A Home From Home
As current trends move towards more open and fluid office spaces, with designs that take into consideration employee wellbeing and are more geared to the social aspect of working life, it’s no surprise that working in the office has become the new ‘working from home’.
Many people cite the benefits of working from home to include the flexibility, along with cutting out lengthy commutes and the need for greater concentration that the peace and quiet of an empty house is able to provide. Very few will admit that comfort plays a significant role and is a key influencer in the decision making of whether to work from home or not. However, if you drill down hard enough, that’s exactly what it is and the current trend for office design, which is becoming increasingly evident, has made this the big reveal.
Workers are after the comfort factor. That’s the big secret exposed. They don’t particularly want to be housebound, at the mercy of Virgin Media or an important parcel delivery, and there’s a good few who aren’t actually itching to be close enough to pick up the kids on a regular basis. They just want access to the big cushions and comfy chairs; they want the home comforts and the quiet spaces to hide and take time out as well as to work in.
If the office can offer a bit of that and more, then it may well be time to return to the mother ship for the many and to cut back a bit on the working from home. In recognition of this, some offices are specifically trying to create the home from home feel with sofas and bean bags and ‘help yourself’ fully stocked fridges. It’s certainly more appealing to staff and offers more of an incentive for those considering working late than the faceless corporate approach, lacking in comfort and any sense of creativity.
Some of our clients have reported back to us this year that more of their home workers than anticipated have returned to the office after a significant fit out. In some cases, the possibility of this outcome has not been factored in and space has become restricted as a result.
It’s always worth remembering that ‘if you build it they will come’ and if you design and fit out with the end user and his or her comfort in mind, the chances are that your employees, who have previously opted to work from home, may well return in their droves. Whether the numbers of those returning to the office from their work bases at home will continue to climb remains to be seen but it’s certainly worth encouraging. When it comes to communication and collaboration, you can’t beat a bit of face time. Giving those who work from home a reason to venture into the office on a more frequent and regular basis is, therefore, certainly no bad thing.
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