COVID-19: Ways To Convert Your Office
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Many of us have relished working from home. The relaxed commute from the bedroom to our computer in some corner of the house has lowered levels of stress and anxiety. Being able to spend more time with our families has also been a bonus for many, along with the healthier bank balances. How much have we saved on train fares and coffees? This is not the case for everyone though. It really does depend on personal circumstances and the particular industry you are.
With Covid restrictions being lifted in the very near future, we will begin to head back to the office. Many believe that the office life we were so used to has gone forever. There is no need for us to sit at our desks for five days a week, eight hours a day when we can achieve more at home. But there are also workers who are desperate to get back to office culture. The chats around the water cooler, the team work, and the end of the day social drinks. There is also lot to be said for face to face collaboration. All those team building exercises we used to do were there for a reason. A tight knot team works like a well oiled engine which is something you can’t achieve over Zoom. Remote work, while undeniably cost-effective, tends to significantly inhibit collaboration even over digital channels. While studying a major technology company from 2008 to 2012, a study by the Harvard Business Review found that remote workers communicated nearly 80% less about their assignments than office workers did; in 17% of projects they didn’t communicate at all.
The Return to the Office
A balanced approach is going to be the way forward. Many people will have mixed feelings about travelling on public transport or mixing with others in the office. People should be able to choose to work from home and come into the office when necessary. What is important is that employees feel safe and that their concerns are listened to. There is little point in forcing people back to office if it causes anxiety. However it would seem that the majority of workers are keen to return to the office. A recent survey by The Harris Poll found that 72 percent of over 1,100 employed adults said they are ready to return to their company’s office. Socialising with co-workers (52 percent) and collaborating in person (46 percent) topped the list of reasons employees said they wish to return to their office.
It is important that your business creates a positive office culture in order for your employees to want to come back to the office. When attitudes and behaviours are positive, productivity increases, quality staff want to stay with you and you attract good staff. If people are happy, it stands to reason that they are more likely to produce good results and will want to return to their desks.
To encourage people to work in the office, it is important that that they feel it is a place they want to come to. Remember, we’ve been used to working from home so if you are able, add some familiar comforts, such as comfy seating and places to relax with ambient lighting. This will help people to feel inspired and creative. Arrange social gatherings for your staff such as drinks after work or a free lunch! It’s things like this that gets people talking, it also makes those working from home wish they were in the office. A touch of FOMO can be very encouraging sometimes!
The last eighteen months have been traumatic for us all. Our lives have been turned upside down and we have all had to adjust to a very different way of living in a very short space of time. We’re not out of the woods yet but we are attempting to return to some kind of normal. We need to be open-minded and accepting of people’s feelings towards office versus home working. What suits one person may not suit another. If we can make out offices as inviting as possible as well as being safe places to be, we are already half way there.
If you need any help or advice on how to improve your office space please do not hesitate to contact us.