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Report; Safe return to the office

  • Over half companies expecting at least half of their workforce to return within the next three months

  • 26% of businesses are unsure if their landlord has made shared space COVID-19 secure

  • Over half of employees have no desk dividers

The easing of lockdown measures and the gradual reopening of the economy is prompting more businesses to implement a return to the office process for their staff.

For that reason, DeVono Cresa, the UK’s leading occupier-only consultancy firm, has developed a high-level Return-to-the-Office Risk Assessment, that guides the data needed to help businesses prepare for that safe return and achieve a ‘COVID-19 Secure’ workplace.

The research found that for the majority of firms (69%), the impact of not having employees physically in the office has not been ideal, but firms have managed. Only a small proportion (5%) are finding the situation damaging to their business processes.

Getting staff back into the office is a key goal for employers, with 58% expecting at least half of their workforce to return within the next three months

The assessment showed that there are areas of concern that should be addressed. 26% of businesses are unsure if their landlord has made shared space COVID-19 secure. Furthermore, over half (53%) of employees have no desk dividers and 42% of companies have desks smaller than 1.6m*. The findings also showed that only 5% of businesses enforce clear desk policy.

When it comes to commuting to the office, 71% of people say their journeys take over 30 minutes.

Chris Lewis and Luke Philpott, who created this report at DeVono Cresa, comment: “Our research showed that there are areas that posed an element of risk.

“A secure and healthy return to the office, coupled with employee safety and wellbeing is paramount for businesses and will prove to be a useful tool to feed into future office strategy.”

The DeVono Cresa team recommends:

  • Ensure that your staff have enough information and guidance to make decisions about whether to return to the workplace

  • Commit to a dialogue with your landlord regarding safety and sanitisation of communal space and amenities

  • Introduce robust policies both for working remotely and from the office

  • Take time to understand staff wellbeing, mental health and if they are comfortable working remotely or would like to return to the office.


*1.6 meters is the recommended size of an office desk.

The full report can be found here:

About DeVono Cresa

DeVono Cresa is the UK’s leading occupier-only consultancy firm, specialising in providing real estate solutions to support our clients’ specific business objectives. DeVono Cresa’s clients range from high growth start-ups to long-established global organisations and the firm makes it their business to build long-term relationships, enabling them to provide informed and expert advice.

DeVono Cresa are also part of Cresa, the largest occupier-only advisory firm in the world. Together, they have over 80 offices located throughout Europe, United States, South America, Asia and Australasia. Through this network, DeVono Cresa offers a global infrastructure of experience, knowledge and support, to service both local and global business requirements.

DeVono Cresa are property professionals governed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and pioneered ‘occupier only’ representation and remain industry leaders in this field.

The Flexible Leasing & Consulting team has access to the UK flexible Office Market. DeVono Cresa advises on the best property strategy and solutions by listening to their clients’ needs. This service is free of charge to businesses and some of the clients DeVono Cresa support includes Twitter, Red Bull & Zoopla, all of whom they have helped scale.

DeVono Cresa publish a quarterly report, which gives a comprehensive overview of the central London flexible and leasehold office markets, showcase the latest projects from the company’s design and build team Dthree and delve into how the workforce is set to shape the workplace now more than ever before.


Twitter: @DeVonoCresa

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