What 200+ UK Workspace Leaders Really Think About 2023 Office Trends

Helena Sampayo
Helena Sampayo|

The future of work is still up in the air — and for us at Hubble, this doesn’t come as a surprise. After the pandemic, companies were tasked with figuring out the best long-term workspace strategy for their business, and many found it overwhelming.

Fast-forward to 2023, and business leaders are still grappling with uncertainty. Whether it’s the high inflation rates or the multitude of workspace options, decision-makers are constantly chopping and changing to land on a solution that suits them best.

And our own Workspace Satisfaction Report results confirmed it all. We went out to 200+ business leaders in the UK to discover how they’re feeling about the future of workspace strategy — and to provide solutions.

This is what we found…

Gaining a clearer picture of the future of workspace

Before we jump in with the remote and hybrid work statistics, let’s briefly unpack why we rolled out the survey in the first place.

Simply put, implementing a workspace strategy is a mammoth task. There’s so much to think about. From maintaining company culture to sticking to a budget, the stakes can feel pretty high — especially when you’ve got employees to please.

And no matter what office strategy you opt for, it can feel difficult to know whether you’ve done the right thing. Whether it’s a remote-first or hybrid workspace strategy, they all have their benefits and downsides — and you may be left with a bunch of unanswered questions.

…the most common we hear is:

  • How do you solve a problem like unused office space?
  • Is hybrid working here to stay?
  • Should I be mandating employees back to the office?
  • Is remote work harming my company’s productivity?

That’s why we decided to do the survey. To gather statistics on remote and hybrid working and paint a clearer picture of the future of work and its office trends — and how we at Hubble can provide solutions that flex with every business’s needs.

Who took the survey?

200+ workspace decision makers completed our survey, consisting of:

  • CEOs
  • HR
  • Ops, and
  • Business leaders

…from companies between 20 and 1,000 employees based in the UK.

Here are some of the key trends we uncovered…

1) Most workspace leaders are feeling uncertain about their strategies

In the survey, only half of all respondents said they were satisfied with their existing workspace setup, with just a quarter of those (24%) classifying themselves as ‘very satisfied’.

This could be for a number of reasons. For example, they could be spending money on office space and not seeing a return. This is what we call ‘empty desk syndrome‘, and it happens when companies commit to a full-time office with desks that rarely get used.

This not only leads to workspace leaders getting a poor return on investment but also means being stuck in a costly contract that doesn’t support their ability to grow. For instance, most traditional long-term contracts last 5-10 years and come with high exit fees.

This couldn’t be more of a waste of money. So, moving from that to a part-time office or on-demand solution is popular. As a result, over two-thirds of survey respondents plan to change their workspace strategy in the next year, showing their openness to trying something new.

The survey also highlighted how business leaders are allowing themselves more wiggle room when committing to a solution, seeking out options that can flex with their needs. But that’s not all.

We looked at the companies who reported more satisfaction with their current workspace strategies and pieced together what ones would help them achieve the desired flexibility.

Remote-first companies (57%) were most content, followed by hybrid companies with mandated office days (51%). This refers to a hybrid model of working where employees follow a consistent schedule for working both in the office and remotely.

What these remote work and hybrid working statistics suggest is that businesses with more freedom around how and where their employees work are happier. Could the future of work be remote?

2) Workspace leaders are keen to choose their own adventures

Of the 68% of companies planning to change their workspace strategies over the next year, 31.9% said they would go fully remote and provide employees with access to flexible workspace.

So, it’s clear that lots of businesses are unhappy with their current workspace setups, and they’re keen to build their own strategies rather than opt for a more blanket approach. But why?

Before the pandemic, it was a no-brainer for most companies to be office-first. We knew we’d always need a full-time office for all our employees to use five days a week. No one questioned it!

But now, there’s a wealth of workspace possibilities. Decision-makers are free to customise their solutions to suit their business needs. It’s like building with Lego bricks; you can adjust and shape as necessary — and it’s this that will lead to higher work satisfaction rates.

