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Replicating homeworking’s safe spaces in the office


 

When we had to work from home, it was the social aspect of the office that we missed most sorely.  Now that many of us are back in the office, at least part time, what are we missing?  Paul Greenslade, Head of Furniture at Banner, explains how to replicate the home-working safe space in the office… 

Some of us took to homeworking like a fish to water, others missed the office terribly, but both schools of thought will probably agree; the office is not as cosy as your own home.  

Homeworking can be lonely, and not everyone has the environment at home to work comfortably, but over the pandemic our eyes were opened to the benefits of rolling out of bed 15 minutes before work, a short commute only as far as the bedroom, working in our dressing gowns in our own personal habitat, and making tea in our own kitchen with our own milk. 

Obviously, it’s not possible to realise all these benefits at the office, unless you want an extremely casual culture, but one thing that can be replicated quite easily is the feeling of relaxed safety and cosiness.  And there’s good reason to do this, too. 

If you’ve adopted some form of hybrid working since returning to the office, you might be tempted to downsize to reduce your overheads.  But if downsizing means cramming your colleagues into a tight space like sardines, you’re doing them and your business a disservice.  You’ll negatively affect productivity, you’ll find it harder to recruit when prospective new employees see the working environment and, critically, you’ll make people miss the glory days of working from home permanently. 

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Instead, there are a lot of benefits to be reaped by using that extra space to upgrade your breakout areas.  Providing a private, soft-furnished spot where your colleagues can go and concentrate in peace, and larger comfortable collaborative spaces, will bring that sense of safety and relaxation you get at home into the office. 

If space is still at a premium, isolation booths are a quick and easy way to create private areas, and it’s so easy to underestimate the impact a sofa and some plants can have on the mental attitude of your team.

Breakout spaces probably don’t feel like a revolutionary idea, but if your company is anything like mine, even though we had breakout and collaborative areas, they weren’t well used before the pandemic.  If you’re sold on the idea of investing in them more, you also need to make sure they get used.  The culture of a business is set by the senior leadership team, so if you want people to reap the benefits of a change of location or a private nook, you need to be using them yourself, and regularly.

So, get in the office and get comfy! 

 

To find out more about Banner and its workplace design consultancy service, visit www.Banneruk.com.  

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