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Covid-19: Why Offices Won’t Be a Thing Of The Past

15.06.2020|By Opus 4

 

With lockdown restrictions slowly starting to ease in the UK, many businesses are adjusting to this new normality and are considering how they can adhere to Covid-19 Safety.

There has been much speculation around remote working becoming the norm. For the short-term, it could be beneficial for employers to ensure a small proportion of their staff are working from home, however, in the long-run, remote working could have a negative impact on a business.

Below are 6 reasons why we think offices won’t be a thing of the past:

Offices are paramount in generating innovation and creativity

Research suggests that businesses who implement a permanent working-from-home approach post Covid-19 crisis will notice a decrease in productivity and revenue. This is due to the lack of innovation caused by less team interaction. Regular team meetings and collaboration sessions are vital in producing high-quality creative ideas, and without offices or collaborative working spaces to accommodate these meetings, team morale is likely to fall and therefore so is innovation.

Without offices it will be difficult to supervise and support employees

For many employees, offices provide rich learning experiences that they use to their advantage in their work. Whilst at work, colleagues are always there to provide a helping hand, to ask questions to and to learn from, at home this help is not always so readily available. Without instant support and help from colleagues, this could lead to a lack of motivation and increased frustration amongst some team members.

Some employees may be in the process of being mentored for their role, this will inevitably be difficult if the mentor and the mentoree are in separate buildings for most or all of the working week. Mentoring is an essential process in providing key lessons and knowledge, and this procedure will not be as effective if done remotely.

 

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Some households will not be suitable for homeworking

Working remotely may be okay for a short-period of time, however, there are numerous reasons why as a long-term approach this is unsustainable, including:

  • Not having suitable and supportive office furniture.
  • Having no private space to make important conference calls.
  • Having a poor internet connection that inhibits the ability to work fluidly.
  • The many distractions that working at home can bring (partners, children, Netflix).

If working remotely is a must for a short period of time whilst Covid-19 restrictions are being slowly lifted, employers should look at how to make their staff more comfortable at home physically and mentally.

Offices can actually promote positive mental health

One of the biggest threats to employees working from home is the increase of social isolation. Many people will be used to working in the hustle and bustle of an office, conversing with colleagues and working collaboratively, being withdrawn from this may impact some individuals’ mental health negatively which will ultimately effect the work they produce. If remote working is necessary for a short period, employers should make a proactive effort in ensuring team members feel connected with one another, this could include regular video meetings and phone calls (work-related and wellbeing related).

Monitoring health and wellbeing of employees could become challenging without offices

The health and wellbeing of staff is vital to creating a positive culture, and over recent years this is widely recognised as an area that cannot be ignored. Many businesses all over the UK have implemented wellbeing practises into their workplace, including the installation of rest areas, discounts for local gyms, regular team-building activities and allowing days-off dedicated to mental-health. However, how do employers measure and manage their staff’s wellbeing if they are at home? Employers could email staff resources that encourage practising wellbeing at home, but other than that employers will be restricted on the amount they can do to help if staff are working remotely. 

Offices will always be needed

It has been predicted many times before that the office will burn out, but it never does, and we don’t think it ever will. Technology advancements and world events have threatened the importance of the office before, but they have never disappeared. This comes down to the fact the office reaps far more benefits to businesses than working remotely does, and no amount of technological advancement could really ever replace the need for human social interaction.

 

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How offices will have to adapt due to Covid-19

Offices may always be with us, but there is no doubt that they will have to change and adapt   as restrictions are eased and long after Covid-19. Businesses will need to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, this will include implementing adaptable furniture solutions, staggering arrival and finish times and ensuring staff eat their lunches separately, using their own utensils. In smaller spaces, such as stairwells or lifts, signage and visual cues should be implemented to remind individuals to stay alert and aware of their surroundings.

It is also imperative that employers provide their staff with personal protective equipment kits so they feel as comfortable as possible in their work environment. At Opus 4 we are offering ‘Protect our People’ boxes that include all the necessary essentials for returning to  work, including facemasks, surface wipes, hand sanitiser and nitrile gloves. Protective screens can offer further protection and can be used in a variety of ways, but most commonly, these can be placed in between desks to separate staff.

At Opus 4 we are dedicated to helping companies create comfortable and practical working environments that ultimately reinforce a happy workplace culture. During this crisis we are even more aware of the positive effect that a comfortable and safe office environment will have on businesses and their employees, so we are providing a Covid-19 Space Planning and Design service that will enable businesses to optimise their existing space to effectively implement social distancing measures for staff. .

For more information on this specialised service please call us on 0164023340 or email us at hello@opus-4.com.