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Employees want ‘COVID havens’ and socialising areas to entice them back to the office

A new poll from MoreySmith has revealed that half of British employees want specially designed areas in the office for socialising if they are to stop working from home.

19/05/2021 2 min read

The survey of 1017 UK adults (in full or part time work) commissioned by the leading designers asked the public about their new expectations of work, following 14 months of COVID restrictions and working from home.

The survey also found that two thirds of employees (67%) want ‘COVID havens’ (offices that guarantee hygiene so there’s no need for COVID restrictions once on site) when returning to the office.

The poll comes one month before many workers are expected to return to the office as vaccine rollouts ease the stipulations on people to work from home on 21st June.

According to Linda Morey-Burrows, Founder and Principal Director of MoreySmith: “Many companies want employees to return to the office from June 21st to reinstate a sense of identity and common single purpose.

“We are finding that whilst many young people are desperate to return to the workplace for a better, more social working environment, employees with a long commute and young children are often more reluctant to stop working from home.

“As this polling demonstrates, it’s essential that workspaces are designed to encourage and stimulate this return to work. Offices must be created to cater for the new world with flexibility, comfort, outside spaces and sociability front of mind for designers.”

Wellbeing has become another key consideration for employees, with the MoreySmith poll finding that almost half (43%) of employees want access to mental health facilities on site. A further 44% of people said that access to outdoor terraces and gardens is an important consideration in their decision to return to the physical workspace.

The trends of increased bike and pet ownership were reflected in the results as over one in three employees (35%) said they wanted secure bike facilities and showers on-site, while one in five (19%) pet owners said that bringing their animal to work would be an important factor in deciding whether to stop working from home.

Most major employers are trying to figure out how to bring staff back to the office as vaccine rollouts ease the stipulations on people to work from home.

The poll has expanded on research conducted by MoreySmith in The New Normal report, that examined employee attitudes to the new ways of working at the start of lockdown in March 2020.

MoreySmith has been creating spaces that reflect changing employee needs throughout the pandemic with the poll finding that one in five (20%) employees are looking for excellent on-site entertainment facilities, while two thirds (66%) said flexible start times will be an important factor in their decision to return to the office.

The survey also found that one in four employees (25%) would move to a four-day working week even if their wages were reduced by one fifth.

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