Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder for Working in the Office

Article originally posted on AZ Big Media on September 17, 2020

With concerns about COVID-19 still lingering in the Phoenix metropolitan area, many workplaces have yet to welcome their employees back to the office. How productive employees are while working remotely is a mixed bag. Some love it, some hate it, and most are just trying to make the most of a bad situation and have adjusted to the current reality. 

AZRE Magazine reached out to some NAIOP Arizona members to ask them how they are handling not being in their fully-staffed offices, what they miss about the office environment, and how they feel this current trend of remote working will affect future office policy. 

AZRE magazine posed questions on the topic to Linda Bruce (LB), vice president and commercial account manager at Fidelity National Title; Jamie Godwin (JG), president and CEO of Stevens-Leinweber Construction, Inc.; and Nick Shepherd (NS), vice president of commercial real estate banking for Bankers Trust.

AZRE: How much have you personally missed the office environment and why?

Linda Bruce

NS: While I have enjoyed the casualness that comes with working from home, I definitely miss the community aspect of our office. The camaraderie between my co-workers and the “pop-up” conversations that can occur when a question or thought comes to mind is difficult to achieve over the phone or a zoom call. My personality leans more towards the extrovert side, so I tend to draw energy from being around others – those are the pieces I miss most about the office environment.

LB: Since our company is a qualified ‘essential business, our offices have remained open with Branch Managers and our Leadership at the helm and many employees working from home.  From my own experience, I have been an ‘in-market’ employee for over 20 years and although it isn’t for everyone, once I learned the art of falling in to the  ‘working from home’ groove, I prefer it.  I’m less distracted when focusing on a project and since I’m on the Business Development side of our business, prior to Covid, I was in the field much of the time so was able to get my ‘people fix’.  I have missed the office environment and the opportunity to connect with people since there is no substitute for one-on-one  face time together.

JG: The way our space is set up, I am fortunate to have been able to continue to work from my Stevens-Leinweber office during the pandemic. We’ve implemented staggered schedules and work-from-home models at various times, and we currently have a mask policy for those physically in the office. I believe having me present throughout has provided consistency, supported job stability and created a pivot point for collaboration – even if we’re collaborating in different ways right now to ensure everyone’s safety.

Jamie Godwin

AZRE: What are some of the biggest benefits of working in the office as opposed to working from home?

JG: Offices give you the built-in efficiencies of a central administrative hub and the ability to separate yourself from the distractions of home. They also provide a venue for spontaneous, day-to-day interactions between team members that wouldn’t happen any other way. These exchanges can help strengthen working relationships and often involve sharing beneficial information that may not have had the opportunity to be discussed otherwise. In these ways, a real time, face-to-face environment contributes significantly to the culture of a firm, making it easier for team members to feel engaged and a part of something bigger than themselves.

NS: Being around people, sharing ideas, working through questions or problems as they come up and a change of scenery are all things I believe the office environment can provide that working from home cannot.

LB: From my position, communication, innovation and connection.  I am very team oriented so working on a project and communicate with our departments and utilize our resources allows me to continue to focus on the overall success of that  project and most importantly our clients.  Communication has been the key to our success as a company navigating our way through this season.  Our team became innovative very quickly and implemented daily calls, video first meetings internally through learning how to master Teams and Zoom which helped us stay connected in a virtual world.  Connecting with those we work with is essential and technology has been a huge benefit during this time.  We may connect differently in our future with safe distancing, masks and additional protocol however,  Zoom Calls, Teams and emails will never replace the true connection with people.

Find Complete Article Here: https://azbigmedia.com/real-estate/commercial-real-estate/absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder-for-working-in-the-office/