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Many companies are being met with resistance as they try to bring their employees back into the office full time, with a movement of staff resigning if they don’t get the flexibility they are wanting. To make the transition smoother for both the employer and employees, ensuring being in the office is an enjoyable experience is paramount.

A new study commissioned by COS, an Australian-owned and operated company offering product supply solutions for the workplace, surveyed over 1,000 Australian workers and found that 37% of people stated their office design has changed since the pandemic. The leading ways they have been changed are: a more open plan design (44%), larger office space (35%) and more collaborative areas (28%).

Delving further into the research, 39% of workers who had an office redesign said it made the office more enjoyable and productive, and respondents stated they particularly enjoyed the change from closed panned to open planned because it’s more collaborative and inclusive.

Interestingly the percentage of employees who preferred open plan rose per level of employment, with only 41% of entry level opting for this design as their preference compared to intermediate level staff (51%), middle management (58%), senior management (68%) and C-Level executives (76%).

Of those who didn’t have any office design changes, 40% state that they wish this is something their company would do.

Nicole Risley, a COS Business Development Manager specialising in furniture, has overseen numerous post-covid office fit-outs and the most common findings are:

- Staff having become accustomed to work from home setups so many organisations are trying to find ways to bring some of the comforts of home into an office environment.

- With office space being at a premium and people in offices tending to be far more sedentary than those working from home, sit stand desks have quickly become an office mainstay, as they allow employees some freedom of movement without the need for leaving their area.

- Managers are giving up their dedicated offices to transform them into staff amenities. These new spaces can be used for multiple purposes, from meetings, to offering privacy, or a place to take a wellness break.

On the findings Co-CEO of COS, Belinda Lyone says, “Having an office that brings out the best in the team is paramount to a company’s success. This research highlights that many workers want different things in order to maximize their productivity and engagement, so it’s crucial to ensure you cater to all types of employees when doing an office redesign.”

Belinda continues, “It seems of the businesses who have not updated their office design since the pandemic that cost is a main factor, but it’s important to understand that these modifications don’t need to be an overly significant investment and there are small tweaks that can make a huge different to staff morale.”

To help inspire companies who want to redesign their office but don’t know where to start, COS shares their tips:

Begin with focusing on changes that suit the majority of employees.
68% of workers state they want a more ergonomic setup, so refreshing the office with workstations, desks and chairs, and collaborative setups that incorporate ergonomic design will help to drive efficiency and productivity.

Speak to your team about what types of environments would benefit them
. Some industries benefit more from quiet rooms, others from adding more open areas, and others from rooms specifically to collaborate. Find out what your employees are looking for, and start there.

Partner with an expert to ensure you get the maximum return.
While it will cost more up front, working with a specialist in this area will pay off tenfold in the long term. Not only will they be able to use their market expertise to deliver specialist solutions for every room in your office, they will also be able to ensure the products used are backed by long commercial warranties.

Belinda concludes, “Creating a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing working environment where your staff can be productive and do great work will lead to better engagement while employees are in the office, and help with staff retention.”

For more information on COS Working Spaces, visit:


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