The pandemic abruptly forced businesses to develop new ways of working, ultimately changing the business environment and sparking an ongoing conversation about whether enterprises need physical spaces.
The latest Owner Managed Business (OMB) research from Moore Chartered Accountants shows that many of these changes are likely to be permanent.
The survey found that almost 90% of businesses in the East Midlands say they anticipate changes to how their teams work, with increases in hybrid working (splitting time between the home and the office) and flexible working patterns the most likely changes.
Businesses adopting hybrid working models need to make sure they’re properly prepared. There are compliance issues to consider, for example – how are businesses ensuring home workstations are complaint with health and safety regulations?
Getting employee buy-in is a must. While for many people hybrid working will be welcomed, business owners need to bear in mind that this may not be everyone’s preferred way of working, and this could have an impact on both recruitment and staff retention.
These changes will naturally have an impact as businesses consider their need for physical spaces. 60% of East Midlands businesses surveyed said they were likely to reduce their office space over the next 12 months. While this can be a positive move for businesses by enabling them to reduce their overheads, there will be a knock-on effect on commercial landlords and those who rely on office workers and industrial parks for business.
As commercial office footprints decline, many businesses may still find it necessary to maintain a space where employees can connect with colleagues, actively collaborate and meet clients. Effectively managing engagement, connectivity and inclusion will be a key challenge. It’s a challenge that businesses in the East Midlands are ready to face head on – the Moore survey showed that 85% of local OMBs already have measures in place to deal with the mental wellbeing of their teams.
April Foster, Partner at Moore said:
“The pandemic has transformed the way OMBs operate and many of these changes are likely to be permanent. An increase in both hybrid and flexible working will mean fewer workers in offices and on site, and a subsequent reduction in office and other workspaces. There will be challenges for OMBs in the year ahead, and they’ll need support and guidance as they adapt to new, more flexible ways of working, whilst dealing with the lasting impact of the pandemic on the wellbeing of their staff.”
To read a full copy of the survey results visit www.moore.co.uk