Before the coronavirus pandemic, going to the office was a big part of daily life for millions of us.
However, following the lockdown, around half of the UK’s workforce has been left with no alternative to working from home.
Now, following the news that restrictions have been lifted, many companies are asking the question “What is the future of the office?”.
For many people, working from home has been a rough adjustment. Juggling kids, meetings via video calls and less social contact with colleagues has been difficult to overcome.
But, as time passes and people find creative ways around the disruption, many are becoming more accustomed to a new way of working.
What Is The Future Of The Office?
Furthermore, many companies have embraced the change. Some have even suggested that it could become the future.
Barclays CEO Jes Staley made a statement that the bank, which has seen many of its employees working from home, will not revert fully to its pre-January working habits.
He told reporters that “The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past”.
Are Offices A Thing Of The Past?
With many economists predicting that the country is headed for recession following the pandemic, it’s not unreasonable to assume that many companies would choose to invest in personnel over real estate in the coming months.
But, that doesn’t mean the end of the office. It’s not that clear-cut.
Working from home is not a new thing, it’s been on the up for many years especially for those working in the technology sector.
For these workers, the office acts as a hub where senior management is based. Often, the requirement is for employees to travel in once or twice a week to meet with their bosses.
It’s also a space that’s free to use for those that prefer to work in an office environment, but it’s not mandatory to do so.
Prof André Spicer, from City University’s Cass Business School, has suggested this way of working is likely to become more popular.
He predicts a “radical decrease” in the amount of time spent in the office, but not the end of office working entirely.
“I think cost is a big driver,” says Prof Spicer.
To overcome high rental costs, many businesses are re-evaluating the need for large office spaces, choosing smaller ‘hubs’ and moving to home-working is one tactic.
Hiring co-working space is another.
If we are indeed headed for a recession, the cost-effective nature of co-working is something that will suit businesses that prioritise people over real estate.
The flexibility of hiring a co-working space for someone who isn’t suited or unable to work from home is an entirely feasible option for companies of all sizes.
Furthermore, co-working has the additional benefit of being part of a wider professional community. Something that neither working from home or working in an office can provide.
How Will It Affect Employees?
There are advantages and disadvantages to working from home. Many have discovered this first-hand over the last few months.
The perks are obvious; less time commuting and more time with the family. Some people might even find that they ‘get more done’ without the distractions of social contact.
But some of the downsides, aside from lack of social contact and inconvenient means of communication can be more damaging.
One of the major disadvantages to working from home has proven to be a lack of quick promotion. Home-workers are often overlooked, especially when compared to their office-based colleagues that have the eyes and ears of their bosses.
Furthermore, there are many workers that feel the office is part of their identity. For some, the office gives meaning to their day-to-day activities.
How Wrkspace Can Help
In a time where change is a necessity, it’s important for businesses to adapt to the needs of their employees as well as their financial situation.
When considering the future of the office, finding a flexible solution will, for many businesses, offer the structure that their team needs without the burden of high-rentals or real estate.
We offer all-inclusive, short term options for businesses looking for flexible office space.
Our co-working spaces in the heart of the hustle and bustle of some of the most sought after locations in the North-West are ready-to-go when you are.
Visit us in one of our spaces to discover a new way of working.Published