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Mandating an increase in days in the office does not address why staff are reluctant to return

With firms including KPMG, Starbucks, and Twitter mandating an increase in office returns, global workplace creation expert, Unispace, has warned that this approach will be detrimental to employer brands and culture, as well as staff productivity, motivation and creativity, unless the root cause of this reluctance is addressed.

Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO, EMEA at Unispace commented:
“Business leaders have an understandable desire to encourage staff back to the office – and for good reason – but doing so without first addressing what is preventing employees from wanting to return of their own accord is a risky move. Breaking habits is difficult to do and if we are to entice people back into the office they need to be given a reason.

“If we explore some of the barriers identified by employees in their return to the office, it is clear that changes are needed in the workspace itself to better accommodate the new world of work. According to our own study of 3,000 office workers across Europe, staff want to see improvements in the working environment, with 95% of those surveyed indicating a desire to make various physical changes to their office.

“When we look at what these amendments would consist of, the top four elements identified included: creating areas for private work, adding more amenities, improving the overall layout, and adding more outdoor space. If these requirements are not being considered before mandates are put in place, businesses could risk an exodus of talent who are unhappy with the set up they are being forced into.

“Staff need to want to be in the office, not told they have to. We might not be facing the same desire for the Google offices of old with foosball tables or slides, but businesses do need to take a realistic look at what the physical workplace gives their people and whether or not this is in line with what staff need.”

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