Offices revamp for returning workers


A construction group has reported record demand from businesses looking to revamp their offices before workers return.

Morgan Sindall said that it had an order book of £581 million for office fit-outs at the end of June, 42 per cent higher than at the end of last year and the strongest level in its history.

John Morgan, 65, chief executive, said: “The office certainly isn’t dead. Our clients are the occupiers [of offices] and . . . I think the trend is that they’ve got to make offices more attractive places for people.”

Recently completed projects by Overbury, Morgan Sindall’s office fit-out business, have included the Royal College of Physicians’ northern headquarters in Liverpool. The building, known as The Spine, is said to be one of the healthiest in the world, with oxygen-producing plants to improve the internal environment. It also has circadian lighting to mimic the subtle colour changes of natural light.

Morgan Sindall said that the latest office trends included “democratising space”, so that everyone could enjoy the best views and spaces, not only board members and top executives.

Companies want to demonstrate their green credentials in workplaces, with one London-based sustainable investment firm installing worktops made from locally felled trees. Virtual reality rooms and phone booths have been fitted in some offices to reduce the need for transatlantic flights for meetings. Businesses are focusing more on acoustics to ensure that noise is minimised in shared workspaces to create a more productive environment.

A survey this year of 400 international office-based companies by Knight Frank, the property group, found that 46 per cent would try to improve staff amenities after the pandemic.

PwC, the accounting firm, opened its new Belfast office last month. It features a “wellbeing space”, with meditation pods and physiotherapy and manicure services. The office also has booths in the staff restaurant with screens so that teams can connect over lunch with people working remotely.

So, if you are looking forward to revamping your office design this year, there are various ways you can do so.

Business managers can revamp office spaces to accommodate the emerging needs of returning workers, keeping in mind the physical and mental health impacts of the pandemic. Because of the recent health pandemic crisis, health government agencies highly recommend taking measures to improve the air ventilation, social distancing, and safety features in working environments.

The coronavirus is still a threat to employees, customers, and people going in and out of office buildings. Business offices can adjust or modify workstations, seats, and furniture to maintain acceptable and safe distances between employees.

Aside from ensuring the health and safety of returning workers, businesses can revamp their commercial establishments by installing more high-quality and creative signages and shop fit outs. Choosing the right shop fit and style of an office interior is essential, which can help build a brand for the business.

While full-time business operations are back, revamping office spaces for returning workers must be one of the priorities of business owners and managers. Compliance with employment laws and health protocols must be kept in mind when designing office interiors to ensure the health and well-being of returning employees.


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