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Why The Studio Trumps the Sofa

27th June 2024

Remote working vs. the traditional office setup has been an interesting topic of debate over the past few years. Whilst home working promises flexibility, comfort and a break from the daily commute, office work can be great for productivity, collaboration, and a clear divide between professional and personal life. 

At the end of the day, it’s all down to personal preference. Although I’ve encountered colleagues who thrive under their home working routine, I could never hack it. 

I’m Sophie – a Digital Marketing Exec and Nu Image’s latest recruit – and here’s why, after four years of working remotely, I returned to the office, and why Nu Image was the perfect place to make the switch. 

The rise of remote working

In March of 2020, I crammed my work laptop and belongings into a carrier bag, unprepared to face the ambiguous future of working from home. Staff were told it was a ‘temporary measure’, but even back then, I had a sneaking suspicion that we wouldn’t be coming back. 

At first, working from home felt like a dream. Nestling down on the sofa in PJ bottoms, coffee in hand, sunlight pouring through the window. Pottering around the house at lunch time, throwing the laundry on and washing the dishes because I had the time to do so. 

But soon, the novelty wore off. The longer I was left to fend for myself, the quicker I fell apart. I started to long for the friendly office chatter, the ritual of throwing on an outfit in the morning, and the walk home to switch off from the day. 

The lines between work and my personal life had blurred; I’d procrastinate throughout the day and work away into the night. I felt disconnected from my colleagues, able to count the number of times I’d met them in person on one hand. No water cooler conversations, no office camaraderie; I truly felt the ‘lone’ in ‘lone worker’. But it seemed I wasn’t alone; in fact, 63% of UK workers reported their experiences of difficulty forming work friendships at home. Without this sense of belonging, I had completely forgotten who and what I was working for.

By the end of 2021, remote working had taken the world by storm, and whilst it has revolutionised the world of work in some ways, I believed there was one thing it would never be able to fully replicate. It was the missing piece I’d been grappling for the whole time – the power of connectivity.

The resurgence of connectivity

In the last few years, technology has promised to bridge distances and foster connections. However, in a world saturated with communication platforms, people are gradually becoming desensitised to video conferences, emails and messaging apps. 

It’s my belief that we need to break through that screen by building meaningful personal connections. I think a handshake will always resonate with someone more than a Teams call, and it seems many agree. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are key to successful long-term relationships in the workplace. As the number of home workers steadily drops, it seems things have gone full circle; there is a growing focus on rekindling the human connections left behind after the pandemic. 

For me, it’s the little things I didn’t even know I was missing out on. The shared lunches, spontaneous conversations, or a coffee popped on my desk when I’d had a long day. There’s never any need to put discussions to a time limit or fear that a drop in the bandwidth will stop a chat dead in its tracks. 

Whilst I appreciate that the social dynamic might not be everyone’s vibe, it’s something that I’ve embraced. From simply being around others, I’ve found myself happier, more confident, and motivated to push through the day. 

Nu Image’s take

Nu Image is the first marketing role I’ve joined post-pandemic that has fostered a full-time studio environment with flexibility for appointments and personal matters.

Our view of office working is a little like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. Either way, as a converted ‘Nubie’, I want to shout about the benefits that working in the studio reaps for me:

  • We come into the office because we want to. We’re a close-knit team that can work and play together. This helps with work morale, office camaraderie, and combatting work isolation.

  • Peace and quiet (most of the time). For some, commuting to the office can be a welcome reprieve from chaotic home environments, so we’ve made our studio a home away from home – minus the distractions. 

  • When you shut your laptop off, you can shut off, too. There are no blurred lines between work and home life here. It’s important to leave work behind and save evenings for ourselves.

  • Collaboration is king. Got an idea? Carpe diem. There’ll always be someone around to run your ideas by before you’ve lost that light bulb moment. Equally, you only need to tap someone’s shoulder if you’re struggling with something. 

  • We want to ‘stay curious’. Our team dynamic is all about challenging others to improve – where you can bounce questions, receive honest feedback without worrying about typed tone, and celebrate their successes. 

  • Client connectivity – we want our clients to know we’re rooting for them and invested in their growth. In the studio, we have an open-door mentality to nurture those relationships, whether this is popping in for a chat or a chinwag on the phone. We can keep in touch on their terms, as little or as much as they’d like. 

It’s short and sweet, but that’s how we see it. We’re not fussed about keeping an eye on each other, micromanaging or just pushing back on change. It’s about leveraging the unique benefits that in-person connections can nurture in the office. 

You do you

The main thing we can take from the world’s massive changes over the last few years is that everyone has a personal preference. There’s no denying that remote work has lightened the load for many, erasing the need for commutes, providing flexibility for families, and putting wellbeing first. Whilst I’m grateful that so many have seen an improvement to their quality of life, I can safely say that the grass wasn’t greener for me. 

Seeing how collaboration, engagement, mentorship and connections can prosper with an in-person environment, I think I’ll always be an office advocate. However, that’s not to say that others can’t thrive in different ways at home. The most important thing to consider is what works for you, and maintaining a healthy boundary between work and home life. 

Whatever side you’re on, let’s celebrate how much we’ve been able to learn through the adversity of the pandemic, and look forward to an environment where workers have the freedom to choose where they feel most comfortable.

Soph, signing off. 

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