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UK businesses are getting creative in renovating their office spaces to prepare for the official return of their staff. 

Having over a year away from the office has given some companies the chance to think about where they want to be in the next five. Whether it’s attracting the best new talent, maintaining their existing staff, or wanting to create a more relaxing, productive environment for their employees… it’s clear to see that huge investments in office spaces are being made around the UK.

Sarah Glover, marketing director at commercial office fit-out and office refurbishment company Meridian Interiors – https://www.meridian-interiors.co.uk/ – talks through the common demands from businesses looking to upgrade their office spaces, which have resulted in a 70% increase in enquiries over the last five months for Meridian. 
I’ve included more information on the popular requests and expert comments from Sarah below, which I thought would be of interest to you and your readers.

The most popular enquiries over the last five months are: 

  1. Green walls and spaces
  2. Breakout spaces
  3. Hybrid working adaptions 

A rise in ‘green walls and spaces’

The enquiries and most popular requests have predominantly consisted of green, or living, walls. Sarah attributes this to businesses wanting to create a relaxing environment for their employees and potential clients: “There are two main reasons behind the increased interest in living walls that I hear on a day to day basis. The first being employers are understanding the importance of creating a relaxing environment for their employees. They understand that there is huge underlying anxiety about returning to the office, and they want to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.”

“The limit on social contact for remote workers has had vast mental health consequences which are completely understandable – if you have been staring at a screen on zoom calls for the last year, being inundated with immediate social contact could be hugely overwhelming. Being near nature, or what the brain conceives to be as natural, is proven to relax the brain and reduce stress hormones.”

Breakout spaces

Altering an office to make it as open and modern as possible could give the mental space needed to reach peak productivity far quicker than being thrown back into a cubicle for the entire working week. With many office workers used to spending time working solo or in quiet environments, Meridian’s data shows that businesses are looking to offer more unique spaces and solutions in their new offices.

Glover comments: “Breakout spaces are commonly in demand with companies on the more creative side, such as marketing agencies. As a whole, marketing agencies account for a large share of the enquiries we receive. We have also an influx of requests  from IT companies; many businesses in this sector have said they experienced a steep rise of new customers in the pandemic from the immediate need to set up functioning remote systems, and as a result have a growing team themselves, or a need to accommodate more phone booths or areas for video calls.” 

Hybrid working

Altering offices to accommodate fewer people, from the continuation of hybrid working, is also proving popular. 
Glover: “With hybrid working models allowing for a mix of office and remote, most of our clients in the south-east are choosing to make their current workspace more accommodating, safe and functional for their team. Our clients are citing fewer employees in the office at a given time, so as a result, businesses are choosing to keep their pre-pandemic offices, but renovate, invest in and improve them.”

For more information on Meridian Interiors, please visit: https://www.meridian-interiors.co.uk