Sophie Weston, Channel Marketing Manager at bathroom designer and manufacturer Geberit, looks at the impact of remote working and lifts the lid on hygiene
What has been the true impact of 12 months of remote working on UK office staff? A YouGov poll by Geberit shows a workforce missing colleagues and longing for a return to face-to-face meetings. Its findings also reveal very little resistance from staff when faced with the prospect of a return to the office.
Let’s rewind twelve months ago to the start of the first nationwide lockdown. The ease with which so many of us took to digital communications could have given us every reason to question the need for the office at all. Many firms have since taken the step of moving to remote-working on a long term basis, with some big hitters even announcing the permanent closure of offices. But are employees missing office life – and what do they feel about a possible return to the office?
Missing office life
Our poll of 1,000 British private sector employees shed a new light on how the majority of us currently view our working life. We asked respondents whether they missed any aspects of office life. Socialising with colleagues was the most missed (51%) and there are clear signs, too, that Zoom fatigue is well and truly setting in, with a third of respondents missing in-person meetings.
Returning to the office
We asked respondents how willing they would be to return to the office – and the response was overwhelmingly clear. More than three quarters (76%) are willing to do so for either some or all of their working hours. This willingness is, of course, is based on firms having in place the correct safety measures and social distancing precautions in place.
There are two fundamental areas employers must consider – maximising hygiene, of course, is one. But the second is an office that not only reinforces the perception of a clean space but also offers a reassuring space to employees. Global consulting firm WSP predicts that we could soon see the “hotelization” of office space, as workplaces offer more home comforts, such as plants and soft furnishings. But, above all, hygiene led solutions must lead the way. And with almost half (47%) of respondents having reservations about surfaces and touchpoints in communal toilets and washrooms and 37% worried about standards of washroom hygiene, this space is the single biggest area of concern.
Infra-red wall-mounted taps can optimise hand hygiene in heavy footfall washrooms and touchless WC and urinal flush controls enable the unit to flush as soon as the toilet or urinal has been used, minimising the spread of bacteria in busy areas.
Innovations such as Geberit’s KeraTect® Glaze make cleaning easier with a virtually non-porous surface, creating a high-gloss effect and helping to enhance the look of the washroom as a ‘clean’ space. Developments such as Rimfree® toilets and TurboFlush technology can also eliminate hard-to-reach areas around the pan.
Hygiene in the future?
Staff are willing to return to the office. But the responsibility is now on firms and manufacturers to work together to hygienically-optimised products and design solutions that reinforce the perception of a clean space.
As one expert noted: “If offices have a future, people need to feel safe in them.”
For more information, visit https://www.geberit.co.uk/planning-installation/know-how-installed/insights/lifting-the-lid-on-hygiene.html