Almost a third of office workers, 29%, have already returned to their offices, but workplace experts cannot agree whether a full-time return to work is best for UK business productivity. Workers agree.While nearly two thirds of employees, 63%, don’t believe they’re more productive working from home full time, nearly half, 45%, believe they are equally productive working from home or the office.

The figures from a recent survey of 189 office-based workers carried out by UK-based office software experts, SmartWay2, also showed when working from home only 36% of office workers felt they were more productive. Around half this number, 19%, felt more productive in the office, perhaps reflecting the psychological impact of missing the sociability that the office provides.

The ideal solution seems to be a blend. Just under half of those polled, 45%, say their productivity is the same regardless of where they work and 91% of people expressed a desire to split their time between home and the office.

Steve Vatidis, Executive Chairman of SmartWay2 commented: “Despite COVID disruption, workers are learning how to return to their offices. But like the ever-changing lockdown measures, these results show there is no simple ‘one size fits all’ solution. Employers are under pressure to grant greater autonomy to their workforce. But they still have a lot of work to do to convince their teams of the productivity benefits offered by showing up at modern workplaces which are COVID-safe.”

Looking further out, nearly one in five, 18%, also expect employees in their organisation to return to offices by autumn 2021. However, with the current uncertainty and a Second Wave underway, office flexibility will be key for employers looking to maximise productivity from their workforce, geographically distributed forcibly or out or choice, as the situation changes.

Vatidis concludes: “Organisations that can provide a COVID-safe working environment, combined with flexibility of scheduling for when workers come into the office, will be at a distinct advantage for managing the upcoming period of change.

Employers need to be able to communicate regularly with employees and provide reassurance on safety measures and flexible working arrangements to make them feel comfortable with the environment.”

smartway2.com

TABLE OF RESPONSES

Answer choices to “how do you feel about your productivity when working from home?”
Response
I am more productive working from home
36%
I am more productive working from the office
19%
My productivity is the same whether at home or in the office
45%

Answer choices to “When do you think employees in your organization will return to the workplace?”
Response
We have already returned to work
29%
Within 6 months
45%
Within 12 months
18%
Within 18 months
6%
24+ months
2%