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The impact of Covid 19 pandemic on employee sentiment and office design
We’re all familiar with the monumental impact of Covid-19. As we begin to live in the ‘new normal’, there is ample room to consider how to optimize our routines and working lives. Hybrid working is now on the vast majority of employers’ agendas and businesses are increasingly looking at their workforce to consider how best to accommodate their working patterns, preferences and comfort levels.
A professional environment can fundamentally impact our experience of a job. We spend a huge portion of our lives at work, so it’s critical that employers listen to the needs of their team members and ensure that it’s a space in which people actually enjoy spending time.
What do office workers desire? Has there been a shift in working patterns? If so, how has this shift impacted our attitudes toward the design of a workspace? And finally, with all this in mind, how can we create an office that reflects what employees really want?
We wanted to get to the heart of the issue, so we conducted a survey with over 300 London-based professionals. Read on to learn all about our findings.
How have working patterns shifted since Covid-19?
So, did the pandemic really impact our working patterns? According to our survey, the 5-day working week has significantly reduced – from 58% pre-pandemic to 19% post-pandemic. We also found that many people have moved to a hybrid working model (part-time at home and part-time in the office). The number-one working pattern now appears to be 2-4 days a week in the office.
What changes have employers already made?
Many employers have, of course, already made accommodations for working in a post-pandemic society. When asked what changes their employers had made to their office, a large portion of people reported less-crowded desk spacing (presumably a side-effect of hybrid working), 49% introduced more video conferencing facilities and 42% improved office ventilation.
What changes would employees like to see?
But of course, there is always room for improvement – and many employees expressed that more optimizations were needed. The most significant change that office workers wanted to see were improved ventilation (52.5%), wider spaced desks (44%) less crowded offices (42.5%) and more video conferencing facilities (33.5%). It seems that despite the changes that employers have started to make, there is room to improve our professional spaces to suit post-pandemic office life.
And what biophilic features are important in an office fit out for employees?
We’ve learned that workers value their safety and physical wellbeing at work – but design features and overall spatial aesthetic are just as critical to get right. Almost three quarters of respondents (75.5%) considered access to natural light as vital to an office space. Nearly half of respondents (43.5%) considered natural vegetation as an important feature. And a third desired features such as natural colours (31.5%), natural materials (30.5%), images of nature (29.0%), natural textures (28.5%) and natural design, such as more natural shapes and fewer straight lines (27.5%).
Our survey suggests there is much to discover about employee perspectives on office fit outs. It can hugely impact employee retention and attraction and we know that many workers in London are craving improvements – both in terms of layout and aesthetic. Since the pandemic, our focus on mental wellbeing is only increasing in significance – and this would be greatly improved by assuring that office design has good ventilation, is less crowded, and has biophilic design features.
Office users are ready for improved professional spaces, and our team has the perfect solution to help. If you’re curious about how to optimize your office space to best suit your employees contact Barker for a free office fit-out consultation today.