Five-Day Office Return Unlikely Without Office Space Rethink
Employers need to speak to staff and rethink workspaces before pushing ahead with full-time office returns, according to workplace creation expert, Unispace. Responding to reports from the latest KPMG CEO Outlook that suggest 64% of global leaders expect staff to be back in the workplace full time by 2026, Unispace has warned that employee engagement could be damaged if mandates are used to achieve these attendance levels. In its 'Returning for Good' report – which combined the results of a survey of 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers from 17 countries worldwide – the firm found that 58% of workers struggle to carry out their core job in the office due to distractions and excessive meetings. The data also revealed that over a quarter (29%) of businesses that had already mandated returns were struggling to recruit while 42% had experienced higher than usual staff attrition rates. As Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, explained, this suggests employees are struggling with office working and likely to move elsewhere if forced to return to a space they do not feel productive in. “While encouraging a return to the office makes business sense for firms that have spaces going underutilised, there needs to be complete clarity around why people haven’t naturally begun heading into the workplace more and what difference workforces want from the space itself. With our data showing that people don’t feel productive in the office, it’s understandable that many want to continue working in a hybrid manner." “However, with firms also revealing difficulties attracting and retaining staff at a time when skills shortages are still rife, it is imperative that business leaders get to grips with the unique wants and needs of their workforces and use this information to drive meaningful changes."
"What people need in the workspace today is vastly different to a few years ago. Having been able to work in quiet spaces but also collaborate online when needed, employees are rethinking how and where they want to work. If employers force a five-day office return too quickly and without finding out what their people want from the office, staff attraction and retention will be negatively impacted.”