In last month’s blog, I suggested that the old military adage ‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best’ was a sensible approach to adopt as we go into our difficult winter and tough 2021.
Since then, England is enduring the imposition of a second lockdown because of the unabated spread of COVID-19. It’s making a difficult situation more challenging to manage.
However, our workplaces and real estate requirements remains the same. Organisations need COVID-19 secure workplaces and facilities to continue serving customers, whether it be delivering healthcare, education, transportation, or any other services vital to our economy.
We also need to prepare our workplaces for life after the pandemic, which will end.
Over a third of workers are concerned about catching COVID-19 at work, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation think tank. An independent poll commissioned by the British Council for Offices (BCO) shows that, once government measures allow, Britain is set to move to a ‘mixed’ working style – a balance of office time and working from home.
Data from these surveys reinforces the need to offer COVID-19 secure workplaces for the benefit of our employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. The emerging challenge is how to offer blended office and home working that allows employees to be productive, content, and happy in either environment.
For this reason, all organisations should reinvent their workplace models. As well as making them COVID-19 secure, we recommend that as much care should be invested in designing remote working employee experiences as you invested in your offices and workplaces.
The BCO survey “Mixed Working Here To Stay” offers some major insights, helping us plan how to provide both of the above.
Over 2,000 workers from all UK regions across a range of job roles and industries responded. The survey showed that over the coming six months:
- 75% of individuals intend to return to the office to work, with 45% working on a blended basis and 30% working from the office through the week.
- The highest proportion of blended working is within Finance, IT, C-level, and marketing functions:
- Making workplaces secure was important, with survey respondents wanting hand sanitiser available, frequent cleaning, and social distancing maintained.
- 72% of respondent said working in the office helped them connect with colleagues and 60% thought they learned more.
Q: Following the easing of lockdown, I prefer working from the office because:
Whilst this survey was conducted in September 2020, before the current lockdown, the attitudes and requirements reflected reinforces our opinion that the office is clearly here to stay. It has a vital function in connecting people to their teammates, for collaborative and creative work, and for forging relationships and culture. When combined with the likely impact of the current second lockdown, the survey clearly signposts that mixed and remote working are here to stay.
Contact John on 01295 722823, 07711 032137 or [email protected] to discuss how our team can help you create a COVID-19 secure workplace or reinvent your workplace models.
John O’Brien is the Founder and MD of LCMB Building Performance Ltd.. We work with organisations to transform the impact your workplaces and real estates have on your people, customers, and bottom line by improving workplace performance and reducing operating costs and resource use.
This blog is based on an independent poll conducted by British Council for office (BCO) in September 2020, published as BCO report “Mixed Working Here To Stay”. LCMB are members of BCO and previously collaborated with them to produce the BCO report “Improving Productivity in the Workplace.”