The past year has been an experiment in different working environments. Workers are again being asked to work from home during the third national lockdown in England while similar restrictions are advised in Scotland. However, the dramatic shift to working from home flexibility has outlined the importance of a good working environment.
If working from home showed very little difference in the productivity of your business, you may want to consider how you can make your office space more productive in 2021. The vaccine drive throughout the UK raises optimism that a return to normal working arrangements can resume in the close future. When returning to working space after restrictions are eased, to protect yourself from company liquidation, you may want to consider how investing in your workspace can improve your business and the bottom line.
Build it and they will come… to work
How does your office space define your branding? While a unique office space can be superficial and potentially unnecessary to complete real work, you must consider the benefits of creating a space that people want to work in. Using the period where workers cannot visit the office is the perfect time for refurbishments. Construction and maintenance work is permitted during this lockdown, meaning you can create a refreshed space for when your staff return to the site.
A great working environment can boost worker morale, promote motivation, and improve your staff’s quality of life. One report found that an overwhelming 87 per cent of workers would like their employers to offer healthier workspace environments. These include wellness rooms, fitness benefits, ergonomic seating, and adjustable sit-stand desks. The appeal to make investments and create this type of space is not purely for your staff morale scores. It can help attract the best talent in your sector.
In fact, 93 per cent of workers in the tech industry said that they would stay longer at a company that offered this type of workspace. In the UK, the average cost of replacing a staff member is £12,000. The retention of your staff is important as trained staff carry the experience of your organisation, and keeping them prevents the costs of training new team members. Investing in your office space may prevent you from spending more money on losing staff.
A defined workspace
Working from home has been a unique experience for many people that were not placed on furlough during the coronavirus lockdown. However, some may have found that the novelty wore off quickly. Having a defined workspace away from home is an important investment for creating a focused environment.
When you consider that with an eight-hour working day, workers spend over one-third of their waking life in the workplace. A defined workspace is as important as a defined bedroom or kitchen.
There’s a big difference between preparing yourself for office work compared to falling out of bed and sitting in front of a laptop screen.
Promoting collaboration and innovation
Again, as important as it is to have a defined workspace, it’s also important to be surrounded by your colleagues and like-minded people. Office space can help new ideas float about easily, as opposed to the online group-chat messages that we’ve become accustomed to.
When restricted to small teams, staff will create a tunnel vision of their task, with little regard for the effects on the rest of the organisation. An open office space can help create routes of communication between your staff and departmental teams. Your task may be specific, but the final goal of your organisation is encompassing.
A sociable workspace is essential for innovation and productivity, but it also helps to prevent sick days. Nicole Fink writes that the economy loses money through “lost productivity including absenteeism, illness, and other problems that result when employees are unhappy at work.”
According to reports, absences cost the UK economy £77.5 billion per year. The need to boost morale and reduce absence can be achieved through the creation of an enjoyable working environment. A working space that creates a sense of community and wellness goes a long way to recover the cost of absenteeism.
Make efficiency quickly
An organised working space has more benefits than you may think. Investing in office furniture can help prevent clutter and make important information easier to find.
One survey found that 13.5 per cent of workers believe that they would be more productive in an organised and decluttered space. Decluttering is an easy fix with low investment costs, and the effect of using cable ties and efficient file storage will improve your business dramatically.
34 per cent of people believe that a cluttered workspace is the most likely reason to have a negative first impression of a company. This is important for clients and potential employees. If a business does not look like it is prepared for organised work, then other clients and staff will not want to work with them.
When considering the most viable investments that your business can make now, the return to work experience should be a priority. Office spaces are at the heart of your organisation and the foundation for all things creative. When workers return to the office following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the workspace can revive enthusiasm in your business. Workers will enjoy reuniting with their colleagues in a productive environment.
Whether it’s to create a space where workers feel happy or productive, for clients to recognise your value, or to increase the efficiency of work, you can profit in more ways than one from creating an office space that works for everyone.
Chris Horner is Insolvency Director at Business Rescue Expert