By: Daisy Spain, Commercial Manager at Office Space Cleaning and Facilities Management (OSCFM)
Over the last two years, many have been quick to declare the office out of date and look to remote working as the future. Yet, we have recently seen companies adopt a more hybrid model which combines both in-person and remote workstyles.
Indeed, the proportion of hybrid workers has risen this year from 13% in February to 24% in May, and the amount working exclusively from home has fallen from 22% to 14% within the same period. These statistics point to a change in the nature of office work, not its dismissal.
Businesses are also employing new ‘Back-To-Office’ strategies to attract employees into their physical workspace. These plans look at how companies can provide workplaces that are attractive to employees or how to upgrade existing workspaces which have been neglected in recent years.
The key to any successful back-to-office plan is providing workers with a higher quality of office space. This will not only enable businesses to stand out against their competition but will also benefit the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees.
Stand out on the shelf
First impressions are always important, and an office can be the first point of contact for many businesses. Although it may be cliché to judge a book by its cover, for many firms, particularly those at the vanguard of financial and professional services, competition is rife and standing out from the crowd is often the first step in both winning and retaining business.
With in-person business making a return, office spaces will once again become a window into a company’s professionalism and standards. Cleanliness should therefore be at the top of the to-do list for office managers, ensuring maintenance strategies reflect their company values.
However, prioritising hygiene doesn’t mean scrimping on flair. Operators are still free to be as creative as they want. From nautically styled roof terraces to brainstorming in outer space-themed meeting rooms, office providers such as Office Space in Town are looking to break with traditional stereotypes around what offices should look like. If companies wish to draw their employees back to the office, they will need both creativity and cleanliness.
The fourth utility
Over the last year, attitudes towards cleaning have vastly altered, with 69% of British people now paying greater attention to cleanliness and hygiene.
Indeed, research has revealed a clear ‘worker wish list’ which prioritised workspace maintenance and hygiene with 56% of workers requesting hand sanitizer at desks, 48% wanting sneeze screens, and 36% desiring additional cleaning measures.
Back-to-office strategies should implement enhanced cleaning measures in the workplace which will work to remove hygiene-related reservations to returning to the office. With employees clearly desiring cleanliness, it is time for operators to place office hygiene amongst traditional utility expenses, such as electricity, gas and water, as an unspoken must-have requirement.
Healthy employees, healthy business
Recent research has highlighted both the physical and mental benefits a well-managed office can bring. Indeed, as well as a highly reduced risk of spreading illnesses, the positive impact on mental health can be just as strong. In fact, the regular routine and improved work-life balance of the office can help reduce the chance of burnout, facilitate better career development and boost company culture, a core component of staff retention.
Outside of incentivising employees to return to the office, maintaining a high-quality office space will also help boost employee confidence and cohesion. Companies will be hard pressed to overlook the benefits a high-quality office space brings, including providing people with a clearer picture of how your firm operates – building positive associations and assurance in your company’s ability.
While the outlook for the office may have been bleak a year ago, today businesses have a unique opportunity to alter the way offices operate. One thing is for certain, if these strategies are to become a success story of the post-pandemic era, businesses must revaluate the role which cleaning occupies within the modern office.