3 November, 2023
Will there be a return to the office? The great dilemma
Survey reveals two thirds of CEOs predict a return to the office for 5 days a week but is that what your people want?

Navigating the post-pandemic work scenario raises the question: Will your team be returning to the office full time? A recent survey from KPMG’s CEO Outlook sheds light on the perspectives of business leaders.

Interestingly, around two-thirds of global CEOs anticipate a return to in-office work by 2026, with UK leaders closely aligned at 63%. This suggests a leaning towards a traditional office setup, marking a potential shift in the way we work.

However, the situation is certainly not cut and dry. Since the pandemic’s onset, a divide has emerged between those advocating for a complete return to the office and those favouring a more flexible approach – often reflecting employer and employee viewpoints.

Courd, London office design

“The power of design in driving productivity and commitment is no secret, there’s a sense that the world is only just waking up to the importance of intentionally creating offices with this in mind.”

This has led to the adoption of hybrid working – a delicate balance between physical and remote work and something we have seen most of our clients adapting their workplaces to support.

Approaching the four-year mark post-Covid, the “new normal” remains elusive, highlighting the ongoing evolution of our work practices. The dynamics are influenced by individual preferences, job roles, company policies, nature of work, and geographical locations. The Guardian’s analysis emphasizes that while a majority of leaders foresee a return to the office, there is no one-size-fits-all model.

Consider the corporate landscape: Major tech players like Amazon, Google, and Meta, alongside financial institutions like Citigroup and Lloyds, are at the forefront of bringing teams back together.

Return to office for meetings

The motivation? To stimulate creativity, foster collaboration, and maintain corporate culture – of course. The survey also reveals that a significant number of leaders (87% globally, 83% in the UK) anticipate future ties between financial rewards, promotion opportunities and office attendance. With a potential looming recession this is something that could emphasize visibility in the office in the coming years.

In the midst of this discussion, as a leader in workplace innovation, we are promoting that the conversation goes beyond just the physical return to the office – it’s about how people return.

Colin Owen, Maris Chief Design Officer, says the physical working environment they might ‘return’ to plays a pivotal role in this narrative. A key pillar in the debate revolves around creating spaces that not only facilitate work but actively enhance the potential of individuals and teams.

Owen states, “The important thing for work environments is creating a space people want to be in, and that proactively maximizes their potential. For individuals and for organisations, productivity and attracting/keeping top talent is paramount. Amongst forward-thinking organisations, the power of design in driving that productivity and commitment is no secret, but there’s a sense that the world is only just waking up to the importance of intentionally creating offices with these goals in mind.”

In a world shaped by digitization, cultural shifts, and a deepened understanding of well-being, offices are recognised as more than functional spaces. Forward-thinking organizations acknowledge the power of design in driving productivity and commitment. The future of work, as envisioned by Maris, is about intentionally crafting offices – spaces that contribute to employee well-being, boost productivity, aid in goal achievement, and foster connections among colleagues.

If you’re inspired to create a working environment your team actively chooses to be a part of, speak to us and explore the possibilities. Our approach to workplace design is grounded in the belief that a thoughtfully crafted environment will elevate both individual and organisational success.

Ready to embark on the return to the office journey? Connect with us here.