Business Blog Business & Networking The Big Return: UK head back to the Office

The Big Return: UK head back to the Office

The Big Return: UK head back to the Office

Work styles have been turned upside down over the last two years through the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID era has been labelled one of the biggest work from home experiments. Businesses have had to adapt and overcome challenges posed by the restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19.

Finally, there is a sense of optimism in the UK with all COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and work from home guidance removed. A return to normality, something we have been waiting patiently to hear.

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Are businesses returning to the Office?

Part of a return to normality, is the big return to offices. Transport for London data already shows the return in action, with tens of thousands more commuters pouring back into main business districts. Main London stations were 10% busier than last week in the City of London, West London and Canary Wharf. The Mayor of London claims ‘it’s critical that businesses harness this momentum, so that London can play it’s part in supporting the whole UK in the return to growth.’

Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are among the large City investment banks to ask employees to return to the office after the UK government removed the guidance to work from home and encouraging workers back to their desks.

Advantages of working from the office

There are several aspects of office life that employees are eager to get back after working remotely for so long. The office environment can enhance productivity, collaboration, creativity and innovation. From catching up with a colleague over a coffee in the kitchen, to in-person training for new starters.

According to Infogrid’s 2022 Hybrid Workplace Report the main reasons employees want to return to the office include:

  • Working in a positive social environment (35%)
  • Having a reason to leave the house (26%)
  • Not having to worry about being cold at home (25%)
  • Daily commute allowing time to transition between work and home (23%)
  • Working in a physical workplace improves productivity (44%)

Overall, the study found that 63% of UK employees highly value having access to an office or physical workspace, 25% would prefer to work from an office full time, and 38% preferred a hybrid working model.

A recent report conducted by Ernst & Young explored four main benefits of office working including:

1.) Benefit from the culture of the organisation

Positive organisational culture can help harness productivity, creativity, reduce employee absences and reduce employee turnover. Culture is easier to nurture when employees of all levels are in the same physical space. The office acts as the heart of a company’s culture.

2.) Maintain healthy work-life balance

An office environment provides a clear separation from work and home life which helps to reduce stress and improve work-life balance.

3.) Quality of your workplace is assured

Not all homes are well suited to becoming a productive workspace too, but an office environment is designed to support employees and your business.

4.) Easier to build relationships

Office environments support networking and social interactions, which are valuable for idea generation, collaboration, peer support and career development.

What is Hybrid Working?

Hybrid working represents a work style that combines remote work and office work. Many businesses are adopting the hybrid working model to allow employees greater flexibility and allowing a gentle return to the office. Some businesses use an employee rotation system, for example employees work from the office three times a week and from home twice a week.

What role does Coworking play in the great return?

Coworking spaces enable a return to an ‘office-like’ environment, with a desk rather than a private office. Coworking spaces are the perfect solution for keeping teams connected and supported with everything they need to succeed including:

  • Fast & secure WiFi
  • Secure printing
  • In-house IT support
  • World-class technology infrastructure
  • Professional secretarial and receptionist services
  • Access to 5-star Coworking & Office spaces worldwide
  • Online resources & community

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to quickly adopt new work styles, but with the new UK Government policy shifting enabling a return to normality, the data suggests that office workers are keen to return to the office.

The benefits of a physical office space are clear, and although research suggests employees value flexibility that working from home provides, the hybrid working model accommodates both remote work and office work to enable a gentle return to the office.

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