Even a cursory glance across our Leesman+ research shows the organisational value great workplaces have to productivity, pride and knowledge transfer. So, use that data in the recovery phase. It’s time for workplace strategists to actually demonstrate some strategic business skills, work through those numbers and use workplace as a weapon in our fight back. We must all do so properly cognisant of the likely economic uncertainty, the probable long tail of social distancing and the certain heightened public awareness of cleanliness, but these are merely factors to be weighed, not reasons to decimate years of work.
This also requires a deep understanding of how home working is actually working for all levels of employees across all functions. Then, at least when the longstanding advocates of dispersed working increase the volume of ‘the office is facing certain extinction’ rhetoric, we can test their claims with battlefront reconnaissance of our home working fight back against COVID.
One of those advocates regurgitated the overused “work is a thing you do not a place you go” on social media last week. I’d caution anyone using that these days, because the early independent evidence from the tools we have developed to measure home working employee experience suggests that for very many, whilst work is of course a thing you do, you do it best in a purposefully and considerately designed place you go to. And most would appear to be yearning to be back there already. The issue we face, is that the things employees want most from their offices are the very things social distancing would have you barrier with that hazard tape.
I for one yearn for the office—almost as much as I yearn for a time when plans can be made for dinner and wine in Switzerland.