Lots of research has been carried out recently about the future of the workplace. Most office workers want their future work setting to blend remote and office environments. Apparently just under one in ten would opt for permanent remote working. Remote working isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are social creatures and like the interaction, chats and friendships that develop in the office.
The traditional office isn’t going to disappear anytime soon
So, as all research is telling us, not all workers will choose to stay remote working. The majority of employees will still be coming into the office, even if not every day. Although there will be fewer people working on company premises at any given time.
The immediate priority will be health and safety
According to research, the first priority when re-opening office buildings will be to create a sense of physical and psychological safety in the workplace. Despite the encouraging news of the vaccine roll out, research found that two-thirds of workers would like to have health precautions in place even after they go back to the office.
Remember Maslow’s pyramid of needs—most of us learned about it in school. At the bottom of the pyramid is safety, and it’s always been something people require. But it probably wasn’t something the average person thought about, until Covid came to our door. Today, people want everything from good air quality and adherence to safety protocols to cleanliness and physical distancing. The office will have to provide these.
Companies will, therefore, be modifying office layouts to maintain social distancing and taking extra measures for cleanliness and sanitation. Indoor Air Quality monitoring, proper ventilation and air cleaning technology will become standard expectations.
A sense of belonging
Another reason people want to come back to the office is because they miss that sense of belonging, while working from home. They miss colleagues.
Work is fundamentally social and is typically a place to meet the need for connection —whether it’s with one or two close colleagues or a team of 20. Time with others can also be a source of stimulation and can lead to inspiring ideas – those water cooler chats, conversations over a good coffee.
Believe it or not the office provides sense of community. Research confirms that this is a key time for employers to invest in providing an outstanding office experience, in order to attract workers back in as frequently as possible.
Small wins include refreshing amenities, building in the brand and its values as part of design- the personalised coffee bar or snack zone. This adds to the sense of a community experience. It’s important to ask what the workplace can say about the organisation and these nudges help support the return to work by celebrating what’s special about the organisation.
A refreshment hub with great coffee, healthy snacking and chilled water is something that will help to encourage employees back to the office. Touch free coffee machines will also help to further protect employees and prevent cross contamination in the office. For many employees, it will be a year since they have been in the office. What a great way to welcome them back in – an office refresh – and central to this, a refreshment hub.