More than three in four managers in UK businesses feel that ‘collaborative’ workspaces are now more suitable for their post-lockdown business models when compared to a full-time staffed office, according to a new survey.
The study for independent business telecommunications provider, Onecom, polled 1,000 UK managers in late August and found that 77 per cent agreed that more causal workspaces designed to facilitate meetings and collaborative working (such as a coworking space) would have significant advantages for their business over a full-time, staffed office.
Just seven per cent of managers disagreed that they could see the benefits of a collaborative workspace over a full-time office. The study comes as many businesses are making tough decisions about how their teams will operate in the future due to social distancing and the changed economic landscape.
The study also surveyed another 1,000 general workers at UK businesses to find out how employees have been coping with working at home through the pandemic. Fifty-six per cent said that the way in which their work teams operate has now ‘changed forever’ due to the Coronavirus, suggesting that many workers may now be expecting their work arrangements to change for good, even once a vaccine has been found and further restrictions lifted.
Helen Myers, Onecom’s Operations Director, commented: “There has been a move towards more flexible and collaborative working for many years now, however its clear to see from this study that the impact of the Coronavirus and the lockdown has sped up this process exponentially. Many of the managers that we work with, who were perhaps a bit apprehensive about what it would be like to manage employees remotely, are telling us that they’ve found working from home remarkably easy and enriching for their teams. The real thing that people are missing is the face-to-face interaction and many businesses are now waking up to the fact that you don’t necessarily need a full-time office for that.”
Support for collaborative workspaces over full-time offices is widespread across the age groups, however the study found that Millennial and late Gen Z managers are up to 27 per cent more likely than Baby Boomers and managers from older generations to support ditching the office for a more modern way of working.
The study also shows that support for collaborative workspaces over a full-time office is strong among managers across the UK but is most keenly felt in London, where 85 per cent agreed with this statement. Interestingly, managers in Northern Ireland (63 per cent) and Wales (65 per cent) are somewhat less likely than the national average to see the benefits.