If we must go to the office – make it a desk down the road

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A service which allows office staff to find a desk closer to home after Lockdown was launched this month after a survey revealed radical changes in how they view office life.

The survey was conducted to mark the launch of MyLocalDesk.co.uk, an online desk match-making service and revealed how the public’s perception of office-based working has changed.

Almost a third of respondents revealed that they wanted to continue to work for their current employer, but more locally to home, and could easily do their job from a local office if their company had one.

Founder Neil Fullbrook (above) said: “Working from the kitchen table or sofa aren’t long-term solutions. Finding a desk in a professional office, close to workers’ homes is how we intend to help.

“Our research paints an eye-opening picture of how office-based businesses and HR departments need to adapt to become more locally focused in order to retain valuable staff, safeguard their well-being and ensure business prosperity moving forward.

“This workplace revolution is here to stay, and by offering local desks in local businesses for local people, we’re helping potentially thousands to cut the commute!”

Many question marks remain over how businesses get back to normal life – particularly for those with employees who commuted into major cities before Coronavirus.

The prospect of travelling to work in overcrowded, busy trains and tubes has left many feeling uneasy. This concern is likely to be heightened when face masks become mandatory on public transport from today (June 15).

Mental health is also an issue. For those working from home, more than 50 per cent said they felt isolated and missed the social interaction of working with colleagues

In fact, nearly 40 per cent of those surveyed revealed that they are worried about using public transport to get to work. Even more said they would welcome the opportunity not to commute to work on public transport and have re-evaluated their work/life balance and their time spent travelling to and from work.

Larger city-based companies are being forced to urgently rethink their office set up – restricting the number of employees coming into the office will impact on the work lives of thousands.

One driver for the MyLocalDesk offering was the finding that 37 per cent of people have worked from their kitchens and dining rooms during Lockdown and 28 per cent said that their home facilities would make it difficult to work from there for an extended period of time.

And it’s not only the physical health of employees that needs to be considered.  The spotlight has also been shone on their mental health. For those working from home, more than 50 per cent said they felt isolated and missed the social interaction of working with colleagues. It’s not the first time such evidence has come to light.

Almost a third of those aged between 18 and 34 said working from home was having a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. Additionally, distractions such as other family members are taking a toll on employees’ productivity, with 21% saying they struggle with interruptions when working from home.

MyLocalDesk.co.uk pairs up ‘Desk Landlords’ and suitable companies with employees who want to work more locally to home.

Fulbrook said: “Each desk is used daily by the worker, effectively it’s their desk, just local”.