Friday, September 25, 2020

Half of employers to reduce office space & stagger return to work

Half of UK employers are planning to stagger return to work based on employees’ own health risks related to COVID-19, a new survey has found.

The survey from recruiter Robert Walkers also found that 46% of businesses will be staggering employees return depending on how critical their role is to the business.

The next most popular strategy is the creation of smaller workgroups (40%), followed by changing work hours (34%), a voluntary return scheme (33%), and splitting shifts (28%).

Over a quarter (28%) of businesses have stated that they will base their return-to-work strategy on local infection rates.

A third of companies have admitted to not yet considering what their return to work strategy may be.

“What the research highlights is that despite the success of home working, employers are keen to start encouraging their staff back into the workplace and are happy to take necessary steps and put procedures in place to help enable this,” said Lucy Bisset, Director at Robert Walters.

“A return to office brings about many perks, including social inclusion, better workplace collaboration, a separation of homelife, and a reinforcement of company values.

“What employers need to do is merge the perks of office-life with what people have been enjoying about working from home; for example – flexi-hours, a relaxed atmosphere, and avoidance of busy commute times.”

The new age of remote working

The survey found that 87% of employees would like more opportunities to work from home post-return, with 21% stating that they would like to work from home permanently.

Whilst 83% of firms have stated that the experience of COVID-19 will encourage business heads to have employees to work from home more often, they also cite concerns over employee productivity (64%), senior leadership preferring traditional ways of working (57%), and the nature of the business e.g. face-to-face sales (36%), as the key barriers to achieving this.

Cost saving at the core

Implementing headcount freezes (50%), and utilising government unemployment schemes (43%) were some of the most popular instant measures companies took in response to the virus.

Now as workplaces are able to re-open it seems that cost saving remains at the core of business strategy – with a reduction in office space (44%), and a reduction in travel budgets by switching to virtual meetings (46%) being the key tactics considered by companies.

“It is too early to tell whether cost saving tactics will result in a reduction in salaries or bonuses, but any freeze of the sort will likely be compensated by the increase in softer benefits such as flexi-hours, wellbeing perks, and remote working,” said Mr Bisset.

When it comes to recruitment, firms have already switched up their processes to be more cost and time efficient with 57% looking to continue with virtual interviews, 46% with online assessments, and 56% with remote onboarding.

Adaption necessary

Three quarters of employers admit that their senior team have not been equipped to manage teams remotely, and will need new training to be able to adapt to new ways of working including being more empathetic to work-life balance (74%), focussing on outcomes rather than work hours (65%), improving on virtual communication (57%), a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing (52%), and creating a more collaborative environment (36%).

It seems it is not just business heads who are anticipating changes to the future workplace, with employees expecting more flexibility to work from home (89%), investment in better technology (52%), a revised focus on wellbeing (32%), changes to the office layout (30%), more autonomy (29%), changes to work hours (18%), faster decision making (16%), and changes to performance measures (12%).

“It can be daunting for companies who have been going through a difficult period to consider spending money on their physical workspace, technical infrastructure or general operations,” Mr Bisset.

“However, those who have been through previous periods of economic turbulence will know that investment at the early stages is crucial to remaining competitive and retaining good staff.

“We’d advise all employers to undergo a period of consultation with their staff to ascertain what they believe the future of their workplace and industry is going to be.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £31.50 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.




Latest news

Haulage, storage and distribution firm secures 55,000 sq ft unit at St. Modwen Park Lincoln

St. Modwen will have another new occupier at St. Modwen Park Lincoln after haulage, storage and distribution firm George H Kime & Co Ltd...

Lincs businesses encouraged to access toolkit to ensure COVID compliance

Lincolnshire businesses are being encouraged to access a toolkit with all the information and guidance required to ensure they are COVID compliant. Put together by...

24 Yorkshire companies listed among nation’s leading mid-market private companies

Twenty-four companies have been named in the 16th annual Sunday Times PwC Top Track 250 league table ranks Britain’s leading mid-market private companies with...

City of York Council set to commit to regeneration of Castle Gateway

Senior councillors will look at plans to press ahead with a bold transformation of one of York’s most significant city centre areas at the...

Commissions calls for £4.2bn annual skills investment to combat COVID, reboot economy

The Future-Ready Skills Commission is calling for £4.2 billion of skills investment a year to reboot the economy and help the UK recover from...

Founder of Yorkshire-based Hatmill named regional Service Industries Entrepreneur at GB Entrepreneur Awards

The founder of Yorkshire-based Hatmill, Simon Dixon, has been named regional Service Industries Entrepreneur of the Year for Yorkshire and the North West at...

Related news

Haulage, storage and distribution firm secures 55,000 sq ft unit at St. Modwen Park Lincoln

St. Modwen will have another new occupier at St. Modwen Park Lincoln after haulage, storage and distribution firm George H Kime & Co Ltd...

Lincs businesses encouraged to access toolkit to ensure COVID compliance

Lincolnshire businesses are being encouraged to access a toolkit with all the information and guidance required to ensure they are COVID compliant. Put together by...

24 Yorkshire companies listed among nation’s leading mid-market private companies

Twenty-four companies have been named in the 16th annual Sunday Times PwC Top Track 250 league table ranks Britain’s leading mid-market private companies with...

City of York Council set to commit to regeneration of Castle Gateway

Senior councillors will look at plans to press ahead with a bold transformation of one of York’s most significant city centre areas at the...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close