Following an initial avalanche of headlines heralding the end of the office, it has become clear that our central workspaces are far from obsolete.
From where we sit today, it seems unlikely that most of us will return to a 9-5, five days a week approach. However, the office remains the best place to collaborate and socialise with others and fully remote working is expected to decline over the second half of 2021, in favour of a hybrid solution that allows employees to choose where they work depending on a variety of factors. This will inevitably have implications for our office spaces.
Productivity – in the office or at home?
Avison Young’s report Productivity, the workplace and Covid-19 explores the role of a thoughtfully designed work environment in maintaining an engaged and productive workforce. Drawing on Leesman data insights from 745,000 office-based and 145,000 home-based respondents, as well as a wide range of global studies, our research was based on an adaptation of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Maslow’s theory suggests that human behaviour is driven by a range of needs, from fundamental physiological requirements to feelings of accomplishment, and that individuals become more engaged in working towards higher-level achievements as their basic needs are met.
As many desk-based employees began working from home in March 2020, initial surveys suggested a large proportion of them were able to adapt well, even enjoying an absent commute and a refuge from the distractions of open-plan offices. Our research showed 75% of surveyed employees favoured home environments for individual, focused work, arguably supporting the claim that homeworking was productive, at least for a while.
However, following multiple national lockdowns, the irreplaceable social pull of a shared office space has become evident to many. Several multinational companies have even publicly attributed their employees’ feelings of isolation, low m