Why the next generation need us to spend time in the office

Working from home has a lot of benefits, especially for those with families. But we need experienced sales people to commit to time in the office to show those just coming into the industry what the job's all about. If they don't the future will start to look very bleak, very quickly.

As a recruiter, we have a lot of discussions about the need for flexible working and it's great that businesses are now, on the whole, more open to the idea of remote working.

But to get the best out of our workforce, we need to strike the right balance between WFH and working at the office. Senior sales people need to step up, get into the office and be there to support the next generation coming in. And businesses need to have the confidence to insist that their sales teams and senior new hires regularly come into the office. I can assure you, you'll still have a very decent pool of candidates to choose from, if you do.

But why is time in the office so important?

Learning by osmosis

It can be very easy to misjudge the amount of business experience and personal development that can happen naturally when you're together with colleagues in an office.

As a newcomer, you can soak up so much simply by being surrounded by more experienced team members and this is especially true if you're in sales. You can listen to phone conversations and learn how to handle questions and rejection, just by being there. It's a far more valuable way to share this kind of expertise than trying to explain it remotely on a Teams meeting or worse still with a PowerPoint presentation.

In fact, I believe, that experienced members of the workforce have a duty to sure up their expertise with the next generation of employees and doing that side by side in an office is always going to be the best way to do this.

Knowing what hard work looks like

But office life is particularly important when times are tough. There's no denying that things are hard out there, the economy is slow and sales roles are a slog. If you're just starting out and you've never experienced a recession or economic slowdown, it can be demoralising and it's not always obvious what you need to do when you're having a really bad day, week, month. If you're sitting at home on your own, who wouldn't feel isolated and want to just give up?

If you're in an office, however, and you have colleagues who have been around the block a few times, you'll quickly see that you're all in the same boat and that you need to hunker down, grind it out and eventually you'll start to make headway. 

We need face-to-face collaboration

Being together in an office also allows you to work collaboratively on specific tasks in a much more beneficial way. While it can be relatively effective to do creative idea generation sessions remotely, using video conferencing, it's just not the case with task focused collaborations. As a sales person, nothing beats having an experienced, supportive colleague or boss by your side as you make those first few calls -  the one-to-one feedback and the specific recommendations are invaluable and it's just not possible to do this remotely.

We are a tribal bunch

But we all know that office life is about so much more than just the work and the power of office social get togethers cannot be underestimated. While you might learn the tools of your trade working alongside your colleagues, you build lasting relationships by getting together outside the office. Having a workforce bonded together in this way is good for morale and good for business, no matter what the economy throws at you.