By Penketh Group Insights Team
5th June 2021
According to research released by the Office of National Statistics pre-pandemic, 50% of UK employees would be working remotely by 2020. The same study also revealed that nearly all (90%) of workers in the UK would like to work remotely at least part-time.
The benefits of remote working have proven to be manifold for both employer and employee and the figures suggest that the future of work is going to be more mobile than ever. Something which has been significantly catalysed by the fallout of COVID-19.
While it does have many advantages, when not executed strategically, remote working can also bring about a handful of workplace issues.
These potential workplace issues include:
- Poor communication between teams and individual staff members
- A low sense of belonging to the workplace culture and community
- Poor trust from senior members of staff
- Low levels of participation from staff who aren’t physically present
- A lack of concentration and dipped productivity
So, what commercial design and office fit out measures can be taken to ensure these problems don’t arise? Our advice…
Video conferencing and virtual collaboration
In our article on the best ways to improve communication between resident and mobile workers, we referenced Remote.co’s finding that the practice of remote working has increased by 115% since 2005.
In the article, we also covered how important video conferencing is when trying to sustain strong and streamline communication between remote and resident staff. Many now facilitate multi-touch functionality for mutual and equal participation between staff who are both physically and digitally present.
Many SMART and interactive boards such as the Google Jamboard also enable remote participation in things like meetings and collaboration sessions. The Jamboard works with Google functions to also enable cloud-based storage of documents which can be accessed and shared between by both inhouse and off-site staff.
Non-assigned hot desk spaces
Although many staff are and want to be ‘remote’, they still need to be a part of the community when they are working in the office. Ensuring they are as much a part of the company as resident staff is essential for morale, communication, teamwork and mental wellbeing.
Hot desks are ideal as they can be populated as and when they are required. They are a much more multifunctional alternative to assigned desks and therefore, a more cost effective and space-savvy desking solution within the modern workplace.
That said, there are now more hygiene considerations that come into play where shared work settings are concerned. In non-assigned workspaces, be sure to wipe down furniture before and after use to prevent spread of infection.
A well-balanced hybrid of different work settings
Providing a versatile choice of work settings to choose from supports the acclimatisation of remote staff back into the ‘base’ workplace.
Working off-site means different things to different people. For some, it might mean immersion into the coffee shop culture and working in high-traffic areas surrounded by lots of other people and plenty of human interaction.
For others, it may mean working from the silent sanctuary of their own home as this is where they find optimal productivity and focus.
In order to streamline their participation within the wider workforce and facilitate their chosen working methods, this variety needs to be replicated ‘back at the office’.
A place to put things
Similarly to open plan workspaces, nomadic and remote working can also create issues around personal storage and the security of belongings. With less dedicated workstations, many staff now no longer have assigned personal storage, which can create problems when it comes to organisation and productivity.
Ensure that the employees who are coming and going on a regular basis still have somewhere secure to ‘put stuff’ to avoid poor organisation, frustration and a lack of belonging. We recommend lockers which can be activated on a first-come-first-served basis via individual mobile devices to maximise the use of your office storage solutions.