Beyond Work: The Office is So Much More

4 November 2021

Offices hold so much potential that many businesses are overlooking. With the worst of the pandemic seemingly – hopefully – behind us, many businesses are returning to or repurposing their corporate real estate. This is no easy job while so much is still up in the air. Some companies are still finding their feet with hybrid working and assessing how much space they require. Streamlining corporate real estate portfolios is tempting when they are such a heavy investment. But acting too quickly, forgetting the added value that comes from connecting in person, may cost.

Space for connection

The office does more than just facilitate work; it brings people together.

Collaboration and new ideas, training – formal and informal – and developing workplace culture all take place in these spaces. But this will cease to happen if employees choose not to return to the workplace. In our experience companies are encouraging employees to return to the office two or three days a week. But how they manage this varies. It is hard to properly utilise space which reaches maximum occupancy on a few days and functions at low occupancy on others; the days when the workplace is near empty can feel particularly lonely and the demand for workstations on busier days precludes the use of space for other purposes. But creating set days for certain teams to return to the office may foster resentment for those working on unpopular days.

From our experience with clients, the most engaged employers are bringing their teams back together in the office, giving them an exciting reason to come in while facilitating the much-needed reconnection. We’ve been helping clients out by collating the experiences that we have provided before and those we want to recommend.

Through Pulse, our client portal, we provide access to everything from wellbeing, yoga and mindfulness sessions to in-office crazy golf and pop-up retail. Particularly popular recently has been team pumpkin carving, taken to the next level with feathers and sparkles. It’s been a joy to help employers put together these activities and see colleagues and friends reconnect socially.

A caring environment

One of the events we held for our own staff was a mini seminar on burn-out, its triggers, warning signs, and how to avoid it. At the heart of all these activities has been the opportunity to reconnect during difficult times so it’s crucial for us to recognise that and offer events that directly respond to wellbeing needs. We’ve seen interest from clients in hosting similar seminars to streamline the return to the office.

With a reason to return to the office that isn’t just ‘old habits die hard’, employees throughout Portico and our clients’ companies are finding a renewed purpose in their workplace and remembering what it is to reconnect on a daily basis.