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Office still highly valued by UK employees and is a boost for mental wellbeing finds research

New research from Nespresso Professional has revealed that the office space is still highly valued by employees, with office workers naming seeing their colleagues (39 per cent) as the thing they like most about being in the office. While a proper desk setup (31 per cent) comes in second, office camaraderie (30 per cent) took the third spot, showing the importance of the office environment for team building and relationships.

The research, which polled 1,750 office workers from across the UK, delves into the way employees have felt about the office space and returning to the office since the pandemic, as well as exploring what they feel is most important about the office space.

When it comes to going into the office, more than half (56 per cent) of respondents have returned to the office regularly since restrictions have eased and 44 per cent expect to work in the office 2-3 days week, suggesting hybrid working will become the norm for nearly half of UK workers.

Interestingly, the office provides a space for greater productivity too, with more respondents (35 per cent) saying they are more productive when working in the office than those who said they were more productive working from home (32 per cent).

Of those that said they were more productive in the office, camaraderie and collaboration was named as the reason behind this. Nearly half (46 per cent) said it was because they could collaborate more easily with colleagues and more than a third (34 per cent) said the team spirit of being in the office gives them a boost.

Throughout the research, face-to-face interactions and colleague relationships continued to emerge as a driver for heading into the office. Six in 10 (61 per cent) admitted that their colleagues are the best part about working in an office, with a third describing more than three of their work colleagues as proper friends.

Sir Cary L Cooper, Professor of Organizational Psychology & Health, ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, said: “These research results highlight how working in the office is here to stay, with employees still valuing the office space and the benefits that come with it. Being in the office and working directly with colleagues is really important for wellbeing, team building and increasing team spirit. It’s clear that since the beginning of the pandemic, people have missed face-to-face interactions that working in the office used to provide on a regular basis.

“There is no doubt that hybrid working is becoming the ‘norm’ and enables employees to get the benefits of working from home and in the office. This flexible approach to working is something that should be embraced by employers, and employees should be encouraged to provide feedback on how they would prefer to work in the future.”

Considering the ideal personalities an office should have, three quarters (75 per cent) said it was important to have a mix of personalities in the office, with nearly half (47 per cent) having a ‘wise owl’ in their office – someone who has been there ages and knows everything.

Meanwhile, ‘the barista’ – someone who is always offering to make hot drinks – is hardest to come by, appearing in only 18 per cent of offices.

Beth Langley, OOH Director at Nespresso Professional, commented on the results: “It’s great to see the office space is still valued by employees across the UK. While employee wellbeing is the main priority and people should only return to the office when they feel safe to do so, it can be a really fun and exciting place. The people are almost certainly the main reason why, as well as the coffee machine of course.”

“A mix of personalities is great to have in an office as they provide different solutions to a variety of problems. Having that face to face interaction can also help build team morale and form better working relationships.”

The study also found that one in 10 said having other people making tea or coffee is one of the things they like most about being in the office, with nearly two in 10 (18 per cent) saying free tea and coffee was something they enjoyed about the office experience.

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