Prove you’ve had vaccine, say a third of St Albans office workers
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Almost a third of office staff from St Albans and the surrounding area think people should have the Covid vaccine and prove it before returning to the workplace.
A further 24 per cent agree that people should have the vaccine, but don’t think you can ask for Covid vaccine certificates.
And 61 per cent of respondents - over half of whom travel into London to their office - think office workers should test themselves at least once a week, to be completely sure they are not risking spreading the virus throughout offices.
Surprisingly, more respondents are worried about the resumed cost of commuting (45 per cent), than the risk of catching Covid-19 when returning to the office (34 per cent). A season ticket from St Albans into London currently costs around £3,800 per year.
However, most people do want to return to the office for at least part of the week, citing missing their workmates as the main reason. A significant 64 per cent of office workers miss collaborating and sharing ideas with their workmates, and 62 per cent miss socialising with their workmates, with half of respondents missing the divide between home and the office.
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The ideal number of days in the office – as opposed to working from home – is two days a week, according to 49 per cent of respondents, over half of whom travel into London to their office. And only 19 per cent would rather work from home full-time.
The St Albans respondents were seen to be typical of any UK commuter town, and to give an indication of the national mood, although the commuter costs to London are steeper from St Albans than many other areas.
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The survey was carried out by office property experts O&A Property.
Managing director Peter Dudley said: “These results from the people of St Albans are not really surprising – after over a year of working from home, people are getting zoom fatigue and missing the face-to-face contact with colleagues.
"In the first lockdown, people hadn’t worked from home before, so it was an interesting thing to do. But now, as the negatives of family distractions, lack of proper workspace, and the need to reconnect with workmates becomes more pressing from a productivity viewpoint, we think there will be a steady return to the office throughout the summer.
“A key finding from this survey is that the majority of individuals want to go back to the office, albeit for fewer days of the week – even people from St Albans, where the cost of commuting is considerable.
“The survey also found that the vast majority [81 per cent] would feel happier about returning to the office if there were more flexibility in terms of how often they were in the office, compared to 30 per cent of people who would feel happier returning if strict Covid protection measures were in place – so flexible working is the priority for employees going back.
"Also almost half of respondents would prefer there to be fewer people in the office each day; and this also works with the idea of flexible working and rota-office working for employees."
O&A Property is having to navigate the ever-changing office space landscape due to the pandemic, but the demand for office space appears to be on the up again, especially outside of London.
“In the past few weeks," Peter said, “the regional demand for office space has been soaring. St Albans is a great place for businesses to be based, due to the wonderful amenities in terms of shops, cafes and restaurants, and the good transport links.
“What we’re finding is that clients are reducing the amount of office space they will need, as they adopt a more hybrid model of working, but the way that they are looking to use the office space will be very different, with much more breakout and collaborative spaces, and more attention paid to employees’ mental health and working environment needs than before.”