Q: How can I draw people back to the office when they’ve become used to working remotely? 

Office technology and changes to UK employment law, which gives employees the right to request flexible working, have resulted in a fundamental shift in how people perceive workplaces. Although you may see productivity gains, increased mobility can result in feeling disconnected or a lack of collaboration.

To succeed in supporting and developing a high-performing workforce, today’s businesses need to create a culture that engages employees. It’s about providing a great workplace experience and environment where people really want to be, not have to be. This is even more important for out of town offices that perhaps don’t benefit from amenities on their doorstep.

What can my office design do to help?

In design terms, this means implementing an ‘activity-based working’ model. Activity-based working provides a variety of settings to support different types of working. It’s a mix of quiet, informal and formal areas, and it represents what workers have been crying out for. The most critical aspect of activity-based working is being able to move away from your desk without question. When you’re in the office, your desk is no longer the only place to do work.

If I'm not at my desk, then where else can I work?

Rather than working in a dingy space, well designed offices empower people to work more creatively and comfortably – like they would at home or a café. Through design and choice of furniture, you can create different areas – whether it’s using high-backed booths or pods to break up the open plan, colours to designate ‘zones’ for collaborative or quiet working, plants and sofas to create a more domestic feel, or using retractable walls to change room configurations. When planning your fit out, your chosen partner should help you navigate the gimmicks and create interesting spaces that support collaboration, communication, creativity and community.

Your office has the potential to be a place where people actively choose to be, and that alone is possibly the greatest competitive advantage of all. 

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