16 February 2023 - Clare Davy

Why working from the office can support your growth

Onboarding Development Lead Clare Davy shares why working together from the office can bring out the best in high performers like our team members.

A high-performing team

At efm, we’re a high-performance organisation, made up of a fantastic team of high performing individuals. We’re a curious bunch, motivated by life-long learning. In my role as Onboarding Development Lead, I’m always looking for ways to empower our employees’ growth. One of the critical insights I’ve found is that working together from the office can be beneficial for high performers like our team. Here’s why:

1. Superior problem solving with the team

Picture this. You’re developing a strategic solution for a customer. You’ve been proudly curating a solution that will save them thousands in freight costs but then you come up against an issue. You’re due to present to the customer tomorrow but there’s this gaping hole you need some help with.

When you’re in the office, you’re never alone. One of our cultural values is ‘Together we make a difference’ and we really believe this to be true. In our business, challenges and disruptions are inevitable and so we have processes to suit. Our Customer Service Team Leads are always roaming, checking in on team members. Senior Internal Account Managers aren’t assigned particular portfolios; they exist to support the other team members with theirs. Throughout the day, across the business, we have impromptu huddles to workshop issues as they arise.

Research from Maastricht University and Erasmus University found that for situations where there was complexity, pressure and the need for speed, being in person is superior to being online. That’s why for our work ­– which can be complex, intense and sometimes require swift decision making – we choose to be with our teammates.

2. An environment that fosters your best work

Your surroundings influence your mood, your behaviour and even your work. Would you prefer sitting with your laptop at the kitchen table surrounded by post-breakfast detritus or in an architecturally-designed, state-of-the-art office with on-site café? We know which we prefer.

Our offices have been designed to be places that we want to come to every day. The warm tones, bold black trim, soft lighting, polished concrete and vibrant artwork create modern workspaces that allow us to breathe, to focus and get our best work done.

Everybody has a laptop, so we can move around the office as we like. Whether we choose to work from a quiet room for high-focused work, a causal booth to meet with a colleague or time out in the café, we have the freedom to make our day our own.

3. Positivity and performance are contagious

When you work with other high performers, their presence brings out the best in you. A longitudinal study of 656 NBA players found that players scored more points when their fellow team members scored more points.

Not only can our peers bring out the best in us, they can also make us feel better. ‘Emotional contagion’ is the idea that humans synchronise with the emotions of people around them. Think of it this way: if someone is happy and smiles at you, the act of smiling back improves your mood.

Being surrounded by friendly, supportive co-workers builds a happiness in a workplace and improves our performance, wellbeing and overall experience at work.

4. Learning and development opportunities

When you start in an organisation – and particularly when you’re first starting out in your career – there is so much you don’t know. You don’t even know what you don’t know! Coming from this place you might find it challenging to find the information you need to learn and grow.

Working in person with peers and leaders gives you invaluable learning opportunities. As a new Account Manager for instance, observing how your Regional Account Manager holds themselves in a meeting and interacts with the client can provide immense value. Over time you will build up a wealth of ‘tacit knowledge’ – that which we accumulate through personal experience and context. It can be difficult to put it into words; we just ‘know it’. Your bank of tacit knowledge will be a lot richer from diverse in-person experiences.

Working in the office also gives you opportunity to increase your visibility with leadership. When you’re walking the same halls as your leaders and joining wider meetings and social events, it’s more likely you will be recognised for your contributions and thought of for the next opportunity.

5. Incidental social connection

Interacting face-to-face with people is good for our wellbeing. Research shows that social interaction releases oxytocin and dopamine which increase mood and lower pain levels, and it decreases cortisol, which lowers stress. It isn’t just the meetings that matter, but also the incidental ‘water cooler’ conversation at break out spaces around the office that provide a valuable sense of connection.

Another benefit of incidental social connection is the accumulation of social capital. Social capital is a set of shared values that allows individuals to work together as a team toward a shared goal. In personal life you can think of social capital as why you feel comfortable asking your neighbour to get your mail while you’re on holidays. You trust each other and you’re happy doing small favours for one another. Social capital is important in society at large, in small communities and certainly in the workplace where you’re trying to get things done.

Could this be the place for you?

When you step into one of our offices you will notice a certain buzz in the air. We have an energy. We don’t go through the motions. We’re here because we want to be. We find it fun to make an impact every day and we enjoy it even more because of the fantastic people here with us.

If you think you’d be a good fit, you can get more insight into a day in the life of some of our team members by watching these videos, and take a look at current vacancies here. We look forward to hopefully seeing you around the office!

efm team walking to meeting

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