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Coronavirus debate: Back to the office or keep working from home?

Coronavirus debate: Back to the office or keep working from home?
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Coronavirus debate: Back to the office or keep working from home?
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

With the UK still somewhat in a transition back to normality, it can be a difficult time to know the right or wrong steps to take, not just for us as individuals, but as businesses. A key decision to make for both, is whether it’s time for staff to return to offices, continue working from home or even a bit of both. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons for each option.

Social reasons

For many, working from home has become a new way of life and those living with loved ones or friends may never have had a chance to spend so much time around their nearest and dearest. Family breakfasts and lunchtime dog walks are obvious upsides to working from home.

But even those of us with the closest, most supportive families need social interaction beyond that nuclear bubble. For the growing number of people who live alone (15% of the UK adult population, according to the Office For National Statistics), the need for social engagement is even more stark.  

Social engagement is more than a nice to have: it’s an essential. The Mental Health Foundation warns that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and increased stress. A survey that it carried out in April found that one in four adults said they had feelings of loneliness in the previous two weeks.

For many people, a large chunk of our human interaction comes in the workplace, with long-lasting friends often made in the office. A return to the workplace could give you and your staff the social and mental rejuvenation you so badly need.

Time and money

These are arguably two of, if not the most, precious commodities in business and very important factors to consider in this debate. The daily commute can be a drag, particularly if you have a fair distance to cover, not to mention the savings made on public transport fares and fuel.

That said, your staff might not actually be saving as much time working from home as you think. In April it was reported that over 40% of employees found themselves working longer hours from home than they would have usually done in the office (partly due to technical issues - see below). Our physical separation from the working space is what allows us to split work time and downtime; by staying at home the lines are blurred and it becomes tricky to keep both facets of life separate. This could eventually lead to a decrease in staff morale and overall happiness.

Our regional office spaces provide a practical solution to typical commuting woes, situated away from congested major cities. Easy for your staff to get to and available on a monthly licence which offers ideal flexibility in the current ever-changing environment.

Internet speed

Reliable, fast internet is a business essential. Although the overnight migration to working from home didn’t break the UK’s broadband, as some predicted, slow speeds have been a huge frustration for many, especially with their home bandwidth being clogged up by their family’s gaming and streaming activities. Guaranteeing reliable broadband for your team working from home is logistically very hard, and may negatively impact both your productivity and their morale.

At Capital Space, all our regional offices are equipped with high-speed internet connections that will help you get what you need done – and done on time. All our connections are equipped with a full failover, which means your service will be supported by a second connection, in the event that your primary one fails.

Health

This the most obvious and the most central concern amidst this pandemic. With the reopening of pubs, restaurants and shops, some semblance of normality has returned, but the local lockdowns already enforced show just how fragile this is and how easily virus transmission rates can start rising again.  For those with underlying health problems or regular exposure to the vulnerable, returning to work maybe too difficult and continuing to avoid the workplace and public transport may still be advisable.

However, government advice is now to return to work if you can. As a serviced office provider, Capital Space has gone to great lengths to ensure that all nine of our business accommodation centres are Covid-19 secure, including social distancing measures, sanitising stations and reducing touch points.

Put simply, there’s no current magic formula on the best option as this is certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ situation. What’s important to consider is what is in the best interests of your business and your staff, and if that is to return to the workplace – or a blended mix of work from home plus office time to enjoy the best of both worlds – then our office spaces could be the ideal solution for you.

To find out how Capital Space virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667