot of information sharing happens through short, informal conversations between people over the course of a normal workday,” according to the Harvard Business Review. Those brief moments feed not only more individual success but lead to a better outcome for the company. All of this can make you feel like your job has more meaning.
You can observe your managers in person. It’s true that being back in the office allows your boss to keep better tabs on you, but the reverse is also true. If you can observe your manager and know that he or she has the same goals as you, it can help foster meaningfulness in your job. Think about how the opposite is true. If in person, your manager is a tyrant and doesn’t know how to lead a positive team, you’re not likely to feel your work has much meaning in the long run. So, getting beyond emails and group chats into the physical presence of your company’s managers can go a long way.
So, while it’s something you are thinking you want to avoid or maybe you don’t see the purpose in it, returning to work could be the best thing for finding more meaning in your work. As Adecco states, “A return to office work could give your employees a sense of purpose and make them feel valued. Working in person provides a sense of community and belonging that can be difficult to achieve through remote work alone.” There are few things that can take the place of those face-to-face interactions you’ll have in the office. Give it a chance, especially if you’re trying to find more purpose in your career.