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17.06.2021 Back to Blog articles

Why Structured Office Space Is Important For Employee and Employers

There has been a wealth of studies and research into employee well being over the past few years, for obvious reasons. More specifically these surveys have looked at the impact of telecommuting and working from home has had on not only the employees mental health but also their work and how this, in turn, impacts their employers. Employers have a duty of care to their employees for both their physical and mental health. However, these laws only set out a minimum standard. With all the additional stresses on employers and employees over the past few years, employers need to go above and beyond to ensure that their employees are supported.

One thing all employers must remember is that their business is only as good as their employees. This combined with an extremely competitive job market means that employers must find a way to differentiate themselves to attract the highly skilled staff their desire. There are a variety of ways an employer can entice new highly skilled employees including:

  • Flexible hours
  • Flexible working location
  • In-office perks
  • Rewards programmes
  • Financial benefits/incentives
  • Office culture
  • Training and promotion opportunities

Typically, many of these incentives are centred around the office but as our working lifestyle evolves and employee desires shift employers must consider other alternatives. For example, not all prospective employees want to commute to the office on a full-time basis or relocate for a job. As a result, offering alternatives to a traditional office work environment can be a big attraction to potential new staff. An example of this is Twitter, who in May, announced that all of its employees will have the option to work remotely.

Why We Need To Return To The Office

Working in a ‘stuffy’ office is not for everyone just as working from home drives some to despair. In fact, in a recent study, two-thirds of businesses said that they expect working from home and remote working policies to become permanent.

There is no denying it...many of us loved the no commute, stumble out of bed, shove some clothes on and sit down in front of the computer routine that we have been rocking during the covid pandemic however there are some very valid arguments as to why employees should consider returning to the office or a more formal work environment, even part of the time.

Reasons why we need to return to the office include:

  • Better work-life balance (yes, we used to use this same reasoning for the need to work remotely)
  • More established routine (this extends to more than just your work hours; so the regular client meetings, lunch with colleges or after-work drink at the local pub all contribute towards our daily routine)
  • Building relationships (in both your personal life and work-life)
  • Supporting other businesses (whether it is that local coffee shop or the gym down the road little changes in your routine can make a big difference to the community that surrounds you)

It is important to highlight that there are a wide variety of ways to work and moving forward one solution does not fit all just as there is no right or wrong. How you work and where you work are individual to each person but this does provide a challenge for companies. With that said the keyword to remember when supporting your staff is FLEXIBILITY!

Meet Me HalfWay

Just as we have highlighted the importance for a company to meet their employees halfway the employees need to be just as flexible. As we move away from covid restrictions many businesses have been asking their employees about their wants and needs when returning to a more structured work-life. What most employers have found from this experience is that staff are keen to keep an element of remote or home working. What many employees forget is how working remotely or from home can impact the company they work for.

Benefits of having employees in a structured office environment include:

  • Fostering innovation - Through face to face interaction and collaboration.
  • Employees are easier to manage - It’s far easier to see if an employee is struggling or to touch base when in an office where you may not need to set up a fixed time.
  • Challenges in technology - In an office you are in more control of technological challenges like internet and phone most managers will know the phrase ‘my internet is playing up’ or ‘I can’t get onto the VPN” are common.
  • Little rewards - Whether it’s buying everyone a costa, treating your team to lunch or in-office perks like an office fruit bowl….or doughnuts, little rewards are easier when staff are in the office.
  • Nurturing talent - It is easier to foster and nurture new talent in a more formal office structure and is very important for younger staff
  • Data protection - There are fewer concerns about data protection when a company can restrict access to sensitive data so it can only be accessed in the office and over their secured network.

In Summary

We have all had a taste of working from home as of late but it was not a working environment all employees enjoyed. It is important to note that not all employees want to work from home or return to the office full time. This is where we come back to our keyword of the day….FLEXIBILITY! So how do you move forward? As an employer consider offering more flexible options, for example working from home ‘x’ days a week or encouraging staff to utilise a coworking office over working from home or in the local coffee shop. As an employee you should be open and willing to meet your employer halfway and understand that working in a more formal office structure does have its benefits. In life, as well as business, there are costs and benefits associated with every choice we make. In this case allowing staff to work more from home or remotely may leave you with extra office space that is going to waste. However you can alkso make this scenario work for you by renting out spare desk or office space to companies, freelancers and consultants (preferably in compilmentary industries) to keep that vibrant and innovative buzz in the office while still being respectful of your employees needs.

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