Do you remember the craze when everyone was working at their local Starbucks? It was ideal, right? Except for the noise volume and shortage of power plugs that you don’t get at an office space to rent.
Technology has indeed developed and opened up doors for remote working. This allows individuals to complete their work on their own, usually from the comfort of a café, hotel or home. This then begs the question, why do we need office spaces at all? If all we have to provide our employees with a laptop and a weekly Zoom meeting?
The short answer is that office spaces are social places. A perfect place for those who work together to build bonds, make friends and share ideas. This is not always so easy when doing so virtually. Chatting over a video link and using social media chat apps such as WhatsApp doesn’t yield the same results.
In this article, we are going to be looking at the differences in office spaces. How they have developed and how we can change them to compliment the ever-growing “work from home” style of working.
The Humble Office Worker
Since the 1980s tech-centred minds have been trying to work out the complexities of moving the humble office worker towards a more remote working position. As the coronavirus pandemic surged into existence, the world was forced to make these prophesied changes. Leading us to start implementing new models to the way they operate in order to keep up with demand.
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).
Other studies taken during the pandemic showed that 46% of office workers said they would prefer to work from home if they had the opportunity. This is all while still attending the office on some of their workdays. The Covid-19 pandemic drove businesses to realise that this was, for all intent and purpose, a very viable option.
Employers and businesses embraced the changes, issuing computers and laptops to their employees. Also holding daily or weekly meetings via video links and improving their email systems. All done to manage the influx of digital communication necessitated by the dramatic shift in the work environment.
The mindset towards finding office space to rent has changed for many businesses. It’s resulted in them coming to the realisation that office workers find it easier to be completing their work from home. The office environment as a result has become more of a blended environment. Being used for onsite collaboration, social meetings and brainstorming, with the employees doing other work tasks remotely.
How to Turn Your Office Into A Destination
Making your office a more socially appropriate setting really needn’t be that hard. With a few changes, your office space in central London could become a hive of activity and creativity for your employees to thrive and succeed.
Let’s split the main methods into a few points. Some of which will improve your productivity as well as making your rented office space look amazing:
- Create natural workplaces– Work shouldn’t be a drag and coming into the office must be a positive experience. Try turning your office space into a second home. This can include plants that inject well-being and give the place a more natural feel.
- Create social pods – Social pods are a great place for teams to brainstorm ideas. These are often comfortable couches, coffee tables or long benches where colleagues are sitting and working together on projects.
- Include valuable training – Employees want to feel skilled; they want to feel like they are being valued and respected. Continuing Professional Development days (or ‘CPD’) are an excellent way to create a balance between working at home and the office. Introduce some interesting training elements into your team’s day. It will increase their skill set so that they and the company can both grow.
- Everyone wants space – When looking for office space to rent, you want to be looking for space that is large enough so that you can fit all your team into it. However, not so large that your employees are sitting miles away from each other (even if they need social distance). No one likes working on top of someone else but finding the optimum balance will prove valuable.
- Clear out the clutter– For employees to feel comfortable in a work environment, they first need space to work. If you want to create a viable work and social space for your employees, try clearing out all the old junk that clutters the office. This can include moving towards digital storage. This will give your employees extra space for breakouts and socialising, not to mention new workplace settings.
- Remove Dividers – Dividers can often make your employees feel isolated and claustrophobic. By removing office dividers, you are essentially opening up the floor for your employees to effectively communicate and share ideas throughout the day. Don’t forget, if they are working from home part-time, your employees will want to be involved with each other. As they have limited time whilst at the office.
Humans are Tribal
Looking at a number of studies, it was shown that having a water cooler in the office increased the productivity of employees. To the degree of 15% extra work, and it’s nothing to do with the free water.
Humans are by nature tribal. We love the inclusivity of being part of a team and working closely with others who share a common goal, belief or hold similar values. Offices are a perfect example of this type of behaviour as the office is a place where they often meet lifelong friends and socialise outside of working hours.
Cohesion is important to a work environment and affects how we work as a group. It refers to your connection to those you work with, which in most cases is formed through meeting in person. When employees are afforded the time to meet in person, chat and form bonds, they feel better in the environment they are working in.
In a sense, it gives the team a mindset of “we are in this together”. This can work very well if one member of the team is lacking in morale. Morale of course is another factor to consider when working remotely.
The opportunity to have a quick chat with your colleague who is on the desk next to you isn’t an option when you are working from home.
All the more reason why businesses must make their office a destination.
The move towards remote working has been significant in recent years, often leading to offices becoming underused. However, now that the lockdown is easing, there is a growing trend emerging as more businesses are looking for an office space to rent to use for a blended work and social environment.
Similarly, it’s popular to use these environments to host meetings, boost culture, and provide excellent workplace settings.
This approach would certainly see an increase in productivity as well as improving the perceived loneliness that office workers are currently struggling with.