Getting teams back to the watercooler

As the conversations regarding the return to corporate offices grow more frequent and a desire for hybrid work models increases in employee preferences, thoughts turn to creating office and business environments which encourage a return to face to face, in-office workplaces.

Key business groups, corporates and government leaders including Melbourne’s Lord Mayor and State Premiers are calling for a confident return to the office and a renewal of workplace and city life.

According to the latest Property Council of Australia’s Office Market Report (February 2022) the demand for office space in Australia is expected to bounce back this year, with Sydney leading the charge.

Both of these factors are positive but the expectations of office based life for workers and employers have morphed during the pandemic. Amenity and service will be an important contributor to attracting talent back to the workplace – with design and facilities, as well as service, safety and convenience factoring into the decision making process.

According to the Lululemon 2021 Global Wellbeing Report which surveys 10 000 respondents (1000 in each of 10 countries including Australia), almost nine in 10 employees who pivoted to working from home had negative experiences while doing so, including increased workloads, being less physically active while working, a lack of socialization while working with colleagues, and the blurred (or obliterated) lines in work/life balance.

Said Auxus’ Adam Keast “For the vast majority of traditionally office-based work we have spent the best part of two years in solo work-from-home environments. The water cooler has been replaced by the private chat group.”

We miss the social element of work. And whilst there is a convenience that comes from WFH, there is also a routine and connectedness that we experience from arriving in the office and being wished “good morning” by the concierge, chatting in the kitchen, a walk to a colleague’s desk, getting coffee and having meetings face to face.

“For Auxus, our service offering means that the office experience is enjoyable, productive and reassuring to the individual – especially at a time of readjustment. Said Adam.

Ensuring the car parking and concierge service is seamless and integrated for both visitors and tenants who choose to drive; that meeting rooms are serviced and fresh, there are opportunities and environments in which to safely socialise, and the day to day tasks we carried out ourselves at home – like booking a venue, catering and dry cleaning are handled efficiently by someone we trust.” He said.