A whole year later and people are starting to think about if, when and how to bring employees back into the office. But what will this ‘new’ office look like?
We recently attended an online conversation hosted by Bruce Daisley looking at the subject of ‘Returning to the Office’. A key takeaway from the conversation was that we’ve proved an office isn’t needed to carry on, but that a lot of businesses want some kind of base, even if it’s used very differently in the future. Bruce produces a fantastic podcast – Eat Sleep Work Repeat which is also well worth adding to your playlist.
So, when you are weighing up the future of your office, what are the factors you need to consider?
Your legal responsibility
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers from risks to their health and safety, and this now includes Covid-19. Carrying out a risk assessment is a key part of this as it will help identify areas for improvement and make sure you have done everything you need to. Key areas to consider are social distancing, manging customers, visitors or contractors and cleaning.
All business in the UK are now also able to sign up to the governments free workplace testing programme.
Do you need the same size office as before?
Many companies are assessing their office needs and the outcome in many cases seems to be – less is more. As many staff are working from home either full or part of the time, a smaller more flexible office will work better in many cases.
Do you need more collaborative spaces?
Reducing the number of desks needed in the office frees up space for more informal meeting areas or breakout spaces. These will be invaluable in allowing staff to meet, build community and collaborate whilst also observing social distancing.
Concentrating on well being
Ergonomics has been a buzz word in office environments for many years, but this latest challenge has heightened the importance of workplace wellbeing. Offices will need to include a variety of working environments to accommodate both individuals and team working. Investing in good quality furniture means offering a level of adjustability that allows staff to be as supported and comfortable as possible. This also applies to home set ups.
Moving forward landlords will need to be more flexible to allow businesses and tenants to adapt their businesses. This may include greater use of short-term leases and break clauses. With an increase in demand for smaller spaces, breaking up or reconfiguring larger spaces may be required.
We are all in this together
Never has this phrase had more meaning – both employers and employees need to work together to create dynamic, productive, and enjoyable workplaces. Spaces that allow staff to feel safe, secure and valued by their employer will see employers reap the benefits of increased productivity, moral and staff retention.
Love Your Workspace has been creating innovative spaces for over 15 years, alongside sister company Posture People. We work with companies of all different sizes who want to invest in their space to promote wellbeing and foster productivity. If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you, please give us a call on 0330 332 0880.