Your office likely doesn’t have the capacity to host 50,000 guests. But imagine if it could.
Would you feel confident performing your daily duties with that many people watching and critiquing your every move?
Some of us thrive working in front of audiences. Others would be overwhelmed with nerves and feelings of self-consciousness.
Now you know how some professional athletes feel every day he or she goes to work with tens of thousands of onlookers in attendance, many of which are hurling an assortment of chants, boos and other colourful commentary.
In addition, the preferred home-field advantage is now obsolete thanks to no fans in the stands these days. As a result, more visiting teams are winning games. Perhaps the crush of pressure from the home crowd eased the players’ nerves.
But you’re not a professional athlete; you likely work in a more reserved office setting with a handful of coworkers buzzing about.
That all changed in 2020 – and it has carried into the new year – when many companies adjusted their routines and shifted to an at-home work environment.
One common fear when many businesses made the switch was that, removed from the physical office space and with no one keeping an eye on them, employees’ performances would dwindle.
However, the opposite happened. The length of a workdays increased, and with it, so did productivity.
A lot of people prefer working from home — and the majority don’t want to return to the office, at least not full-time, according to author Ben Lyttleton, who also wrote a report for Strategy + Business magazine.
Dan Abrahams, a sports psychologist, said, “More athletes than you would think are negatively impacted by a crowd.”
Much in the same way introverts flourish in quieter, more private and low-key environments.
For others, those who prefer more in-person and social interactions, working with others in the room can serve as an incentive to do well. Staff comraderie inevitably grows and builds cohesion.
No doubt, our social connections during a pandemic forced us to find new ways to come together. Technology allowed us to conduct staff meetings, lunches and dinner parties virtually – likely a first for many of us.
“Emergencies often prove to be the forge in which new ideas and opportunities are hammered out,” wrote Erica Chenoweth, professor in human rights and international affairs at Harvard University.
Lyttleton says, “Our professional behavior may still be performative, albeit in a virtual space. As we grow accustomed to new working models, these are the habits that can help build success.”