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FAQ: Return to the Workplace

Answering your questions about the return to the workplace

4 min read
Office meeting room fit with desk and television with branded window graphics.

Do people actually want to return to the office?

Everyone has had different experiences working from home throughout the pandemic and every team has different thoughts about going back to the office. Some are apprehensive about the return to normality and others are looking forward to getting back to life as it was before COVID-19.

From our experience working with organisations over the past 6 months on their return-to-work plans, we have found that in most instances around 5-10% of staff would like to work from home full-time. However, the predominant consensus is that around 60-70% of staff are hoping to be able to work in the office 2-3 days a week and work from home the rest.

What activities do people want to come back into the office for?

The exhaustion of video conference calls has led to the longing of in-person meetings without the constant “you’re on mute”. Being in the workplace sparks ad-hoc conversations and spontaneous exchanges. These informal catch ups ensure knowledge is being shared between workers and brainstorming out loud can promote productivity.

However, there are some activities that workers are enjoying having the opportunity to do at home. Reading or reviewing documents is for most a little easier to do in a quiet environment to avoid distraction and have no disruption from colleagues. Working in a quiet environment also allows for more focus time to read and reply to emails.

Glass office meeting room with large desk and light features.

If some employees don’t wish to return to the office, how can they be encouraged to?

Communication is key. To ensure your employees are comfortable and optimistic about the return to work you must be transparent with them and keep them informed with any progress that is taking place with the workplace. Once workers feel a level of trust with their employee then they will be reassured that they’re in safe hands and likely feel more encouraged to return.

How can companies ensure that their workplace is as productive as working from home?

Some have found home to be a more productive environment to work in, with no distraction. However many are looking forward to going back to work around their colleagues again. But how do we ensure productivity remains whilst working collaboratively. A workspace that is designed with your employees needs in mind will always create a more motivating environment. Every team has different needs, whether it be focus booths or creating lots of collaboration space for group work. Perhaps you might need some additional small meeting room space to allow staff the quiet they need to get the focus work they have been doing so well at home. If employees are equipped in their workplaces to do their job then it will get done.

Do we need to do anything to our HVAC system to make the environment safer?

Providing a high air quality will soon be essential as part of the wellbeing focus in the workplace. Returning to a safe workplace is essential to enabling productivity and innovation at work.

Meet with building manager and/or engineer to inquire about HVAC procedures and discuss your air quality and risk of infection during the pandemic. Ensure that adequate maintenance is being performed on the HVAC by requesting results of air quality testing, inquiring as to whether the system is cleaned and filters changed on a regular basis. Depending on the terms of your lease agreement, this maintenance may be your responsibility. If this is the case, speak to us about our Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) service offering.

Where are companies making the most change to their workplaces?

Work after the pandemic is going to look a lot different to how it did before and priorities in the workplace have changed. Office design now more than ever has a strong sense of wellbeing in mind. Now is an opportunity to ensure your workplace is ready to welcome back employees into a unified and cohesive workspace.

Working from home has naturally decreased the opportunity of collaborative work. Despite being able to jump on a video call, many are missing ad-hoc face-to-face interactions. Surveys show that around 80-90% of employees are seeking to come back into the office, purely due to missing the ability to work collaboratively. As a result of this need for human interaction we have seen several companies making modifications to their offices so that they have additional fit-for-purpose spaces that will facilitate these face-to-face interactions in a safe way.

Some companies that we are undergoing projects with are now adjusting their once larger meeting room or board room style spaces to become more flexible style spaces that allow for re-adjustment through foldable walls or partitioning so that they can facilitate both large and small meetings in one space.

What kind of financial investment is it going to take?

Financial investment is dependent on each and every company varying with your specific needs and budget. A complete redesign of your workplace will come at a greater cost than just implementing small changes such as desk-booking apps to ensure the office is Covid secure.

If you want to find out more about how you can ensure your workplace is ready for the return of your employees then get in touch today –