What it’s like to be back in the office a year and a half after the start of the pandemic

As the second post-pandemic course begins, many companies face the challenge of planning the final return to the office. There is no doubt that remote working requires a rethink after confinement, and this may explain, in part, why some companies are still waiting to determine when this return operation will take place. But it seems that this working phenomenon is already starting to lose strength, in favour of face-to-face work and especially the 4+1 or 3+2 models (four or three face-to-face days and three or two days of teleworking), which are gaining in popularity.
Currently, only 9.4% of Spanish employees continue to telework, compared to 25% of people who did so in 2020, according to data from the latest Red.es report by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. Vaccination and the decrease in infections seem to be behind this figure, which is still double that existing before confinement.
Does this mean that we are finally closer to a return to normality? Everything seems to point to yes: in addition to the return to the offices of the vast majority of companies, the Administration proposed the return to the offices of all civil servants on 1rst October, and students have already returned on a massive scale to the classroom in this second post-pandemic academic year. And although Spain is one of the European Union countries with the most restrictions, the measures have been relaxed after the fifth wave, which further accentuates this return to normality.  

What are the keys to this return to the office?

This is one of the issues that workspace operators are following most closely. We are facing a back-to-office prospect where flexibility is essential for the successful landing of companies and their employees. So is the maintenance of safety measures, such as the use of masks, social distancing and the sanitisation of common spaces.
At present, we can distinguish three different models of work organisation in companies: the in-person return to the office, the hybrid model, which combines teleworking with in-person work, and remote working. Of these, the hybrid model is the one that is gaining more prominence, as it allows the rotation of staff in person, which contributes to the phenomenon of the return of the majority of people to the office.
With the implementation of teleworking, many companies left their corporate headquarters to save costs and, a year and a half later, find themselves with the need to find flexible spaces. Thus, it seems that trends point towards the search for spacious, flexible and collaborative offices, adapted to the new working models.
This would also explain why hybrid formulas, which already gained ground during the de-escalation, are once again gaining ground at the start of this new course.
It should be added that the current telework law, in force since July this year, has also contributed to this phenomenon, which has conditioned the decision of many companies. So far, very few companies have adapted their collective agreements to the new law, whose penalties came into force on 1rst October; this would explain why quite a few companies have decided overnight to put an end to teleworking and have all their staff return to the office.

Does going back to the office make us more productive? What reasons have led companies to consider face-to-face return?

It is true that some companies have decided to rely solely on teleworking; but reality shows that, over the last year and a half, the elements of face-to-face work have not only been missed, but have a much greater impact on employees' performance and well-being than we think. Examples include communication and daily contact with colleagues, better work-life balance and also improved productivity. 
 On this last aspect, some of the big technology corporations have carried out interesting studies. The company Epson reveals surprising data: two thirds of workers say that the lack of interaction with others has affected their productivity, and 45% warn that, without further changes, their motivation will decrease as working at home continues.
Microsoft, for its part, warns through recent research that working from home all the time can affect productivity and innovation. The tech giant has concluded that if all staff in a company telework, communication between teams degrades and employees end up working longer hours, according to a study based on data from 61,182 of the company's employees in the US.
 It is clear that the world is divided between people who want to go back to the office and those who don't. And while the advantages of working from home are numerous, statistics show that, in terms of productivity, the face-to-face model is gaining ground. Considering this trend, we could conclude that companies that opt for telecommuting on a permanent basis would be at a disadvantage to some extent, as it makes collaboration and information sharing between employees more difficult. 

More than just flexible spaces: offices that adapt to you at any time

In this transition back to normality, CINC helps you to adapt your corporate spaces to the flexible formula you need. We have been applying flexible solutions for more than a decade, long before the pandemic and the post-covid office boom, which is why we understand our clients' needs very well and offer them fully customised solutions with a close and personalised service. 
We also offer you a comprehensive business consultancy and insurance brokerage service, as well as programmes aimed at new entrepreneurs. So, if you want a safe and flexible return to the office and you also want to grow your business, CINC offers you all kinds of facilities in a unique environment.

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October 13, 2021

Moves III Plan: incentives for efficient and sustainable mobility 2021

El Gobierno aprobó el pasado 13 de abril el Plan Moves III a través del Real Decreto 266/202. Se trata de unas subvenciones dirigidas tanto a particulares como empresas para promover la compra de vehículos eléctricos y la instalación de infraestructura de recarga, con el fin de fomentar la movilidad sostenible. El programa está dotado inicialmente de un presupuesto máximo de 400 millones de euros, y el plazo finalizará cuando se agote el presupuesto o, como máximo, el 31 de diciembre 2023.

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