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01.04.2021 Back to Blog articles

The New Normal Office - Returning To The Office After Covid 19

There is no denying that the recent pandemic has well and truly shaken up how and where we work. Each country has taken a slightly different approach to handling the pandemic however the end outcome for many businesses has been primarily the same. Most companies have adopted a more flexible working structure in response to Covid-19 although it is important to note that this was already a growing trend over the past few years. With this in mind many companies need to look at thier office space and how they can make the most of it. With more employees wanting flexible, hybrid and remote working positions employers need to address how they use their office space. For example; some companies will find that they have no need for a large fancy office however this can then be approached in 2 ways:

1. A company can consider downscaling

2. Consider office sharing.

By sharing spare office space or moving into an office with another company employers can provide a more traditional office structure with the flexability to address changing work environments while opening up opportunities for the future through areas such as networking.

Why Flexible and Remote Working Is Important?

Flexible and remote working has become a massive part of how we work as a society for a range of reasons. The most obvious reasons why a company should support flexible and remote working include:

1. Supporting Staff With Children and Other Commitments

In the past, the working market was not only male-dominated it was also much more common for families with children to only have 1 parent working. However, a recent government study found that 73.2% of families had both parents in employment equating to around 8 million families in the UK. In fact, since 2000, the rate of mothers working has overtaken the employment rates of women without dependant children. On average in the UK, 3 in 4 mothers with dependent children are in work while 92.6% of fathers are working. Employers are seeing similar trends worldwide with an average of 61% of families where both parents work.

However, in an ageing population, many people have dependants who are not children who require care. With this in mind, it is clear that employers need to be flexible with their staff. By working with employees, employers can find a solution that works for everyone involved, helping to maintain staff morale while not limiting the potential skilled workforce available. It is worth noting that it is more important to find the right person for the job, not just the person who lives in the right area and can work 9 to 5.

2. Environmental Impacts

There is no denying that a companies environmental policy has become increasingly important with more and more companies trading on their environmentally friendly operations. However, being environmentally friendly expands far past making sure that your staff recycle. Ways that a company can be more environmentally friendly by establishing environmentally friendly office practices such as:

  • Better energy efficiency.
  • Using renewable energy sources and capitalising on elements such as natural lighting.
  • Reduce manufacturing and other emissions (such as those with logistics and distribution).
  • Reduce and recycle consumables such as paper.
  • Reviewing suppliers
  • Using green cleaning products
  • Maximise utilisation of all available workspace in an office.

There are other less obvious ways a company can reduce their environmental impact by looking at office locations and staff commuting. As a result by maximising office utilisation, encouraging carpooling, encouraging the use of public transport or cycling to work or reducing the need for commuting through remote working.

3. 24/7 On-Demand Culture

As technology has evolved so has the way we work. Long gone are the days of dial-up broadband, large clunky computers and face to face meetings. Instead, we have entered a world of high demand, fast-paced and instant answers. As a result, the way, as well as how, we work has to evolve to meet the demand. In this case, many companies have to move away from the rigid Monday to Friday and 9 am to 5 pm to be able to meet consumer and client demands as and when they occur.

Flexible and Hybrid Offices Are The Way Of The Future

Flexible, remote and hybrid working are a great compromise for employers, employees, clients and consumers alike. In an ever-changing world, companies must be willing to evolve and adapt to different environments and situations. For example, the recent pandemic shook many companies (and their staff) to the core by thrusting working from home and social distancing on them with relatively little notice. This was a significant adjustment for many companies but those who already supported a flexible work environment required less adaption and were able to make the adjustments quickly to meet demand. However you look at it, there are clear benefits for both employers and employees associated with a more fluid approach to the working environment. So whether you are a large international company with thousands of employees or a smaller locally based business a flexible work environment can do wonders for you and your employees.

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