Australian workers still value offices notwithstanding that many  want more flexibility and dedicated work space in their homes, a survey has found.

As part of a long-term project designed to track changing sentiment regarding home working and future workplaces, leading architecture firm Bates Smart has released the results of a survey of more than 1,000 workers.

It found that whilst many have worked productively during COVID-19 and value the privacy of homes for tasks which require deep thinking, most workers still value the office environment to foster social collaboration and connection.

Among those surveyed:

  • 74 percent say they have been able to work just as productively at home compared with the office during the pandemic
  • 57 percent felt they had greater ability to focus on deep thinking tasks when working at home.
  • All up, almost nine in ten (87.7 percent) say they would like more flexible working with only 12..3 percent wanting to go back to working full-time in the office
  • Of those want greater flexibility, 82 percent cite reduced travel time as reasons for this whilst 70 percent liked the flexibility of working from home.


  • 84 percent have missed the social connection and interaction with their colleagues in the office
  • Collaboration was the number one priority when returning to the workplace
  • Only 48 percent say they have been able to share ideas and think creatively when working remotely.
  • Only 39 percent say they were able to achieve the same separation of work and life when working from home
  • All up, 83 percent say they remain attached to their owned or dedicated desks in the office.

Meanwhile, residential design may need to be reconsidered to better facilitate working from home.

All up, almost two-thirds of all respondents (65 percent) suggested that a key priority for future residential design was to have a dedicated home study room whilst 48 percent wanted a greater number of spaces from which to work In the home.

Attributes desired in home office settings include natural light (75 percent), adequate technology setup (72 percent), a dedicated space (65 percent) environmental conditions (ventilation/temperature etc.) (45 percent), a view to nature (44 percent ) and acoustic privacy (43 percent).

Rachael McCarthy, Studio Director, Bates Smart said many workers remain attached to the office despite having worked from home.

“This means the office of the future may have a renewed purpose for collaboration, creativity and connection and we will see more break-out rooms, casual and formal meeting rooms, co-working spaces to suit more agile working practices but there is still change management required before increased remote working can translate in less space as a result of desk sharing in the office,” McCarthy said.

Bates Smart Director Kellie Payne COVID-19 may cause office use to be reconsidered.

“Now is the perfect time to question the office norm and reinvent the working day,” Payne said.

“If we get the balance right; the benefits on our health, well-being and climate will have a ripple effect.”

“The survey is designed to track changing sentiment and impact on home working and the initial findings suggests staff want both increased flexibility in working from home, their own space in the office and physical collaboration spaces.”

“What is so very interesting is how this period of remote working will shape not just workplace design but the work/life balance and what people will want from the design of their homes in the future.”