A Modern Office vs Working From Home – Where Are Employees Most Productive

Women in yellow top, sat at wooden desk working on computer. Yellow bike next to wooden shelving.

Since the return to ‘normal’ work after the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, there has been a healthy debate about whether or not a return to the office was desirable for workers and productive enough for company owners. When most people were forced to work remotely from home with no other choice, there was a shift in mentality, raising the question – “Where are employees more productive?” and how can companies work on improving working conditions. 

One way in which a company can ensure staff are happy, focused, and productive, is to make the office a welcoming environment that inspires focus and productivity. This can be achieved through a range of design elements that can be delivered by designers, decorators and London flooring contractors with the expertise and knowledge to deliver high quality.

Statistics about home working

In the UK there was a peak of people working from home during the first half of 2020, which was when the country was in lockdown for long periods of time. 49% of adults said they had worked from home at some point in the last week when asked during April and June of that year.

Women sat at desk at home working on the computer with dog standing next to her.

Jump to 2022 and during the same period the percentage was around 38%, and in January and February of 2023 it was around 40% of adults who had worked from home within the past seven days when asked. This shows that there is still a healthy percentage of people working from home even at a time where the majority of businesses are asking staff members to come back to the office either full-time or on a part-time basis.

Is the office or home more productive?

There are ups and downs with both office work and working remotely from home. Each person is different too and will prefer a different mode of working. For a business owner, it is about balancing all of these things out and making sure that productivity levels remain high and consistent whether a person is working at home or in the office.

Benefits of working from home for a worker:

No commute – this is a big one, with the average commute time in the UK around 59 minutes. This lost hour can be used to do other things, whether that’s time to yourself or chores around the home.

Man sat on train

No lost time on tea breaks – you are no longer losing time talking to your colleagues when making a cup of tea or stalling for a few moments longer than you should when coming back in after a lunch break. Instead, your focus is straight into the work.

More time to exercise – work/life balance works in a few ways, one of which is that it gives employees more time to exercise, whether that’s going for a run before work, or a stroll at the end of the day that wouldn’t be possible in an office.

Fit more work into less time – a lot of people found that working from home meant they were super focused in finishing work and could fit their work into a shorter amount of time without lowering standards.

Benefits of working in the office:

Better for collaboration – there are some things that need collaboration, and as much as Teams and other communication platforms exist, it is never quite the same as bouncing ideas off someone who is sat next to you.

Stronger communication channels – being in the office makes for better communication with management and other teams, as well as clearer lines of communication with your teammates on on-going and up-coming projects.

Secure access to documents – VPNs used at home are never as secure as access to documents in the office itself, which can make a big difference within certain industries.

No blurring of lines – as much as it might seem good at first that you can get all your household chores done whilst you work and spend more time with family, it does tend to blur the lines and make your home space also your workspace, which can harm your work/life balance.

Designing a modern, productive office

For many companies a hybrid model of working has been embraced and this seems the most logical step for many businesses, the best of both worlds. It means that face-to-face meetings that are sometimes important, can still be conducted, whilst people who want to work from home can still do so, splitting their time between the office and home. This does mean that office spaces need to be more welcoming to appeal to workers who have become accustomed to working in their home comforts.

Coworking space, Was designed with a design, Biophilia.

With this in mind, how important is it for an office to be designed in a different way to what office workers were used to pre-pandemic?

It is vital that a workspace is designed to appeal to its staff and provide a stable location that meets the mental health needs of employees and provides them with the stimulus to perform to a consistently high standard. This means defined spaces for work, break time, meeting spaces, areas for thought and ideas, and other areas specific to your business. This can be achieved with cleanliness and a lack of clutter, branded colour schemes and designs, inventive flooring that clearly marks each area out, colours that leave you calm in one area and focused on another.

The best approach for a company is to provide a modern-day office that is well designed and puts the office worker at the forefront of the design process. If an office environment has been designed well, is comfortable, well ventilated, is bright and airy with clear and defined lines for workspaces, breakout spaces, collaborative spaces, and private spaces, the levels of productivity and focus will be higher than that found when a team of workers are working individually from home. This is where commercial flooring specialists can be brought in to make a real statement about your office design, helping you install those clearly designed areas with clever, clean design choices.

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