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2021 Return To The Workplace

Posted by Nicholas Ogden

I revisited an article written in 2020 reflecting on what may happen to the traditional office working culture beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.  In 2020 I felt that the pandemic will eradicate the conventional office based working environment.

I decided to revisit this in March 2021 by creating a poll on LinkedIn asking my network on what their employer’s plans are for post Covid-19 with regards to returning to work in an office environment. The options included:

  • 5 days a week in the office
  • 3-4 days a week in the office
  • 1-2 days a week in the office
  • Will not return to the office

I would like to thank every single person who took part and voted. A total of 305 people participated, and the results have been very interesting.

The overwhelming conclusion from this sample is that 50% of contributors selected that they will be returning 1-2 days a week in the office. This is a vast contrast to the 11% that chose 5 days a week back in the office.

The remaining results are:

  • 3-4 days in the office = 27%
  • Will not return to the office = 11%

It is evident from this poll that the majority (78% collectively) will only be returning to the office on a part-time basis. This is a huge shift from the traditional 5 days a week office-based environment. In my previous article I discussed that whilst the pandemic forced many businesses to work remotely, many employees found their productivity increased by working from home according to a report from Colliers. This will certainly encourage and give many employers the confidence to re-think the necessity of their office environments and closely consider the cost implications surrounding an office premise.

It is widely considered that behind all these factors and why productivity may be on the rise from a remote working environment is that a high percentage of people working from home feel that it has led to a better work-life balance and this is very evident in a report released in 2020 by Ipsos MORI titled ‘Working post-COVID’. However, from this report it is very important to note that mental well-being is not much different. Mental well-being will of course be severely impacted now as we all face the challenges of lockdown, but I think key to the work environment is that many people will be missing their colleagues and the culture of their business. This is perhaps reflective on the small percentage of 11% from the poll who voted that they will not be returning to the office environment at all.

Post pandemic we may see a spike in the desire for flexible workspaces with organisations like WeWork and Regus leading the way for those who may want to provide options to their staff without the severe costs of owning an office space. There are certainly still signs that we are not prepared to entirely work remotely and the return to office on a part-time basis is perhaps a healthy meet in the middle solution for many.

As it stands Pro-Recruitment Group recently sent an anonymous survey around to their staff asking for their preferences on returning to work in an office environment and it is great to be an employee for an employer that are prepared to listen, be adaptable and react to the changing market.

To conclude, there is no one-size-fits-all solution as some businesses will look to get rid of the traditional office environment whereas others will need it to continue and flourish. Regardless, the pandemic has provided a huge opportunity for change to the future of work which is exciting and interesting.

For more information about your recruitment needs, please contact Nicholas Ogden on 020 7269 6338 or email nicholas.ogden@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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