The hybrid way of working isn’t a new concept. It’s just taking a pandemic to bring the movement forward, arguably ahead of its time. As the global pandemic appears to be coming to an end, all eyes in the business world turn to the elephant in the room. This is how could they be using their space better and should they bother looking for a new office space to rent?
The necessity to work from home has become a clear talking point. More employees and businesses than ever are embracing the idea of a split work week. Spending some of their time working from home while the rest of the time they are spending in the company office.
Yet, 46% of non-management employees don’t feel significantly engaged in their work or that their workplace needs are being met (Source: The Happy Office Life Report 2020).
The pandemic has brought to mind the benefits of this setup. Including how it has benefited employees on both an emotional and practical level. Some of these pros are being seen quite clearly:
- More time with the family
- Less stress from the commute
- A more relaxed environment to work
- Increased productivity
The list goes on, however, there are some underlying issues that working solely from home has brought to the surface. Organising a team is always difficult. Let alone dragging them in, kicking and screaming from their couch at home. It has fallen to companies to make themselves more welcoming to their employees. Particularly ones who believe that now the tides have changed. With them working from home, they no longer need to attend the office.
Research shows that since the beginning of Covid-19 a vast majority of workers have migrated towards the use of remote working. Sources say that 72% of companies rolling out the widespread use of collaboration apps.
Of course, there is more to the office than simply a place to work. Businesses that maintain their office space will find an increased bonding that could be the ‘new foundations’ of the company culture.
Social Ties in Offices
There have been countless studies showing that most people want to return to the office, albeit for only part of the week. Having the office as a destination to rebuild in-person friendships at work is exciting. However, it has become a ‘must’ due to the growing number of workers who have experienced loneliness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to its forcing of businesses to go towards remote working.
Once disconnected on a physical level, digital conversation and meetings do not do justice compared to physically seeing your co-workers. Even the most introverted amongst us still require a level of physical contact and physical verbalisation to keep us socially sustained.
Have you ever had a misunderstanding over a phone call or text conversation? Me too. That’s why in most cases, it’s easier to speak to someone face to face, as opposed to speaking to someone digitally. As humans, we react better to physical stimuli. Whether that’s a look, a tone of voice or a particular phrase that someone we know uses. It all adds up to a rewarding and open conversation between colleagues.
This is getting somewhat muted when you are taking away the physical element of meeting in person. Particularly when debates are needing to be had over projects. Even utilising video links and video chatting apps like Zoom has its downsides.
When conversing, humans show micro-expressions which enable us to pick up on how others are feeling. Also what they are thinking as well as giving us the feeling of having a personable conversation. When video chatting, these tiny signs are being missed, which leaves us feeling shallow satisfaction after a conversation. The phrase “It was nice, but it’s not as good as speaking to you in person” comes to mind when we think of this.
Speaking face-to-face is an excellent way to convey empathy, sympathy and humour. A good conversation between colleagues can see the two bonding over the said conversation, forming emotional connections on a subconscious level. There is no doubt that there is a practicality to using video meetings as a way to update staff. Also, form business plans and speak to clients and colleagues overseas. However, it has to be said that it is still nowhere near as satisfying as the real thing.
This being taken into account, it’s easy to see why businesses are still looking to keep hold of their office space to rent. Even if they are downsizing.
Wellbeing is Priority (Not Just in the Office)
Maintaining a Work/Life balance is normally difficult.
In some ways, the move to working from home has not helped that issue.
Getting up with the sun to make their daily commute or finishing work at the last minute. All the while having only moments to rush for the train is a stressful part of working. On the other hand, working from home comes with its own set of challenges. Burnout and stress are becoming common adversities on people. All taking their toll on employees re-evaluating the expectations of their new workloads and newly formed working patterns.
From research, surveys have shown that what they think their company could do better to address burnout and stress while working from home. 55% said it would help if their employer kept communication and work expectations within set office hours.
As part of a wellbeing strategy, offices should be a place that promotes wellbeing and positivity. Encouraging those who will not be working in a hybrid way to want to come to the office. There are a number of ways in which employers can take turn their offices into wellbeing hubs for their employees to thrive.
Since the beginning of Covid-19, large-scale studies are finding that over 40% of participants are saying the pandemic is negatively affecting their mental health.
In a study taken from workers in the US, 60% of respondents said they think that the pandemic has changed the way they work for the better. This means that a hybrid way of working could spell better work-life balance for most.
Turn Your Office into a Wellbeing Hub
Let’s turn our attention to some of the ways in which you can make your workspace a more desirable place to work.
- Bring them together – Bring your tribe together, as a general rule people often find themselves more motivated when they can see and speak to their colleagues. Companies that rent office space in London and other large cities have the opportunity to create and sustain a thriving culture. This will of course improve team bonding.
- Casual Dress –Most employees are feeling more comfortable at work if they are being allowed to dress in a smart casual manner. I’m not saying that tracksuits and shorts are to become the norm. However, there is a time and a place for business suits.
- Encourage transparency – Hold face to face team meetings and one-to-one sessions to gauge your employee’s feelings on their roles and projects. Feeling respected and valued is key to improving workplace wellbeing.
- Plan scheduled breaks – It’s said that we can be working for around 90 minutes before distractions start to creep in. Encourage your employee to take breaks in order to reduce the build-up of work-related stress.
Office Space for Rent | The pandemic most certainly brought around some dramatic changes to the way we operate as businesses. Despite logistical issues and technical issues, the consensus of a hybrid approach to working from both the home and the office seems very promising.
It seems important then that companies have the option of mixing up the working week for their employees. Balancing between home and their rented office space should consider this an option going forward. Changing their rented office space to suit the needs of their employees.
It is vital that employers get it right. That is really understanding what their employees expect from both their remote working and their attitudes towards their office. A holistic wellbeing strategy could prove to be the foundation that makes or breaks company objectives. These can include things such as talent attraction and retention.