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  • Writer's pictureClearSpace Admin

Surveys are asking the wrong questions. We should be looking to the future of the workplace.

Companies have been manipulating data since the dawn of time. In many cases, it’s the way the question is phrased to gain the desired response the sponsor wants to hear and push out to the world.

For those of you who have read my weekly waffle, you’ll know I am driven by data. However, I have become increasingly frustrated by headline grabbing statistics driven by hidden agendas around back to work data.

The graph below is reflective of the data taken from different online surveys to try and make sense of it. However, looking behind it means that each stat varies so a real comparison is not available. If we were to take the average of these surveys, the figure lies around 50% of people wanting to spend the majority of their working week at home.

In December 2019, according to the ONS, the figure of people who worked from home for the majority of their working week was just 5%. Even if we take the average 50% figure as being abnormally high, we do seem to be heading towards a major change in the way we work.

Percentage of people wanting to work from home graph

· Data taken from 9 different surveys, from Mar 20 to Nov 20.

· Majority means 50% of the 5-day working week.

Home working has been on the increase for many years with a rise from 4.3% to 5.1% of the overall workforce in the last 5 years.

The pandemic will force companies to embrace the change rather than drift with the steady progress that we’ve seen in the last few years.

The data that companies need to make their decisions cannot be found online due to the mismatch of data above, but rather, it should be obtained from a variety of internal factors. Naturally one of these will be staff willingness to return, but this needs to be balanced with the needs of the business. It is no surprise that some of the most successful businesses have embraced employee engagement and created a culture that drives constant improvement.

ClearSpace realises that businesses are in a very difficult position when planning their Real Estate needs. As the vaccine will hopefully bring us back to some sort of normal, what will our office requirement be? How can we plan for the next 12 months, but more importantly, have the flexibility to evolve as we hopefully put COVID behind us.

We are working with a number of partners to help address our clients needs both in the short and long term. Part of our approach has been to not only ask the right questions of our client’s personnel, but also to view their answers over a period of months and contextualise this against the stage of the virus, events and commentaries at those moments in time.

So, rather than relying on contradictory data to make decisions, our ethos and services will allow you to make confident changes (or pauses) based on accurate information reflective of the moods and needs of personnel within your organisation.

Data is a useful tool but only when it’s accurate. Since March, companies have thrown survey stats around on how employees feel about going back to work – and there is a big difference across the pandemic timeline. I’ve done my research and looked at the results from 9 surveys. The environment changes – and so will the moods and needs of your personnel. Companies need to look at their own #workplace and do what's best for their greatest asset (employees) versus rely on contradictory stats.

Written by Guy Spragg, Managing Director at ClearSpace Group Limited.


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