As many European countries continue to manage lockdown and potentially begin their journey towards normality1, it’s time for businesses to think about the future of their physical offices. Returning to the office will look different in every country and every organisation, with every individual person sure to have their own concerns and priorities.
Research suggests that hybrid workspaces are here to stay, with remote working likely to remain an essential part of many professionals’ lives. Opinion polls show that people see the enormous value of working with colleagues in a physical office while also benefitting from home working, with the flexibility of hybrid working appealing to different needs. One survey found that roughly three-quarters of employees want to work in the office in some capacity2– one-quarter full time, half split, one-quarter entirely from home – while another poll found that a significant 94% of employees want to return to their office at least one day a week3.
Meanwhile, among UK working parents, just 13% want to go back to ‘the old normal’4, while two-thirds of Generation Zs and Millennials seek permanent home working5. Some of these opinions may be couched in fear and worry. A poll found workers in the UK, Spain, France and Germany felt largely negative about returning to the office6; in another UK survey 44% of people specifically felt anxious about the potential health risks7. But for some tasks and working contexts, there’s no beating face-to-face collaboration, so if a company is to benefit from maintaining a physical office space it’s crucial that personnel have peace of mind. For IT and office managers, this means ensuring the office space is safe and meets the changing needs of 'the new normal'.