- Two thirds of UK businesses (69%) now adopt a hybrid working style for workers originally based in offices.
- As a result the majority of business leaders (63%) are taking steps to reduce office space with a fifth of those (21%) planning to cut back on their own working space, a third (37%) planning to switch to more flexible co-working spaces and 7% having already moved.
- This huge decrease in demand for office space likely to lead to changing town centres with buildings needing to be repurposed .
- Despite initial doubts the majority of UK business leaders (75%) now say employees work more efficiently in a hybrid model.
Research conducted by insurance broking and risk management firm Gallagher has found that the majority of UK business leaders (63%) are now changing office space due to a shift in ways of working.
The data revealed that over a fifth of businesses (21%) are planning to move to smaller offices, over a third (37%) are looking to move to a shared office space and 7% have already moved.
Over two thirds (69%) of businesses said they have adopted a hybrid working style due to employee demand for greater flexibility in their working life post pandemic. And it’s generally good news all round as 60% of bosses say they wished they had moved to a hybrid working model before the pandemic, with 75% citing improved employee efficiency. However, the balance of office and home working remains important with the vast majority of business leaders (80%) implementing an official policy to ensure employees put in an appearance at the workplace.
Businesses adopting hybrid working and reducing office space are likely to see a positive impact on costs. As well as a reduction in the costs of rent and energy, having a smaller office could lead to reduced spend on insurance, although firms changing their style of working need to ensure they are covered by risks that are presented by employees working from home on a more regular basis. For example, incorrect workstation set-up could lead to health issues for employees, whilst frequent working from home could have an impact on their mental health.
Although generally positive about hybrid working now, the data suggests that bosses are still getting used to the dramatic change in working. Nearly six in 10 (59%) said they had initially felt they had no choice in implementing a hybrid model in order to retain staff and even now, over half (58%) feel the need to check that employees are working when they are not in the office.
Neil Hodgson, Managing Director of Risk Management at Gallagher said: “Following the pandemic, there has clearly been a shift in the way that people work and businesses are taking a more flexible approach to how their employees split their time working from home and in an office.
“If businesses are looking to reduce office space, they should ensure the assets that employees are using in their home are covered away from the workplace and let their insurance broker know if offices will be empty over prolonged periods. Similarly, employers should take into account the health and safety implications if their employees are working from home regularly. Businesses should contact their broker in order to assess how changes to their working environment could impact their insurance and ensure they are covered for any eventuality.”