Report shows importance of in person working for building work relationships

There isn’t any doubt that the transformative effect of working from home for much of 2020, and now into 2021, will have a huge impact on the future role of the office. For us to understand what this role is, we need to recognise the value of coming together to work, in person, to see how we can bring forward the best parts of in person working for our new future which is likely to involve more flexibility and choice.  

We commissioned a report, developed independently by IC&CO & Honeycomb Analytics, to explore the importance of working in person as opposed to virtually. Here are some of the key findings:


Entry-level workers and leaders are the hardest hit by remote learning

  • Entry-level employees struggle because they learn a lot informally from being around more senior staff. They learn office protocol, the social dos and don’ts of the office and working culture. Whereas leaders find it more difficult to develop culture or foster motivation remotely. Morgan Tillbrook, CEO at Financial services company Alpha FX, says: "It’s that difference between managing and leading people. Arguably, businesses may get better at managing tasks and data with remote working. But to lead people and elevate them, you have to be around them."

There are psychological reasons which suggest that we better understand each other as humans when we communicate in person rather than virtually

  • Evolutionary psychologist, Dr Diana Fleishman, is quoted in the report: "From a psychological perspective, we have a whole array of non-verbal behaviours that help us interpret the person in front of us, be it eye contact, body posture and gestures, and mirroring each other. Much of this is unavailable to us in a remote working scenario, which can compromise our interpretation of others."

Certain types of work are easier to complete in person, creative problem solving for example

  • George Bryant, CEO of Advertising Agency The Brooklyn Brothers, reflects on this: "Our product is creativity. Creativity is born of collaboration. There is also insight from a new book, yet to be published, in the report: Why Face to Face Still Matters by Martin Crookston and Jonathan Reades. Of this point around problem solving, Crookston says: Face to face is crucial when you’re in a business where the ratio of judgement to data is high."

Read the full report