The UK lockdowns have created a fundamental shift in the way businesses use their office, with hybrid working practices about to become the norm rather than the exception. Many companies are therefore planning to upgrade their office interior design to make the best use of their new space requirements. This is an investment that needs to be carefully considered and may require business financing, but with the right office environment, employees will be more creative, motivated and productive, helping your company to overcome the challenges of the past year and thrive.
We specialise in business financing for SMEs. With the right asset financing, we can help your business find an affordable solution that will enable an upgrade or renovation of your office interior to make it suitable for hybrid working. Don’t let the current business budget stop the creation of an office space that’s perfect for your brand, whether it’s high tech and connected, seriously professional, green and sustainable, fun and funky, or something that utilises the best of all worlds.
The benefits of hybrid working
Many businesses have found that hybrid working practices can save substantial amounts of money. Without the need to provide desks for every member of staff to work at every day, the amount of office space required is much smaller. During lockdown, corporations such as Capita decided to adopt hybrid and remote working practices permanently, enabling them to release funds by selling Central London premises.
For a growing SME, the amount of office space needed now and in the future is crucial. If all your staff work in the office full-time, it can be an expensive business. When your company outgrows your current office, you’ll need to move to larger premises which is time-consuming and costly. You’ll also need to move into new premises that are too large for your current needs – otherwise every time you take on new members of staff, you’ll have to go through the relocation process again. This means that, initially, you’ll be paying for a lot of empty, unused space which your company can ill afford. With hybrid working, extra staff can be taken on and integrated into your hot-desking arrangements, meaning you can make the most of a smaller office space for a lot longer.
People like having control over the way they work, and in fact, remote working has been found to boost productivity, partly because of people’s increased motivation and partly because they have fewer distractions and interruptions. The flexibility of hybrid working helps staff achieve a better work/life balance. Commuters no longer have to spend so much time getting to and from work, which leaves them with more energy and more time to devote to their work. They also appreciate being able to juggle their time so they can deal with non-work-related issues as they arise, working outside office hours to make up for lost time.
Illness is also less of a problem with hybrid working. With fewer people in the office at any one time, there are going to be fewer germs in the atmosphere. The ability to work at home will encourage people with a cold to stay at home, rather than bring their germs into the office with them to infect everyone else. During lockdown, when the majority of office workers worked remotely 100% of the time, there was a substantial decrease in the instances of colds, flu and other respiratory diseases. And when employees drag themselves into the office with ‘just a cold’, overall productivity is affected when everyone gets sick as a result.
Another way staff benefit from hybrid working is that, at least for part of the time, they will enjoy the perfect working conditions for them. They can have the temperature just how they like it; they can all sit by a window and open it and close it as much as they like without affecting a colleague’s comfort; and they can work in silence or play whatever their preferred type of music is without annoying others. Indeed, uncomfortable levels of heat and noise adversely affect productivity by increasing the number of errors employees make.
Investing in office renovation
While you are upgrading your office interior to adapt to hybrid working, you can also incorporate a few simple extras to bring about additional motivational and productivity benefits.
Balanced lighting – By installing a strong, regular light source using LED lighting, you will help increase alertness, morale and productivity – at the same time as reducing your electric bills.
Ambient noise – Noise can be distracting, especially when people need to get their head down and concentrate on their work. Distractions from conversations and activities in the surrounding area have the potential to lead to a 66% drop in productivity. As part of your office refit, create quiet areas with the use of booths or meeting pods, which will have the additional bonus of providing people with a private area for client calls or confidential meetings.
Air quality – The quality of the air isn’t something that we normally associate with productivity, but poor air quality can cause headaches and feelings of being unwell which will decrease productivity. An air purifier will increase the quality of air in the office, and it will also trap and kill many airborne germs and viruses, including the coronavirus, improving the air quality still further. The addition of plants will also help with air quality, at the same time as providing the kind of natural environment people find calming and motivating.
Colour – The use of colour in your office can have a big impact on productivity as well as positivity and job satisfaction. Colour psychology is a science in itself, showing the benefits of each colour on the working environment. Light blue is calming and helps people concentrate, especially on repetitive tasks. Red helps encourage mental alertness, and yellow boosts attention levels as well as encouraging optimism. Green is both a restful and gently stimulating colour and is less tiring on the eyes. Use different colours in different areas of the office so staff can work in whatever atmosphere is best for them on any particular day.
Brand – A wonderful new office space will also reflect positively on your brand. You’ll not only impress your employees, you’ll also impress clients and visitors. Use photos of your renovated office to promote your company on social media, creating a very positive image of your company.
Business financing solutions
Creating an office space that’s perfect for hybrid working is an investment, but get it right, and it will pay for itself many times over. Contact us to discuss your needs and let us find the best financing solution for you.