April 1, 2024

In-office or on-sofa? Where Gen Z fits in the workplace

Michael Karamanoukian

Marketing Intern

The work-from-home phenomenon has swept the nation, and I, a recent college graduate new to the workforce, am pretty happy about it. Not because WFH makes me feel like Ferris Bueller on his day off, but because it gives me more flexibility and satisfaction from 9-5.

At Curiosity, those of us who are located near the office in Cincinnati, go in three times a week and WFH the other two. While it’s nice hanging with my dogs and getting caught up on laundry on Mondays and Fridays, I also enjoy coming into the office to see my colleagues and tap into certain perks – which I’ll get into later.  

It’s no secret that many companies are deciding between going fully in-office or remote. For those decision-makers out there, I say this; don’t focus on which one is best because both have their benefits, especially for the emerging workforce. 

Wiser from water cooler chats

With apps like Google Meet and Zoom, working outside of the office has never been easier. So why are agencies renewing their leases?

First and foremost the socialization aspect of the office is key to doing great work. Humans are social creatures that thrive on personal connection. Strong relationships among teams lead to greater trust and success. This is crucial in advertising where great chemistry is everything. The more chemistry a team has, the more efficient, creative, and productive it is.

Being in the office also provides clearer communication, which is very important to me as a young professional just beginning his career. In the office, there is no need to send a Slack message to someone, hoping that they understand my ask and respond in a timely manner. I can just walk over to their desk, get the clarity I need, and keep grinding. Doing this, I’ve received exceptional mentorship since the environment is open and feedback is more detailed. 

In the spirit of March Madness, I’ll give you a basketball example – imagine you had a coach coaching you from a video call vs on the court with you for the majority of the time. They could advise you well and get the job done, but it would be far better for your understanding and their coaching to be in person. 

Sweatpants equity

Let me be clear, working from home has its perks too. Sometimes it’s nice to have a break from coming into the office every single day. There’s no need to worry about the traffic on my commute. And as a person who likes to sleep in, I can wake up a little later. Home is also where my dogs are along with my coffee maker, choice of office chair/sofa, and comfy clothes. 

However, when I work remotely it can feel like I am just completing tasks, checking them off one by one to get to the end of the day. In the office, I feel the team camaraderie and energy motivating me to push myself for better work. In other words, I feel more like a part of the team in-office than WFH. I believe my team feels the same about me. With more interactions they trust me to do great work and give me more projects, improving my skills. 

So … what’s best for Gen Z?

From my experience, hybrid work has few downsides. It provides a better work-life balance, reduces feelings of burnout, and allows me the freedom for more space or collaboration as needed. Also, not driving into the office every day saves time and money. On the flip side, going to the office provides a break from an otherwise monotonous week at home. In short, there’s something for everyone. And when there’s something for everyone, everybody wins.

The hybrid model keeps work interesting. It’s dynamic, keeping my energy on the higher end for most of the week. At a time when where many feel like they have to choose, why not have both? If you find yourself in a decision-making position about the future of your workplace, take it from a hungry, recent grad: Go hybrid.

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