FACE to face meetings and workplace chatter are what most people are looking forward to on a return to the office – according to a survey by Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment.
Almost half of people who responded to the recruitment firm’s LinkedIn poll said being with others in person were among the things they had missed most in recent months while working from home.
Topping the list of things to look forward to are face to face meetings (48 per cent) and water cooler moments (43 per cent). The routine of having to commute to work was favoured by only eight per cent; and getting dressed ‘for the office’ ranked last with just three per cent of the vote.
With restrictions now lifted and more employers ready to welcome staff back to the office, for many there is a renewed sense of optimism, says recruitment partner Nel Woolcott.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the pandemic has thrown up challenges many of us could not have imagined. The whole landscape of the office has irreversibly changed and the wellbeing of so many people has been impacted upon.
“The results of our survey overwhelmingly show that people really do need people and physical face to face interaction; whether in a professional capacity through client or internal meetings or simply chatting about their weekend at the water cooler or during a coffee break.
“However, we do recognise that not everyone will want or feel comfortable returning to the office on a fulltime basis; particularly working parents who are now faced with the school holidays.
“We would suggest that those employers who haven’t yet made it a priority, to look at re-working or even introducing a flexible working policy; allowing a mix of office and home-based working were appropriate, and even embrace flexible working arrangements beyond home working to give opportunity and choice to all.
“So many people have adapted to remote or flexible working; almost fast forwarding the inevitable by a number of years.”
The comments follow proposals for a new Bill which could give employees the right to flexible work post pandemic; and ensure that employers advertise flexibility in job adverts.
Calls by MPs suggest that the current law around flexible working is outdated, and that new legislation is needed to make flexible working a right for all rather than a perk for a few. The government is to discuss the proposals later in the year.