There is a lot of talk in the papers of negative approaches to the return to the office, with one of the most dramatic examples being in Canada, where they put up what they called ‘playful, cheeky signs’ joking about lonely dogs and missing sweatpants – it didn’t go down well, especially for the pet lovers!
The fact is that whilst employees are now looking for greater flexibility in work hours or hybrid working, there are a lot of people that struggled with working from home full time and for whom a return to the office will be very welcome. Nearly half of all people say they experienced a lot of loneliness when working from home, with this rising to nearly three-quarters in younger workers. 40% of workers said that their sleep habits had been negatively impacted and 37% said it had negatively impacted their stress levels.
Even so, it’s a big leap and change in routine following lockdown, but by putting thought and effort into your business’s workplace, returning to the office can only be a good thing. Here’s how.
Simplify the commute
The commute can be the worst part of the day, but you can do what you can to help with that. This includes:
- Being flexible on start and end times so if people want, they can avoid the times with the most traffic or busiest public transport.
- Choosing an office location easy to get to, with easy road access and close to public transport links.
- Offering facilities for alternatives to driving such as secure, covered bicycle stands and shower facilities for those that want to cycle from nearby or combine public transport and cycling.
Make a return to the office worthwhile
There’s more to being in the office than just getting out of the house. It’s an ideal place not just to collaborate but have some fun with colleagues. There are ongoing jokes about ‘free tea and coffee’ being listed as employment benefits, but upbeat meeting treats, charity drives such as food bank collections, photo competitions for the company Instagram page, coffee break quizzes, anything to keep the office a great place to be with a community feel is worth a go.
Make use of the whole office space
If you’re in a serviced office then chances are that there are shared spaces you can use. In summer it can be worth making use of any outdoor spaces for meetings where possible, or if you’re in the countryside finding somewhere outside to spend half an hour. Make sure you encourage your team to make use of all the facilities instead of limiting themselves to the office itself.
It’s true that many people are looking forward to the return to the office, but there are also those looking for a mix. 44% of all people have said they’d like a mix of both the office and home working, so enabling your employees to do that where possible is a great way to increase retention, boost recruitment, and give everyone the best of both worlds.
We’re not out of the woods yet with COVID19 and encouraging the taking of precautions will help your team feel more safe and secure as well as minimising risk. Follow government advice and make sure your team do too.
Office space in Surrey offering a positive return to the office
If you’re looking for a serviced office space with an ideally placed location, outside spaces to enjoy, and a community feel, get in touch with SEND Business Centre for information on flexible contracts and inclusive deals.