More needs to be done to help staff adjust to a hybrid working environment says Lincolnshire Managing Director, as research from the University of Leeds shows a 9% increase in staff wishing to work from the office, however, just 22% report their office has been redesigned to support the new flexible working regime.
Lincolnshire-based commercial interior design and fit out company APSS specialise in creating efficient workspaces to help streamline businesses. Following on from initial research in April 2021, where only 58% of staff wished to work from the office in some form (either full time or a 50/50 split), the most recent research indicates that six months on, 67% now want to have some form of office base for most of the week.
“Many of our customers are telling us that working from home is having a significant impact on the culture of the business. They want to bring people back into the office as much as they can to help revitalize the company values and the collaboration that has been harder to achieve at a distance, but most importantly to bring back the office banter.
“The longer people work primarily from home, the more disconnected they feel from the company they work for. This research shows, as we move further away from the initial impact of the pandemic, more people want to return to the office to keep that connection to colleagues and the business strong,” Laurence Barrass, MD for APSS said.
“It doesn’t matter if you have the best-looking office in the world, if you haven’t adjusted the layout to how you are now working, it can have a detrimental impact on both your staff and the efficiency of your business. But it’s such a simple thing to fix. As an employer, you need to stop, take a step back and ask, ‘What is it that no longer works?’
“Listening to your staff is key to getting the best from your workforce. Experience has shown that we want everyone to perform and produce. Making sure the office is set up right is the way you do that.
“When you know the answer to that, you can put a plan in place. This will enable your staff to be more productive and morale can quickly improve,” Laurence said.
Following a survey of more than 1,000 office workers across the UK, it appears many employers are still working things out as they go, instead of taking a planned approach.
“We can really see customers embracing a new way of working and seeing the positives in reorganizing their workspace to help them get the best from their work area and staff. We have spoken so much about how people still want the open-plan office environment and culture to survive. Maybe not in the way it was pre-pandemic, but still in some form to provide the ability for staff to bond,” Laurence continued.
“Although businesses appear to be more confident with how they will work going forward, we appreciate there is still a lot of uncertainty in the air,” said Laurence. “Understandably, businesses do not want to invest a lot of money in a temporary solution. Creating a planned approach as to how to move forward and seeing what could be improved in your office, can have long term positive effects. This includes increased staff productivity, morale and efficiency.
“It is so important to have an office that works for your business in both style and layout. There are some really easy ways to adapt your office without having to commit to a full refurbishment,” Laurence continued. “Take a step back and look at how you are now working as a team. If you’re implementing a hybrid working policy, do you now need more meeting spaces or more Zoom meeting rooms to allow for privacy when in the office? Do you need less in the way of desk space as you only have half of your staff in at any one time?
“Installing glass partitions to create more meeting space can be a huge help to businesses who need to create additional privacy and it is relatively easy to do with demountable partitions. It also means if your requirements change later down the line, these can easily be relocated if needed.”
With nearly 25 years of experience in office design, refurbishment and fit outs, APSS has helped businesses across the UK provide effective, inspirational and productive work environments. With a growing team of over 35 staff, experts are always on hand to help customers create the best working environment.