Let’s hear it for the workplace!

Choice of meeting rooms at Tommee Tippee, designed and fitted by Ben Johnson Interiors

So what’s going on the world of the workplace?

Since lockdown, nobody seems to agree what our offices should look like or even “be” any more.

In the States, CNN reports that the office, as we know it, is dead. You can read what they say here

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford has asks 30,000 employees to clear out their desks as they make way for a forthcoming workplace revamp.

In the UK, we seem to be taking a more cautious approach. According to a recent Times survey, three quarters of Britain’s biggest employers are looking at a permanent shift to flexible working.

Imperial Brands, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies based in Bristol, has already introduced a flexible working policy since the lockdown that provides employees with a permanent range of flexible working options, including increased working from home.

Although The Times’s survey found that many of Britain’s largest companies are preparing to increase the number of employees able to work in offices at a social distance this autumn, companies still appear to remain at reduced and varying capacities.

Insurance giant Arriva begins a trial this month asking more employees to return with a capacity of around 10% of its office space. It is planning to test different approaches over the next few months.

It is this careful “trial and error”, experimental approach to home and office working that appears to be catching on in the UK. Individual companies are finding out what works best for them, for their teams’ wellbeing and for their productivity – but this may take time.

Chris Gray, a director of Manpower Group in the UK says: “We had to freeze (working in offices) very quickly. The speed of the thaw will be much slower.”

i-view viewing rooms, designed by Ben Johnson Interiors

Virgin Money is taking an alternative approach by starting to re-purpose its offices as “collaboration hubs” for meetings and problem solving.

This sounds like an interesting plan. After all, for many people, although initially it seemed like fun and a novelty to work from home, as time passed there were a few little things we started to miss. A quick discussion amongst the Ben Johnson Interiors team and we came up with:

  1. That collective motivation you can get from others
  2. Variety of different settings to work in
  3. Defined work-life balance
  4. Simple human interaction!
  5. Travelling time to allow you to mentally gear up for the day and then wind down for home.

So let’s hear it for the workplace! It’s unlikely to be in quite the same mould as before – and we may not be visiting every day, but it should definitely be a positive, motivating place where we can all go to feel part of a team and achieve tasks together.

If you’d like advice on how to refurbish or transform your office into a positive, motivating “collaboration hub”, then call us now on 03333 449 249