HomeTalent ManagementRewards & BenefitsEmployee BenefitsMore than 40% of workers would return to the office for free food amidst cost-of-living crisis

More than 40% of workers would return to the office for free food amidst cost-of-living crisis

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Businesses are recognizing that a focus on flexibility, well-being, and development can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce.

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Despite a huge increase in the number of businesses adopting a hybrid working model,  new research from Crown Workspace has revealed that almost half (46%) of hybrid workers believe their office or workspace does not suit a hybrid working model and is in need of modernisation.

In recent months a number of businesses have requested a return to the office or an increase to the number of days spent in the office. The research found 21% of respondents would feel more encouraged to return with the promise of better hardware and IT. 

Other changes that would encourage them to return to the office would be having a pet-friendly office (18%) and an increase in plants or flowers in the building (15%) would also motivate them to go into the office more.

The research, conducted amongst 2,000 hybrid working adults in the UK, also revealed where changes to workspaces to support hybrid working are actually being seen.

The biggest changes being made to office spaces includes reducing the number of desks (33%) with 28% working on a hot-desking system, the introduction of more private/ quiet areas (32%) and the introduction of more breakout areas for collaborative work (27%).

Other research findings include:

  • More than a fifth (21%) of hybrid workers said they were not consulted in what they wanted from their office workspace
  • Over 40% of hybrid workers said that free food and drink would encourage them to return
  • Nearly a third (27%) would be motivated by social events with colleagues
  • More than half (52%) of hybrid workers said they wanted to see a removal of 9-5 working days and a movement towards more flexible choice of hours

“For some time it’s been clear that businesses must focus on making sure their offices and other workspaces suit the changing needs of their team, which will vary greatly dependent on a variety of factors such as age and location,” says Jacqueline Bird, Head of Workplace Consultancy at Crown Workspace.

“We recognise that employees are using the office in a different way than they were before the pandemic – using their office days to catch up and collaborate with colleagues or clients and then doing the bulk of their focused work from home. We’ve never seen such a big shift in our working lives so this is the perfect opportunity for businesses to examine what their employees really want and need and how they can ensure their offices are fit for the future.”

Adjusting the the way offices run

Businesses will need to adjust to the way that their offices are run in order to keep their employees engaged. 

To make the office more appealing and encourage in-office collaboration, companies are redesigning their workspaces. This includes creating more open and collaborative spaces, integrating greenery and natural light, and providing amenities such as fitness centers, cafeterias with healthy food options, and relaxation areas.

These enhancements are aimed at improving employee well-being and fostering a sense of community and collaboration when employees are in the office.

“The workplace environment is one aspect of working life that its easily overlooked. But employers who take a truly holistic view towards creating a positive working environment can easily stay a step ahead of those who don’t,” says Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula.

“Being currently in the process of an office refresh ourselves, we’ve seen first-hand just what a difference it can make to employees. The use of calming colours and natural materials in the completed areas, new spaces designed specifically to encourage collaboration as well as break out areas for employees to use in their downtime, have all had incredibly positive feedback from our staff who love to use the ‘new’ office.”

Keep the focus on the employee

There’s a growing recognition of the importance of mental health and overall well-being in the workplace. Companies are offering more support services, such as counseling, mental health days, and workshops on stress management and mindfulness.

By prioritizing the well-being of their employees, businesses aim to create a supportive work environment that can lead to higher levels of engagement and productivity.

“It’s also a huge opportunity to examine the effect of your carbon footprint in your workspace and make some meaningful changes.  We know a big issue is simply not knowing where to start, but if businesses don’t start making adjustments, they could find themselves losing out on great talent and future growth,” says Bird.

To keep employees engaged and motivated, businesses are providing more opportunities for professional growth and development.

This includes access to online courses, workshops, mentorship programs, and paths for career advancement. Encouraging continuous learning not only helps employees grow their skills but also ensures that the company can evolve and adapt to changes in its industry.

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