In recent years, there has been much discussion surrounding what the future office might look like, but the challenges brought by Covid-19 have pushed these discussions to the forefront. For months, we were restricted to home working, and now that things are starting to open up, what we expect from the workplace is likely to have changed. According to McKinsey research, 80% of people say they enjoy working from home, but there is strong evidence that teamwork yields better results and some think that the benefits of remote working can’t compensate for what’s lost in creativity and connectedness when employees are in the workplace.
In the post-Covid world, employers need to ensure their employees feel safe at work, and now that most industries have shown that home-working can be effective, businesses need to make their workplaces a desirable destination to help entice workers back to the office.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few important things to consider that can help you transform your space into a destination that your employees will want to visit. It may go beyond just design changes, and into deeper cultural changes that will alter your business for the better in the long term, and help with the transition to creating an office destination in the short term.
To ensure your business and your staff thrive, you need to make your office a desirable destination your staff will love.
We all know that working from home has an array of benefits, from the lack of commuting to a more flexible working day, but it is not ideal for everyone. To get your team back in the office, whether it’s on a full- or part-time basis, it needs to become a destination they want to spend time.
Now we know that we don’t necessarily need to be in an office to work effectively, the office will need to offer a more meaningful experience to draw us back. Your destination should inspire and motivate your team, as well as being an environment in which they feel safe. Not only will this aid in the transition back to office working, it can be a huge driver in attracting and retaining the best talent.
Improving the overall employee experience is unlikely to be a quick fix, you’ll want to consult with your team and it may take a while to implement, but in the short term think about what experiences you can you offer your team that they can’t get at home, such as fresh coffee, healthy snacks, fitness classes, social experiences, smart technology and a pleasant, clean environment.
After much of the world went into lockdown, global air and water quality improved dramatically, bringing our relationship with the environment to the front of our minds. For millennials and Generation Z especially, reducing their carbon footprint and limiting the negative impact they have on the environment has always been hugely important, but the pandemic has brought this into focus. By 2025, roughly 75% of the global workforce will be millennials and Gen Z, so putting practices into place now will help with long term growth and employee engagement.
Globally, real estate has a huge impact on the environment, consuming 40% of the world’s energy and 40% of the world’s raw materials, so even minor changes in your office will have a massive impact. For example, it’s estimated that the implementation of smart systems throughout the building can decrease energy consumption by up to 75%.
The international BREEAM scheme provides sustainability certifications to buildings, communities and infrastructure, and gives guidelines on building standards that, when adhered to, can drastically reduce your environmental footprint.
In the short term, some employees may feel that after months of working from home and the associated sustainability benefits, a return to the office will hinder their environmental goals, but knowing that their employer is doing their bit for the environment may be a driver in encouraging workers back to the office. It doesn’t have to be a big project or particularly costly, just encouraging your team to bring reusable coffee cups, reducing the use of single-use plastics or improving your recycling processes can have a big impact. With recent research and surveys showing that the majority believe sustainability is more important than ever, now is an opportune time to start looking to the future and start making an investment in sustainable changes.
It has been an unusual few months for us all and, as we return to the office, the wellbeing and safety of your team is more important than ever. In short, your employees won’t want to return to the office if they don’t feel cared for and safe. Investing in the wellbeing, both physical and mental, of your staff will make the transition back to the workplace much more smooth, and may help alleviate stress if they know they will he looked after at work.
Steps you could take to look after your employees’ physical wellbeing may include things like a subsidised gym membership, health insurance or cycle to work schemes, and for their mental health it may be as simple as introducing initiatives to raise awareness, encouraging your team to take regular breaks and ensuring managers know how to spot and deal with symptoms of mental health issues.
As well as having a happier and healthier workforce that are more productive and resilient and take fewer sick days, it has been shown that businesses that take proactive steps to improve their employee wellbeing can improve their performance by as much as 10%.
Whilst productivity doesn’t seem to have taken a hit with home-based working, how are your team finding the overall experience? Office-based working provides a very important thing that most of us have been missing during the pandemic: human connection and interaction. As your team return to the office, your company culture should take centre stage to help maintain friendships and keep your team happy.
A company’s culture should reflect their values and goals, and a positive outcome of the global pandemic is that the things that matter most, both professionally and personally, have been brought into focus in the last few months. Ensuring your workplace aligns with your company culture and values will help your team return to the office and build meaningful relationships with their colleagues, whilst also providing a long-term focus to help keep your team engaged.
We’ve been going through a technological revolution in the last decade, with the introduction of many technologies that only a few years ago felt like they’d been plucked out of a sci-fi film. Covid-19 has taken this to a new level, with many companies being forced to fast-track new products and features to help customers navigate the post-Covid world. The next-generation office will be smart and connected and ready to respond to our needs to make the office a better place to be.
Technology can be used throughout the workplace to improve the employee experience and make the office a more enjoyable, and safer, place to be.
As a result of Covid-19 we’ll likely see app- and voice-control become the norm. As well as being a great way to avoid the need to touch buttons and reduce contact with shared surfaces, appliances or services with an app- or voice-control function are great for improving accessibility. For those with disabilities or motor impairments, voice control in particular can play a huge part in removing barriers that may stop individuals living an independent life.
In short, in order to entice your team back into the office, you need to ensure your workplace is a real destination and is somewhere your employees actually want to spend their time.
Introducing TopBrewer machines to deliver smart, touch-free, premium coffee facilities can contribute towards a desirable workplace destination. It’s a fact that employees are likely to feel more engaged at work when they have access to high quality coffee, and 75% of office workers agree that a top quality coffee experience at work suggests that their employer cares about their wellbeing.
As well as this, drinking coffee at work can have a wide range of positive health and productivity benefits, from increased concentration to a reduced risk of certain health issues. So it should come as no shock that employers can improve productivity, wellbeing and overall health and happiness of staff simply by offering a great cup of coffee for employees at work.
With a menu of fully-customisable barista-quality drinks, touchless coffee through the TopBrewer app, and voice control through TopBrewerVoice, providing a first-class coffee experience with TopBrewer is a simple way to show your team you value them.