The Return Of The Office

by | Oct 4, 2022 | Business Moves, London, News | 0 comments

Though we can’t yet claim to be living in the post-covid era, we’re certainly beyond the period when working from home had to be legally enforced. Of course, many companies made the unexpected discovery that their employees’ productivity didn’t decline when they were working from home but, if anything, actually increased, with staff often willing to work during the period of the day when they’d have once been on the train going back and forth. In some instances, this prompted companies to implement a blended arrangement by which staff turn up in person for part of the week and work from home for the remainder of it. Among the few silver linings of lockdown is the belated realisation by companies that making sure employees feel constantly under the thumb and scrutinised around the clock is not the way to get the best results out of them. A more progressive working philosophy is being embraced by companies of all sizes. Even those, such as the FTSE 100, which have sought to get employees back in the office five days a week are at least attempting to make the workplace feel less jail-like. There is a sense that they realise, in the era of hybrid working, that the office needs to be worth the commute. The balance of power has shifted – if not entirely in favour of the employee, then at least in that direction. 

How To Make Your Office More Inviting

Offices will have to evolve as we move closer to the post-pandemic era. This means more natural light, organic building materials and fresh air; the notion of ‘wellness’, which might have once been dismissed as a new-age frivolity, will be taken much more seriously. Instead of simply squishing as many people as possible into a strip-lighted aircraft hangar, much more thought will be given to how an office can be inspiring, collaborative and purposeful while still allowing each employee some degree of privacy. So while, over the course of the pandemic, more and more homes began to look like offices, now a balancing reaction is taking place as more and more offices look a little more like home. A realisation has occurred that the elements of office working that were most missed had little to do with efficiency and productivity, neither of which was significantly affected by WFH, but everything to do with human connection, face-to-face conversations, friendships, spontaneous chat and collaboration. In short, they were almost all social and/or emotional. 

Safer Offices

BUPA recently conducted a survey of attitudes to the office which discovered that 46% of people were concerned about overcrowding and a similar number feared that the office would make social distancing impossible. Among the other fears were of catching covid while commuting to the office (38%) and office hygiene (37%). The picture is clear; employees returning to the office now have greater, more stringent expectations of how an office should be designed, furnished and cleaned. They want to feel safe. Among the ideas being implemented are flexible policies including staggered start times, allowing the more vulnerable employees (e.g. those with compromised immune systems) to travel outside the rush hour, making them less likely to contract covid on crowded tubes and buses. In addition, if work-from-home rota systems are in place, then offices need never be at 100 per cent capacity, making social distancing feasible. 

How To Make Your Office Feel Like Home

If you’re among the many who became accustomed to working from home over the two-year peak-covid era, you may be bracing yourself for the more impersonal surroundings of an office – the dull, neutral colour schemes and the way an office can make you feel less like a person and more like a soulless productivity unit. So it’s ,pre important than ever to think of ways to make it feel more home-like. These could include:-


Rather than the depressing framed slogans that used to be popular, such as ‘You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Helps’ or ‘Live, Love, Laugh’, framed paintings and prints brought in from home can add texture and depth to your office surrounds, whether your taste is for modern, renaissance, medieval or neoclassic. 


Depending on your office setup, you may need to opt for plants that can flourish in the absence of natural light, but whatever the case, there are few easier ways to add freshness and colour to a work space than with a few flowering plants.

Oil Diffusers

An electronic oil diffuser or scented candle can mitigate the emotional blankness of an office space. You could choose an essential oil with energising and uplifting properties such as cinnamon leaf, lemon or peppermint.

Antique rugs

No reasonable boss could object to you bringing in a favourite rug – an antique one, in particular, can really offset the bland modernity of the typical office, especially if it has warm or bright colours.

Sound and Music

You may not have the option of playing music out loud if you’re sharing a space with other people. But they may not object if you want to play calming, meditative, hypnotic sounds such as those commonly available on all streaming platforms. Alternatively, you have an iPhone, just go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds where you can choose from Rain, Stream, Ocean, Dark Noise, Bright Noise and Balanced Noise. These sounds are designed to lessen intrusive noise, so you can get on with what you’re doing in a focussed and calm manner. 


You may be suffering under the harsh acid-yellow of strip lighting. There’s something horribly draining about it and while you may not be in a position to get rid of it, you can temper it with lights of your own. You might opt for a special Seasonal Affective Disorder light if applicable, but otherwise any freestanding lamp with a warm bulb can mitigate some of the negative affects of bad overhead lighting. You might also consider a Himalayan salt lamp. These emanate rich, warm light, not dissimilar to sunsets and molten lava.


Depending on your set-up and how much space you have, you can add some comfort to your office experience by bringing in a sofa or armchair. Standard office furniture can be terribly dull to the eye, so something with a bit of personality can really lift up the space, even when you’re not sitting in it.