With COVID-19 restrictions set to end on July 19, more than half (52%) of British people currently working from home say they are ready to return to the office, but more than a third (35%) are still concerned their offices aren’t COVID secure, according to new research from Mitie1.
While the typical office worker wants to go into the office between two and three days per week, three fifths (60%) think that the company they work for needs to improve the office environment to prevent staff becoming ill in the future.
When asked what measures would make employees feel more confident in returning to the workplace, hand sanitiser at every desk, toilets cleaned more frequently, better ventilation systems, and more space between workstations were top of the list. Office workers are also keen to see their employers invest in the latest technology to ensure their workplaces are safe – with systems using ultraviolet light to kill germs, for example to clean air and surfaces, thermal imaging technology which can detect when people have a raised temperature and desk booking apps all featuring on their wish lists.
The research also highlights how important good office facilities are in order for employees to feel happy to return to workplaces and attracting top talent to the business. Four fifths (81%) of respondents say they wouldn’t want to work for a company that had poor office facilities, compared to more than three quarters (79%) who would be attracted to an employer who has invested in technology to ensure a safe return to their workplace.
It’s unsurprising that two fifths of office workers (43%) admit to now suffering from ‘Work from Home fatigue’. The research found that over a third (35%) of workers think their career has been negatively affected by working from home – with this figure rising to almost half (47%) amongst those aged 18 to 34. Meanwhile more than half (55%) think that team collaboration and creativity has been hampered by working from home.
The study shows that balance is key when it comes to where colleagues want to work. Nearly nine in ten (87%) respondents want a flexible working pattern which allows them to work from home or the office depending on the task, while three quarters (74%) wouldn't work for a company that didn't allow them to work flexibly.
Daniel Guest, Chief Operating Officer, Technical Services, Mitie, said:
“Whilst working from home has been a success for many it’s clear that people are ready to return to the office, but employees need to be reassured that their workplace is clean and safe.
“It’s important that businesses listen to their colleagues’ concerns and ensure the workplace is a safe environment ready for their return. This can include small gestures like hand sanitiser on desks and free masks, but also investing in technology like systems that use ultraviolet light to kill germs or thermal imaging cameras to detect when people have a raised temperature will go a long way to ensuring colleagues are confident with coming back to the office.”
Top workplace changes office workers want to see:
Hand sanitiser at every desk
Toilets cleaned more frequently
Better ventilation systems
Better cleaning regime generally
More space between workstations
Increased 'touch point' cleaning - bannisters, door handles etc...
Reduced office/meeting room capacity to allow for social distancing
More visible cleaners
Desk booking apps/systems
Rules around making drinks for others
Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection which uses UV light to kill germs
Thermal imaging technology which can detect when people have a raised temperature
Mitie is supporting its customers in preparing for their colleagues to return to their office spaces by installing disinfection systems which use UV light to help eradicate pathogens from air and surfaces, as well as additional services to ensure a COVID secure environment – such as meeting and desk booking apps, and specialist cleaning services.
Notes to editors
- Survey of 5,000 employees who have been working from home during the pandemic, undertaken by OnePoll in July 2021.
Founded in 1987, Mitie’s job is to look after places where Britain works and is the leading facilities management company in the UK. We offer a range of services to Central Government and Defence customers; Communities (Healthcare, Education and Local Authorities); and Technical Services (Engineering Services, Energy, Water and Real Estate Services) and Business Services (Security, Cleaning and Office Services) to Private Sector clients in Financial Services, Manufacturing, Transport, Retail and Telecoms and increasingly to the public sector. Finally, our Specialist Services (Care & Custody, Landscapes and Waste Management) division serves both the public and private sector in these niche businesses.
Mitie acquired Interserve’s FM business in December 2020 and now employs 77,500 people we are the champion of the ‘Front-Line Heroes’ who have kept Britain working during the COVID-19 pandemic. We take care of our customers’ people and buildings, through the ‘Science of Service’, delivering essential services and deploying industry leading technology to create safe and effective workspaces.
The business continues to execute its technology-led strategy and in the past six months has received multiple awards.
Find out more at www.mitie.com.