We’re still coming out the other side of the most prominent work from home experiment business – and the world – has ever seen. Whether your company has adapted well to the seismic shift or not, we’re here to tell you why an office space can still play an essential role in your business and will always be an important requirement for many organisations going forward.

Although COVID turned business and the global economy on its head, it’s great to see how fast companies adapt to substantial changes – it’s commendable. Employees found their feet and have no doubt got their own remote working schedule that works best for them.

It might seem as though your business should jump on the ‘embrace working from home’ bandwagon, but just because it’s a good fit for Twitter employees – does it mean it’s a good fit for you?

Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey stated on 12 May that all Twitter employees now had the choice whether they work from home full-time or work from the office a few days a week. But before you make the same announcement, here’s our view on the topic.

This is the HQ of one of our Public Sector clients in SW1 London – 18th Floor reception area. Photo by Nick Saville.

You need a creative, physical space

Working as a furniture consultancy in London for the past 12 years, our team and our cumulative 100 year-plus experience tell us, you need a hub for employees. Centralised office space can work wonders for any industry. Although project management software like Slack, Trello or Monday.com all have their place in helping keep everything organised off-site – there’s no reason you can’t integrate your new digital comms tools into a physical environment.

Keeping tabs on what everyone is doing online while having the opportunity to talk through issues or project barriers in real-time and problem solve is what offices were made for. Sitting alone at home is great to focus in on a single project or task, but full-time? We think employees crave social interaction. Comparison site, Finder.com reported that 30.9% of remote workers say that they struggle with loneliness when working remotely. Your organisation can go some way to combating the loneliness by keeping an office space and implementing a more flexible working pattern.

In-person meetings/chats are helpful

There’s only so much a phone call or a patchy video call can substitute. Video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts have been an invaluable tool for helping us communicate effectively when there were no other options. These shouldn’t replace in-person communication. In-person communication means you can read non-verbal cues easily, making conversations more natural and more productive. Being able to fully engage (and see and feel) with a client or your team helps to speed up micro-decisions helping the bigger decisions. Face-to-face meetings enhance and in turn quicken the validation process.

A survey conducted by Furniture At Work found that 76% of employees had what they considered to be close friends in the office. Not only does this relationship improve the mental wellbeing of the employee, but it’s shown to have a significant impact on the output of work. For example, 66% agreed that it improved their job satisfaction, and 61% said it increases their productivity.

Removing your office space poses a threat to these intimate relationships we all rely so heavily upon.

Take into account cost savings but don’t forget personal elements

Employers should use the results from the work from home period to inform how the business will operate adequately when everything returns to our new ‘normal’. This period of uncertainty has offered you as the employer a chance to understand how your staff work best.

If they didn’t before, then there’s a good chance employees will crave a more flexible approach to their work life. Family is important, and this pandemic has highlighted that more than anything. As their manager, you should try and configure the office that offers collaborative spaces, and supports flexible working. From hang out areas to creative meeting and thinking spaces; you can make changes to your office space for the better.

From sanitising spaces to getting rid of hot-desking, here’s how to adapt your office for the return to work.

Need guidance on how to get your office ready to welcome employees back? Contact us today: 01932 379 427.

It’s fair to say that the global coronavirus pandemic has knocked all UK businesses sideways. While we’re all trying to make sense of our new ‘normal’, it’s essential to think ahead to your office layout – what changes will you have to make to ensure employees feel comfortable and safe?

We believe communication and socialising shouldn’t be comprised in the workplace; after all, it plays an essential role in the day-to-day running of any office environment. Without interaction, employees can feel isolated and disconnected from their work and the team members around them.

At MBFurniture, we understand that, as an employer, you’re probably feeling the pressure to adequately adapt your office environment to adhere to the Government’s latest guidelines.

We’ve witnessed tape markers for the high-touch and high-traffic areas of your office – areas including the kitchen, coffee stations, water coolers and toilets. These are all apparent and straightforward distancing measures to outline with tape on the floor. But what about desks and workstation layouts?

We’re sharing some of our top tips, with some product suggestions from our furniture partner, Bene.

Image source: unsplash.com

Say goodbye to sharing

It isn’t feasible or realistic to continue implementing hot-desking areas in your business. There should be one person to one desk each day. Now is also not the time to be generous and lend out personal equipment – from pens and coffee cups, each employee should have their own equipment for their use alone.

If possible, employees should bring in their own personal keyboard and mouse. Just having the surface of the desk to disinfect means the challenge of keeping everything sanitary at the end of each day a little easier.

Employees should have their own cleaning products

If not for easing their own anxieties, it will go some way to ensure other employees feel more comfortable in the space, too. Think hand sanitisers, disinfecting wipes and sprays. Each employee is responsible for their own workstation, at least until a cleaner comes in after each workday.

To ensure work surfaces are kept clean, you need to implement a solution to keep desks clutter-free and generally very tidy. This could mean providing each employee with a tray or folder system to keep paper off the desks.

Install desk shields

Installing transparent shields between each desk means employees can still communicate with colleagues effectively while respecting social distancing guidelines. This can mean you won’t have to shuffle all your desk layouts around – this is a particularly good option if you’re looking to keep costs down or don’t have the space to move your office furniture.

This photo by Bene shows how effective a transparent screen can be in the office environment. You can work as usual from your desk and interact with colleagues easily. The protective shields from Bene can be used as individual elements or in combination. A universally applicable solution that offers employees, customers and suppliers the best possible protection.


Additional steps for employers:

  • Installing hand sanitiser dispensers throughout your office
  • Motion-sensitive lighting, reducing cross-contamination via light switches
  • Wipeable and non-porous surfaces in high-touch areas (kitchen, coffee station, desks etc.)
  • All employees are required to eat at their desks
  • Trialling out half staff occupancy, if possible, to ensure social distancing is respected and maintained (or shift rotation, half staff in Mondays and Tuesdays, rest in Wednesdays and Thursdays at different desks)

Chat to us today about getting your office ready for a return to work. Make your employees your priority, and let’s get your business back on track. Email us on info@mbfurniture.co.uk or call us on 07833 310 671.