Bianca Angelico of On Verve shares advice for making the workplace a destination and encouraging employees back to the office…
Even before the disruption and upheaval of the past two years arrived, the role of the office was evolving.
In 2019, for example, 27 per cent of the UK’s workforce worked from home at some point, according to Annual Population Survey data. At this time, around 1.54 million people worked remotely for their main job, nearly double that recorded in 2011 (880,000).
Due to government mandates and guidance issued in 2020, 37 per cent of the UK workforce did some form of homeworking in 2020 – a sharp rise and a trend which looks set to grow even further in the coming years. Indeed, it’s estimated that 70 per cent of the workforce will be working remotely by 2025.
This spells potentially bad news for the office as we know it.
Typically seen as the hub for all work and organisational productivity, the benefits unlocked by more flexible home and hybrid working routines are making us rethink the purpose of our workspaces.
However, rather than signalling the demise of the office, there is a tremendous opportunity to reinvent the workplace into more than just a set of desks. By creating a destination and focussing on experiences that cannot be replicated at home, employees can be enticed back because they view the office as a value add to the role.
This is why we have recently launched On Verve; to help organisations reinvent their workspaces.
A little goes a long way
Our remit is simple. We want to bring the magic back into the office.
How can this be achieved? In our view, it is about mastering a series of small components that add up to create experiences that employees will keep coming back for.
First impressions count, and organisations should start at the beginning – when an employee enters their workplace. The experience should be effortless, and here technology can play a key role in the form of workspace booking apps.
These sync with front of house systems to ensure a warm welcome is provided every time an employee arrives at the building. Personal preferences such as parking spaces, workstations and lockers can be considered – again, small details can be covered by a blend of technology and people to provide a VIP experience.
Layout is another crucial facet, even down to the location of individual objects to ensure they are accessible within a workstation. Once more, this helps to nail that all important first impression.
Front of house teams should also be monitoring environmental conditions such as air temperature.
As simple as it may seem, heat (or lack of) can be the difference between an employee’s decision whether or not to come back to the office on a regular basis. One study, for example, found that 80 per cent of office workers regularly complain about the temperature of their workplace.
The power of the human touch
These are just a handful of simple tips to help create an office experience that will entice employees back into their pre-pandemic workplaces.
The key is harnessing the power of relationships and human connection to create a strong social structure in the workplace.
Whatever your organisation decides to deploy, make sure you create a positive vibe. Positive environments are infectious – even something as simple as a smile can make somebody’s day.