Returning to Work

16 Jun 2020

Health & Well-Being Active Working Productivity

We’re going back! Guernsey is the first place in the British Isles that is covid-free. This huge achievement is credit to our rigorous track and trace system, along with the unwavering community spirit and strict following of the lockdown rules that have resulted in the virus being eliminated. We are now at the forefront of the world that will be returning to work in ‘normal’ circumstances...

What does this mean for offices here? And staff’s perception of the office?

Funnily enough, the drive to improve the office’s reputation as  ‘boring’ was already gaining speed but now there is a whole new aspect to this that no one could have predicted.

It is now more important than ever that the office is the social hub of the business. Our survey found that most people missed the social interaction of the office - even though they felt just as productive at home and preferred their work/ life balance since working from home.

This tells us an important distinguishment in the dynamic of what we thought the office’s purpose was. Before it was thought as the best place to simply to get your head down, with as little distraction as possible. The less the distraction the better; more space to focus, right? Wrong.

These “deep concentration” tasks, where you need complete and uninterrupted focus on your work may be better suited to a home office, where you can truly be in a concentration cocoon. This was forced upon all office workers during lockdown, and many still had to juggle home schooling with the kids at home as well!

Now we are entering the new working normal, with less pressure for parents due to schools being reopened, we predict there to still be a strong desire to continue working from home to some degree.

Well-being and the return to the office

This could be a problem for businesses, we know already that the happier you are, the more productive you are too. General well-being goes up, stress goes down, sick days become less frequent: this all sounds ideal, right?

So, it is worth the investment to ensure that staff are supported to choose how they work best, this can be anything from home work stations to collaboration ‘break-out’ zones, where people can come together to bounce ideas and work together.

Many have predicted that the traditional big offices “may be a thing of the past” (Jes Staley, Barclay’s Bank chief executive), just as cubicles and row upon row of desks have become outdated over the years.

The office will still hold a major role in the future of working as “social beehives”, however a restructuring of now outdated preconceptions of what an office “is” or “should be” could happen. The days of the rigid 9-5 may be over, and we think for the better!

Think of the office as a beehive…

The office is a social hub, a place where your staff can collaborate, bounce ideas from each other and collectively come together for project work. The design of the environment to nurture this will be important, as using space for maximum workstation density is no longer required.

Break-out zones and collaboration furniture through intelligent design will be most useful; with ergonomically design home workstations to fully aid “deep work” concentration tasks at home.

The freedom for staff to choose how and where staff work best is a real game changer in terms of well-being and productivity. Also, historic thoughts of thinking of the office as “boring” could soon become outdated as businesses work towards making sure they are a fun place to be.

Like what you hear? We specialise in workplace design and have a range of home workstation options that can fulfil all kinds of working. Get in contact with sal[email protected]