Despite offices standing empty as employees operate from home, the majority of businesses still wish to resume regular office use following the coronavirus pandemic.

That is the finding of a new survey conducted by the Institute of Directors. With almost 1,000 business leaders surveyed, over 30% said their use of office space would be unchanged going forward. This is a clear, yet changed message from what was assumed throughout the pandemic, and the fact that businesses would be quick to give-up their office space following the reactive and cost-reducing work from home circumstances.

A further high percentage did say they would look to implement some remote working procedures, with a hybrid mix of a physical office, and flexibility to work around home lifestyles if needed… exactly what we at MSO predicted and spoke about early in the pandemic.

Although office workers initially embraced remote working, the prolonged use appears to be wearing thin. In a separate survey conducted this September by Mercer, 94% of 800 business leaders said that productivity is the same or higher than before. But employee morale and mental health is increasingly under strain as the practice continues.

While remote working could and does work in a standard society, being forced to stay home brings additional challenges and stresses that, almost 9 months through various lockdowns, are still coming to light.

Focusing on the business world there are other aspects at play. Some things simply work better in person and with physical contact. Particularly when there is a call for innovation and brain-storming, being face-to-face has been proven to be beneficial in these aspects time and time again, and people are finding themselves missing the basic human contact – even those who perhaps before COVID were open to the solo-work structure.

The stage of an employee’s career also plays a factor when it comes to remote working. Bringing in new hires and throwing them a pile of work to do from home, away from the team and an immediate support network is  simply a recipe for disaster. These people need the office environment, they need the recruitment and HR onboarding to not only immerse in the culture and ‘bond’ with the team, but the office is mostly where soft skills can be picked up and workplace friendships and support is formed.

What this pandemic has brought us, is time to reflect on our office space.

The way we use it, and whether we need traditional space at all. Property obviously has value, it adds prestige to a business. But if people do wish to work remotely into the future looking at flexible office space or a hybrid of the both will be the most positive and we think, successful model. After all, looking at Covid-19 like a recession, it is always the businesses that plan and react early who emerge stronger and more resilient.

We’ve been working with many of our clients, large and small to review and audit their office space requirements, whether it’s for immediate change, or a post-pandemic office plan – our hybrid, covid-secure and flexible office solutions methodology has been valued long before the pandemic, and we think will be even more so ahead.

MSO Workspace can offer office space on flexible terms, long-term commitments are the last thing businesses want with the world remaining in a state of flux likely far into the future. All of our office solutions encompass deep-cleaning, safe-employee policies and benefit from a range of functions thanks to their rural, excellently linked locations.

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    MSO Workspace, 2010 The Crescent, Solihull Parkway, Birmingham Business Park, B37 7YS