17th Aug 2021

4 Steps for a People-First Return to the Office

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Our Founder Rob recently took part in a seminar with WeThrive CEO Andrew Heath to discuss the fundamentals of a successful return to the office. Along with the importance that people-first design plays in this.

For those who couldn’t attend, here’s a short recap!

Over the past year and a half, people have worked hard under very difficult conditions, and think it’s fair to say that we’ve all learned a great amount about how we work best. Now that the restrictions are receding and offices are re-opening, many employers are finding it difficult to entice workers back into the office.

Instead of trying to coax your employees back to an outdated office, designed to cater to pre-covid workstyles… Why not create an office that encourages the diversity, variety and stimulation that your people need?

WeThrive provides an employee engagement platform that monitors health, engagement and motivation. It transforms feedback into instant actions for employees and employers. Their ethos on meeting peoples needs in the workplace is very much like our own, so Rob enjoyed speaking with Andrew from the team very much!

In this blog, we give you a flavour of the seminar with our top steps to a welfare focused, people-first workplace.


Consider the purpose of the office

The purpose of the office has changed a lot over the years. From the open-plan efficiency-focused buildings of 1900s Taylorism to the productivity-focused ‘cubicle farms’ of the 1980s. The modern, pre-covid workplace was much better than its predecessors, with new-age open-plan offices designed to promote conversations and platonic workplace relationships. However, it was still far from ideal, with ‘battery farm’ employees still ‘pecking away’ at a keyboard, sat at their own dedicated workspaces.

Then in early 2020, Coronavirus hit the UK, forcing a major shift in the way that we work. The workforce migrated to home offices and makeshift studies, and an increasing number of people discovered that they work best when they can adapt their working space to their individual needs.

Now as restrictions fade and people are returning to the office, we’re seeing a shift to a people-focused workspace, designed to emulate certain parts of home-working, and support the vital human needs that we all have. Fundamental needs like making connections with other people, and when it comes to work, having the resources and equipment to feel valued for doing a good job.


Evaluate your current workplace offerings

To create a workplace that nurtures and develops human health and wellbeing, there are a few basics to put in place. First, businesses should ask themselves questions such as:

  • Do we empower people to choose how and where they work?
  • Do our people have places to think and concentrate?
  • Are there areas for colleagues to collaborate?

Before you undertake an office redesign process, it’s always important to ask why. This means asking questions like:

  • Why does our office need a redesign?
  • How are we going to improve employee wellbeing in the office?
  • What are our business aims?
  • How can our office support our workplace culture?
  • How can we encourage new ways of working to improve productivity?

Once you have answered these questions, and realised what your workplace is missing, you can begin to address the needs of your people.


Understand your employees’ needs 

Your employees aren’t just ‘workers’, they are human beings, with opinions, emotions, ambitions and needs. And in order to have a happy, productive workforce, these needs must be catered for.

To truly cater for your employees, you must first strive to meet their fundamental human needs. This might sound difficult, after all, humans are complicated! But there are a few guides out there that make it incredibly simple.

The Human Givens theory suggests that every person is born with a set of core needs that must be met to remain physically and emotionally healthy. These needs include, but are not limited to:

  • Safety
  • Belonging
  • Productivity
  • Control
  • Comfort


Include your employees in office planning 

Finally, when designing a people-first workplace, be sure to include employees in the design and decision-making process.

A weekly email or meeting to update everyone letting them know how the fit out is going, along with information on how their feedback has influenced certain elements in the space will show that you’re listening to their opinions.

Here at Blueprint, we use WeThrive – employee engagement software designed using human psychology. This software provides detailed insights to inform employers about key pain points, identify concerns or gather opinions on the office fit out project. So you can solve issues before they become problems.


Download our comprehensive people-first office fit out guide

Redesigning your workplace is a huge step. Before you take the plunge it’s essential to do your homework, adequately prepare and be 100% confident that you’re making the right decisions, at the right time.

To get you on the right track, download our People-First Fit Out Guide here.

If you’d like to discuss any type of workplace fit out with us, please do pick up the phone and call us on 01530 223111 or drop us a line at hello@blueprintinteriors.com.


Chloe Sproston

Creative Director