Matthews & Goodman, one of the country’s leading property consultancies, has launched an online service to help organisations determine what their occupancy requirements will be, in preparation for their employees’ (post-pandemic) return to the office.
In a poll conducted on LinkedIn by Matthews & Goodman, 71% of office professionals who responded said they do not currently have enough space to keep office workers safe during the pandemic. Even though 59% of those polled are planning to, or have already returned to the office.
Despite the recent change in government guidance on working from home, the majority of UK office workers have not yet returned to work, despite restrictions being relaxed. According to analysis conducted by AlphaWise, only one-third of UK white-collar employees have gone back to work, compared to three-quarters of staff from European counterparts – France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The new online tool, available 24/7, is designed to help organisations review the suitability of their current accommodation and help define what they require of their workplace – in terms of functionality, productivity and ‘brand’. It also prompts them to consider the viability of opportunities, such as lease breaks, as well as limitations like lease terms.
David Laws, Partner at Matthews & Goodman said: “We are witnessing perhaps one of the most profound changes in how we work and where we work for maybe two, or even three generations.
“Lockdown demonstrated that we do not all have to be in the office, all of the time. However, many companies I have spoken to have admitted that working from home (WFH) has not been ideal in terms of productivity, team collaboration and management, as well as the psychological welfare of some employees – for whom going to the office is important for social reasons.
“However, planning the great return is proving problematical because we need to consider health and safety factors, such as physical distancing, as well as review the purpose and how we intend to use the redefined workplaces.”
A survey of business leaders by London First revealed that 41% would now require less workspace, with 70% stating that it was important for productivity that employees returned to the office.
“For some organisations, rows of desks in densely populated workplaces are no longer necessary. What they need is a combination of territory-free working zones; break-out and collaboration zones for informal brainstorms and discussions; meeting rooms for more formal meetings; and of course, staff welfare and socialising areas. The increasing use of video calls is not overly conducive to open plan areas and many are designating areas specifically for this purpose.
“Our new online tool will not provide the definitive answer, but it will help define and guide what the user requires of their workplace and help them adopt a more strategic approach to their return-to-work and/or new workplace planning.”
The new workplace planning tool can be accessed via the Matthews & Goodman website.