Will workers Return to the office after June 21st?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on the UK’s workforce, with the most significant change being the number of workers now working from home.

With the recent announcement that the UK government aims to lift all restrictions by June 21st, will it go back to being business as usual, pre-pandemic?

For the majority of working professionals, the move from office-based to a digital nomad lifestyle was overnight, without any opportunity to prepare for what came next. While some struggled to adjust, juggling other stresses, such as home-schooling, a year on, things have changed.

As with everything in life, remote working has its pros and cons. Staying motivated, knowing when it’s time to “switch off”, and distractions are some of the cons.

However, a recent study by Livecareer.com found that 61% of employees surveyed want their employer to continue to allow them to work remotely once the pandemic is over. 63% of the employees surveyed said that they had maintained a sense of belonging with their employer and co-workers despite working from home, with 65% responding that homeworking positively impacted their work/ life balance. 29% went so far as to state that they would seek alternative employment if their employer didn’t allow them to continue remote working. The survey found that, of all industries surveyed, IT professionals were more likely to seek greener pastures if their employer refused to allow them to continue their role in a remote capacity.

So what will it take to entice the workforce back into the office?

  • The survey found that employers would return if offered benefits included:
  • A pay rise.
  • More time off.
  • Subsided food and drink.
  • Reimbursement of commuting costs.
  • Improved flexibility of working hours.
  • A casual dress code.

Whether you are team work from home or desperate to return to the office, one thing is a certainty, and that is workspaces will no longer be designed to accommodate a 9 to 5 workforce.

While most of the workforce will still come into the office, it is likely to be on a “now and then” basis. With half the workforce working from home, new investment is expected in visual collaboration tools to ensure that teams stayed connected. With mental health being a subject discussed a lot over the last 12 months, it is also expected that tools for assessing employee well-being will also see a boom.

The catchphrase of the post-COVID-19 workplace is most definitely flexibility. Is it a café, a team space, a social space or an office? Yes, in 2021, the workplace will become all of those things.