As we start to once again exit the latest round of the Covid Pandemic, more and more people are making a return to the office rather than working from home. Guidance is changing from the requirement to work from home where possible and more employers are encouraging their staff to return to more traditional office working arrangements.

However, times have changed during the pandemic and many employees have become accustomed to the flexibility and comforts of working from home and not all employees are relishing the thought of returning to the workplace. Many employees don't want to return full time to the office and the number of days those employers require their staff to attend the office is emerging as a key point of difference in the recruitment process.

This has focused many companies to think about what attracts people to a workplace. Yes, salary will always be a major factor, but the environment in which people work is also becoming increasingly important.

On 14th January, Google announced that it is backing a return to the office with an investment that will expand its UK capacity by 50% and ‘reinvigorate’ the work environment.

The USA Tech giant is spending £730m and expects headcount to rise from 6,400 to 10,000.  It is buying one of the London sites, Central Saint Giles, in which it is currently a tenant.  The investment reflects the firm's faith in the office as a place of work and is seen as a statement that it wants to retain and attract new staff through pleasant working environments alongside more common incentives.

Google's UK boss Ronan Harris said “We want to reinvigorate the work environment. We're making this commitment to rebuild. We're buying these buildings and we're keen to see everybody come back in and see a vibrant workspace again."

Google said it would be undertaking a multi-million-pound refurbishment of its offices to ensure they were on a par with those in its new King's Cross development currently being built.

No longer will employees be content to work in cold, soulless office blocks or factory offices. They want the environment to be modern, relaxing and a joy to work in. Whilst we are not suggesting that all companies have the same levels of investment at hand as Google, companies are looking for cost effective, quick solutions to making the work place more attractive, whether this is new furniture, artwork for the wall or just new, welcoming entrance mats for the reception area.