Businesses must be braver when balancing colleague flexibility with the needs of the business

11 March 2024

It’s time for businesses to put a clear strategy in place when it comes to hybrid working to boost productivity. This is the leading message in our latest whitepaper; Evolving Workspaces 2024.

The paper argues that for hybrid working to work effectively, a structured workplace strategy is critical, one that balances both employee and business needs equally.

The workspace experts explain that three challenges exist for businesses in today’s plight for improved productivity:

  •  A lack of clarity from employees around business strategy
  •  A lack of understanding around which tasks have the most impact (worsened by remote working)
  • Office environments that are not fit for purpose

Research regarding remote work productivity has been largely positive since the pandemic, with employee sentiment backing the argument to maintain flexible working arrangements. However, many large tech firms from Amazon to Zoom, started to mandate colleagues back to the office during 2023.

More recent research from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests workers who work from home full-time are 18% less productive than in-house office employees, either taking longer to complete tasks or getting less done. Remote work also has growing links to higher levels of loneliness and worsened mental health in colleagues if they feel isolated or do not have a sufficient work from home environment.

Our new report states that business leaders must balance colleague demands for flexibility with the evolving challenges of delivering business growth and maintaining colleague wellbeing against a backdrop of multiple economic difficulties.

Alex Kerr, CEO of Kerr Office Group states “2024 will see office use need a strategy as much as any other critical business asset. Remote working obviously has its benefits for employees, however many businesses are keen to attract colleagues back to the office and recognise the impact of more colleague connection.

“Remote workers inevitably spend more time alone than their in-office counterparts so helping encourage colleagues to collaborate in person on a regular basis has a range of personal as well as business benefits.”

Alongside the report, we has also created a workspace audit and office fitout blueprint that allows businesses to assess how they can implement this structured approach successfully.

Sarah Payne, Head of Design at Kerr. comments “Our workspace audit helps businesses build their understanding of how their office space is currently used and how it can be optimised for the specific needs of the business.

“An office space must facilitate growth by supporting colleagues to do their best work. A space that was used for a traditional style of working before the pandemic may not be viable for how the business operates in 2024.

“Spaces that allow for a diverse range of working styles should now be prioritised. Offices may be of smaller square footage but businesses are expecting that space to work harder for their business and more productivity for their people.”

To read the full report and access the resources visit here

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