Rise of the ‘collaborative’ workspace

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Most managers feel that so-called collaborative workspaces are now more suitable for their post-lockdown business models than fully-staffed offices, according to a new survey.

The study for Onecom, the UK’s largest independent business telecommunications provider, polled 1,000 UK managers in late August and found that nearly eight in ten preferred more causal workspaces designed to facilitate meetings and collaborative working. Just 7 per cent of managers disagreed.

The study comes as many businesses are making tough decisions about how their teams will operate in the future due to social distancing and the changed economic landscape.

It was conducted as the government came under fire for calling for a more widespread return to the workplace.

The study also surveyed another 1,000 employees to find out how they have been coping with working at home through the pandemic. More than half said that the way in which their work teams operate has now “changed forever”.

“There has been a move towards more flexible and collaborative working for many years,” said said Helen Myers, Onecom’s Operations Director.

“Now, however, its clear to see from this study that the impact of the Coronavirus and the Lockdown has sped up this process exponentially.

“Many of the managers that we work with, who were perhaps a bit apprehensive about what it would be like to manage employees remotely, are telling us that they’ve found working from home remarkably easy and enriching for their teams.

“The real thing that people are missing is the face-to-face interaction and many businesses are now waking up to the fact that you don’t necessarily need a full time office for that.” 

Below is a map breaking don the regional preferences for such collaborative spaces. Londoners were keenest of all. More on the survey here