It may seem like the last thing you want to think about right now, but taking this time to assess your office setup could save your business time and money down the line.
While the majority of office workers will currently be working from home under the latest government guidelines, home working may not be the best setup for your business long term.
However, this year has forced many businesses to embrace remote work and has highlighted apparent benefits for both employees and businesses of a more flexible work style, so you may not be ready to head back to an office 5 days a week either.
For the majority of this year, where we work has been dictated by government advice and restrictions. Down the line however, each business will have to consider what working setup is best for them, and take the necessary steps to implement it.
Here are the three main options and what we have learned about them over the course of this year.
Working from an office
For many businesses in the UK, the pre-Covid normal was to work 5 days a week from a traditional office.
Over the course of the year many people have missed certain aspects of working from an office, with human interaction and collaboration being some of the biggest losses for everyone. Often video calls don’t compare to a face to face meeting, or a chat over coffee with a colleague.
For others, not having a dedicated office to go to has meant working from unsuitable locations, and if you live in a house with small children it may have been impossible to work from home at times. Improper office setups at home can also see people facing issues with back pain or discomfort that would not have occurred with a suitable desk and office chair.
For management, working from an office can make it easier to oversee your teams and check in with every employee, as you’ll be able to see them face to face. This might help you pick up on any issues more quickly, prevent miscommunication about tasks that need to be done and make it easier to review work.
Despite the concerns that many businesses might have had about remote working at the beginning of this year, the majority have been reassured as productivity levels stayed high and employees managed to adapt to a new setup.
While they might not have been perfect replacements, software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have allowed teams to stay in touch and continue getting work done. Some businesses will have also benefited financially from teams working from home, particularly where they were able to end leases they had on rented office space.
For employees, many have enjoyed a number of benefits while working remotely, including the end of the commute and flexibility that has allowed them to find a better balance between their home life and work.
Working from home may have also reduced some of the social distractions in an office, and allowed individuals to work in a way that suits them without having to worry about their coworkers, e.g. playing music.
A combination of both (working flexibly)
A more flexible approach could see businesses combining remote working with days in a dedicated office, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of both work setups. During the period of eased restrictions this year, we saw many businesses adopting this approach, asking employees to come into the office for just few days a week.
For many businesses, allowing employees more choice and variety in where they work can help them find the best setup for optimal productivity and employee wellbeing. However, some business owners and managers may be concerned about the practicality of how to implement this.
If asking employees to come in on set days, will you still be paying for an office that is sat empty half the week? Will some employees need more days in the office than others? How will you divide up responsibility for certain tasks around the office?
Coworking could be the perfect solution to offer more flexibility to employees, cut costs on unused space and enjoy all the benefits of an office without having to worry about the upkeep.
Coworking offices usually work with flexible membership packages, meaning you can cover the costs of a certain number of days in the office and divide these amongst your staff as they need, or else pay for fixed desks for staff that need to be in everyday and add flexible packages for those who don’t.
With all the office facilities you would expect such as meeting rooms, high speed Wi-Fi and appropriate desks and desk chairs, coworking spaces like SO Fourteen offer the same benefits as a private office, often at a much lower cost.
You will also benefit from an office or community manager, who will take care of all the office tasks that might otherwise be divided up amongst staff, such as ensuring refreshments are available and everything is cleaned daily.
If you’re interested in how coworking could fit into your future office setup and want to know more about the facilities we provide at SO Fourteen, please contact us via our website and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.