More than half (53 per cent) of office workers plan to work in the office and remotely from home, according to a survey by a flexible office provider.
Polls of 2,000 office workers and 500 business leaders, commissioned by Orega, found that 81 per cent of workers still want to work in an office and only 17 per cent plan to work from home every day. More than half (58 per cent) don’t want to downsize their office and 62 per cent want to retain and increase their space.
More than two-thirds of businesses (67 per cent) are optimistic about their prospects for the next 12 months and 42 per cent are now interested in flex-space. It had been predicted that working from home would become the ‘new normal’ with businesses like Spotify and Twitter saying staff didn’t need to return to the office and HSBC proposing to cut its office space by 40 per cent.
The move to hybrid working has led to the emergence of TWTs – people choosing to be in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However office workers still want their own desk – they are not enthusiastic about hot-desking.
Only 17 per cent of office workers will work from home every day and 18 per cent of business leaders would prefer their employees to work from home.
The effect of working from home did have an effect on a third of firms, with 31 per cent experiencing a negative impact on productivity. The survey, which was launched at Property Week’s Property Finance and Investment Forum this week revealed why employees wanted to get back to the office.
Zach Douglas, CEO and founder of Orega, who commissioned the survey, said: “It appears reports of the office’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Brits have chosen to go back to the office but on their own terms and businesses are accepting it. It seems the hybrid model working mostly in the office and then remotely from home is here to stay.
“They’ve clearly seen the benefits of working remotely but have craved the social hub and the place to focus and develop their career that the office provides. Interestingly, what we’re seeing in this new hybrid world is the rise of the TWTs.
Douglas added: “My message to landlords and investors is simple. There are great opportunities if you acknowledge the changing landscape.
“Firstly, we’ve found landlords and investors are increasingly considering management agreements with flexible workspace providers over a traditional lease. Management agreements are a partnership not a one-off real estate transaction like leaseholds. So landlords and investors have a greater say over how their assets are used and the return is more stable and profitable over the long term. You also don’t lose control of the flex-space provision within your asset as you would under a leasehold.
“Secondly, in a competitive office space market, greater hospitality is key. Our research shows office workers want more desk space, more quiet areas to work and a level of service that’s more like hospitality, hotel-style concierge services rather than a traditional serviced office.
“Greater hospitality not only keeps clients happy, it increases workspace retention and expansion. Help them be happy and productive and they’ll grow. Thirdly, the hybrid model is here to stay but the office is back. The office will still be the hub for businesses, and we all need to be responsive to the new work patterns, with many choosing to come to the office three days a week and work remotely the rest of the time."
- 67% said the office was an important place to collaborate and communicate.
- 55% said it provided a social hub and they needed it to access technology and files.
- 54% said it provided focus and improved productivity.
- 48% said it was important for career development and training, although this rose to 57% for 18-34-year-olds – but only 34% among those aged 55-64.
- 65% wanted to have their own office desk even if they work two or three days there, with only 29% happy to hot-desk.
The things workers most want in their office are:
- Quiet spaces to escape interruptions and get work done (58%)
- More privacy in the office (53%)
- Better provision of fresh air (52%
- Self-serve barista-style coffee (37%)
Other effects of working from home during lockdown include:
- 31% said their mental health had declined.
- One in four (24%) saw their personal finances worsen.
Looking to the future of the office:
- 78% of businesses and 81% of employees want to keep working in an office.
- 58% of businesses currently do not want to downsize office space.
- When the office lease ends, a total of 62% either want to retain the office space as it is or look to increase.
- 49% are considering changing their leasing model and 53% are interested in serviced offices.
- 67% of businesses said the office was important for career development and training.
- 80% said it was vital for the company to collaborate and communicate.
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