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August 13, 2020

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return to work

58% of companies expect at least half of their workforce to return within three months

Survey also finds that only 5% of firms are finding the situation damaging to their business processes.

Coronavirus office screensResearch, carried out by consultancy firm DeVono Cresa as companies implement a return work process for their staff, has found that for the majority of firms (69%), the impact of not having employees physically in the office has not been ideal, but firms have managed. Only a small proportion (5%) are finding the situation damaging to their business processes.

Despite that, getting staff back into the office remains a key goal for employers, with 58% expecting at least half of their workforce to return within the next three months.

The assessment also highlighted several areas of concern for businesses, with 26% saying they are unsure if their landlord has made shared space COVID-19 secure. Furthermore, over half (53%) of employees have no desk dividers and 42% of companies have desks smaller than the 1.6m recommended office desk size. The findings also showed that only 5% of businesses enforce clear desk policy.

When it comes to commuting to the office, 71% of people say their journeys take over 30 minutes.

Chris Lewis and Luke Philpott, who created this report at DeVono Cresa, comment: “Our research showed that there are areas that posed an element of risk.

“A secure and healthy return to the office, coupled with employee safety and wellbeing is paramount for businesses and will prove to be a useful tool to feed into future office strategy.”

DeVono Cresa recommends:

  • Ensure that your staff have enough information and guidance to make decisions about whether to return to the workplace;
  • Commit to a dialogue with your landlord regarding safety and sanitisation of communal space and amenities;
  • Introduce robust policies both for working remotely and from the office;
  • Take time to understand staff wellbeing, mental health and if they are comfortable working remotely or would like to return to the office.

The full report can be found here.

What will offices look like post COVID-19?

In a seperate poll, carried out by Flexioffices, 57% of businesses said they are looking to downsize as a result of coronavirus and, of those who are looking to move, 39% want more flexible contracts.

Given the overheads in property letting and the proven capabilities of employees working from home, it isn’t a surprise that businesses are going to look at reducing their space and rent. When thinking about their future office space, 21% of respondents say the size of their office space will be the most important consideration, 19% say price and 19% say location.

36% of businesses in London are looking to move away from their current city, 56% are encouraging more flexible working hours, and 39% of those who are looking to move want more flexible contracts.

24% of those in ‘people’ roles say that the one thing they want to change is access to more breakout spaces and communal areas. However, 23% of managing directors and senior decision-makers say price and size of office space are the most important factors when making a decision about a future office space.

Many businesses are now looking to to implement changes and processes in order to facilitate a safe working environment and protect their staff. However, that might not be so straightforward. Across the board, businesses are most concerned with implementing social distancing measures in the office (21%), implementing new technology (15%), and needing increased flexibility in their premise’s contracts (16%).

In terms of physical premises space, 57% of businesses will be looking to downsize and more specifically 44% will be looking to downsize and encourage their people to work remotely.

44% of people who currently own their office space are looking to rent next time. 42% of businesses in London are now moving or considering moving as a direct result of COVID-19, however 53% of the rest of the UK are less inclined to move. For those considering moving, 58% will be downsizing. Of those planning to move/considering it, 55% will be looking to make a decision in the next 3-6 months.

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