3) Workspace leaders value in-person working

In the survey, 44% of fully remote companies agreed that some degree of in-person working is important for maintaining company culture. This was closely followed by 43% of fully office-based companies and 38% of hybrid companies.

These statistics suggest that companies, whether they’re working from home or not, value in-person interactions. These business leaders are actively finding ways to have their team meet face-to-face — primarily for its ability to improve culture (40%)  and collaboration (32%). 

But that’s not all. We broke these down a little further to see exactly what types of work.

Among remote companies, 36% mandate in-person attendance for activities like departmental meetings, while for hybrid companies, this requirement stands at only 17%.

Statistics on working from home indicate that employees are more likely to feel isolated. At Hubble, we’re seeing remote-first companies solve this issue by providing their employees with access to flexible workspaces, ensuring they can work wherever and whenever they need to.

Olio is a great example of this! 👇

As a 100% remote-first business, Olio was looking for a solution enabling its team members to work together wherever and whenever they pleased. That’s why they went for The Hubble Pass.

The Hubble Pass is a flexible and global solution to workspace. Olio’s 100+ employees use it to take a break from home and collaborate with teams in top-quality spaces across 16+ countries.

What’s more, Olio has managed to save 95% on the cost of having a full-time office for all its staff — solely by giving them access to on-demand workspace.

Keen to learn more about Olio’s story of remote-first success? We’ve got you covered. Read here!

4) There’s no hard-and-fast way of quantifying workspace success

In the survey, we asked business leaders how they determine their workspace strategy satisfaction. For all business leaders, measuring these two metrics was important: productivity and employee happiness.

When asked how they quantify their employees’ productivity levels, 41% of remote companies use ‘hitting company targets’. Whereas 50% of fully office-based companies use software to track their teams’ activity.

These statistics suggest that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to measuring productivity. It’s completely dependent on the workplace: the culture and how employees typically work.

And while there isn’t a single method for measuring workspace success, there are effective ways to ensure that your workspace strategy is as closely aligned with your business goals as possible before you decide to go for it.

At Hubble, we call these the ‘Four Pillars of Workspace Strategy’ — the four main ideas behind building a good workspace strategy and how you can create higher rates of workspace satisfaction.

We’ve dedicated a whole article to unpacking these ideas and providing guidance on how you can implement them. Read here!

Discover the future of work with our FREE report

If you’d like to gain deeper insights into the future of workspace, download The Workspace Satisfaction Report! It’s completely free to download and covers more key insights, such as:

  • The most popular workspace strategies: office, hybrid, or remote? 🏢
  • Back-to-office mandates: How many days are leaders planning to return employees to offices? 📅
  • Measuring employee satisfaction: Explore the methods leaders use to quantify employee happiness! 📊

Get the report to gain insights into 2023 office trends and stay ahead in the future of workspace!

FAQs

What is a hybrid workplace?

A hybrid workplace refers to a company whose employees split their time between office and remote work. Whether it’s a set-day or preference-based hybrid strategy, this work solution works best when it’s aligned with employee preferences and the business’s work values and behaviours.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

A hybrid working model offers bountiful benefits for a company. For example, employees report a better work-life balance, a greater ability to focus with fewer distractions and the ability to save time and money on the commute.

How often should we send employee surveys?

For us at Hubble, the general rule of thumb is to send an employee survey out every time you go to make a change to your workspace strategy. Whether you’re office-first or work from home, statistics and insights from employees are effective ways to make smarter and sharper decisions.

Is hybrid working here to stay in the UK?

We believe hybrid working is here to stay due to the fact that workers like it. In our survey, hybrid companies with mandated office days (51.%) were among the most content companies — implying that businesses with more freedom around how and where their employees work are happier.

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Prefer to chat? Get in touch with our team of expert advisors:

Hubble Advisor
Hubble Advisor
Hubble Advisor

enquiries@hubblehq.com
+44 20 3966 6804

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