Why Remote Working Could be More Bane than Boon for Younger Workers

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Home > Articles > Why Remote Working Could be More Bane than Boon for Younger Workers

 Why Remote Working Could be More Bane than Boon for Younger Workers

Kristian Jones | General
December 20, 2021
The office empowers social connection, mentorship and growth, even as working from home succeeds.
 

Amidst COVID-19, employers globally have implemented varying remote and hybrid working arrangements. Despite initial reservations, working from home has proven highly successful, especially in terms of flexibility and work-life balance.

However, prolonged remote working has taken a toll on workers; this is es
pecially felt by those just starting their career journeys, especially Generation Z and younger Millennials aged 18 to 25 years (according to Microsoft). While this group tends to be more adaptable and comfortable with remote working technologies, they also acutely experience increased loneliness and communication barriers. As a result, a significant proportion of younger workers wish to return to office workUnispace research reveals that 69 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed would like to return to the workplace full-time in future—the highest of any age group.

Remote and in-office work each bring their own benefits; beyond flexibility, the former also reduces commute time (to zero), effectively facilitates individual focus work, and has led to increased productivity. In Singapore, cultural nuances add more dimensions—due to high living costs, many younger professionals still live with their parents and may even share rooms with other family members, which complicates home-based working situations. Furthermore, across the past 18 months, many younger workers have begun new jobs entirely remotely, and the lack of face-to-face relationship building has also impacted their psychological safety around seeking help and collaborating with others.

On the other hand, office-based working fosters easy communication and collaboration opportunities through the work day. A key benefit for younger early-career professionals is around networking; the workplace setting facilitates organic socialisation, and eventually, longer-term connections are forged with fellow industry professionals. Separately, just by being in the office, younger employees are able to work with teams, learn by osmosis and develop critical soft skills. Through work with the legal sector, Unispace ​has observed the importance of in-person mentorship. For example, at the office, junior associates are frequently assigned seats beside senior partners, enabling the former to acquire work-related knowledge, and learn critical social and client interaction skills from the latter.

As companies continue to navigate the future of work, the workplace should no longer be about presenteeism and routine, but rather become a purpose-built space with specific functions. Beyond protective health measures and digital infrastructure, the office must enable employees to spend time with each other, and empower growth through mentorship—hence the need for areas that support collaboration and social connection. At Unispace, recent workplace projects have focused on helping companies bring their people together—the recent redesign of Boston Scientific’s regional headquarters featured social-focused spaces such as a collaboration lounge and training centre.

Amidst the new normal, employers that demonstrate their authentic brand and express the company’s purpose through a standout workplace experience, will achieve greater success in attracting younger talent. Ultimately, this will also contribute to greater fulfillment, mental wellbeing, loyalty, and overall retentio
n.

Kri
stian Jones is the lead designer for Unispace in Asia. He has worked on projects across China, Southeast Asia, London and Dubai. Apart from corporate workplace design, Kristian brings broad expertise across user experience design, creative direction, workplace and retail strategy, concept and technical design, branding, and team management.


 IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK

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