Inspiring staff to choose the office over home

07 Oct 2020

future of working covid-19 office life office design health & wellbeing

Three fifths now prefer a mix of working from the office and home. But is communication and collaboration being hampered? The key to reversing the trend is to understand what's making staff want to stay home.

Lockdown resulted in the biggest ‘work from home’ experiment ever, with the vast majority of the island’s workforce spending more than two months operating from their kitchen tables.

But four months on from restrictions being lifted, many seem to have been bitten by the WFH bug, and businesses are struggling to get their staff back into the office. On the surface this may not appear too problematic, as many tasks can be completed remotely with relative ease. But with communication and collaboration more important than ever, bosses fear they are missing an important part of what makes a business tick – its people, all together in one place.

In Guernsey, initial results of our post-covid survey show that more than a quarter of respondents are still working from home in some form. Of those who completed our survey, 9% work fully from home now, with 6% working from home for the majority of the week. More than 22% of respondents who now work from home chose to do so without pressure from their employer.

In order to work out how to draw people back into the office, it’s important to understand what is keeping them at home. Unsurprisingly, islanders found they enjoyed spending more time with their families and most felt that they were as productive at home as they are in the office. But the main reasons given for people preferring the WFH regime are not having to commute and not having to get dressed.

It has always been our belief at POS that a content worker is a more productive worker. In fact, studies have found that people who are happy in their job are 31% more productive than those who are negative, neutral or stressed. If employing a dress down policy – where possible – and making slight changes to start and finish times (to avoid the worst of the tailbacks) can improve an employee’s wellbeing, then surely that can only be a good thing?

More than half of those we surveyed (54.7%) said their office space didn’t inspire them and that they would prefer less noise and more green spaces. Next on the ‘would-be-nice-to-have’ list are better IT facilties and improvements to kitchens. Again, employers can make simple adjustments to their workspaces which address staff wants and needs.

An uncomfortable workspace was the worst part of working from home according to respondents, and nearly a quarter of those who took part in our survey are concerned about working from home during a possible second wave because they don’t have a good home workspace (23.8%). Making the office environment comfortable and inspiring will go some way to drawing people back in at this stage.

Only 12% actually prefer working from home, with 61.3% favouring a mix of home and work; for 26.7% the office is the place they want to be. Some cost-effective business decisions could easily see these figures swing the other way. The key for employers is providing a comfortable, attractive environment that will be seen as a haven rather than a chore.

For ideas on how to improve your office and entice reluctant staff members back into the office, get in touch with us. Call the showroom on 740222 or email [email protected]