What will office space look like post-lockdown?
While WFH or Working From Home has become one of the new buzz phrases from lockdown, this is not always the preferred option, reality or choice for a large number of companies or indeed employees.
Even though WFH suits many workers, eliminating the time-consuming commute to work, there are those who welcome a return to the office environment. Parents who have children at home for all or some of the day and find it hard to work without disruptions, those who live by themselves and feel isolated, WIFI not performing, or those who need to close the front door behind them to get motivated again.
Clive Buckley, Founding Partner of global workspace broker, First Office Hub, believes: “Even though a lot of companies are talking about keeping a portion of their workforce working remotely for now, others are keen to get back to their office, because that is what their employees are telling them they want. But what we are seeing is a real change in terms of what “the office” means going forward.”
As a result, First Office Hub is finding that businesses are changing their views on seeking office space post lockdown. The main trends are:
- Terrific deals in terms of pricing and flexibility in the serviced office sector “companies want to recoup some of the money spent during lockdown on empty spaces and no longer want to commit to a long-term view”
- Moving out of the city centre to work in satellite offices in the suburbs – closer to where large groups of employees live, as well as giving more options to drive or bike in and avoid public transport
- Companies, large and small, are looking at whether they need to “double the space” for safe working or implement phased working practices with smaller ‘bubbles’ of employees coming in on different days/at different times
- Large corporates who once insisted on the “one space for all” are now choosing different serviced office options with different styles and atmospheres for different teams locating them near their client base, for example around Shoreditch for companies with tech clients
Dennis Kayser, CEO & Co-Founder, of Forecast, one of First Office Hub’s clients gave his staff the option of working from home or at the office. Initially the take up was slow but more and more of the team started to come back to the office siting too many distractions at home and the need to interact closely with team members. Dennis acknowledged that using public transport to commute was and is the biggest obstacle, but Forecast are currently covering the cost of Uber rides to help their staff get to work.
He said: “The team are happy with the office environment and the policies and procedures that our serviced office provider has put in place to keep the offices, the work environment and more importantly our staff safe and well and look forward to having the whole Group back at work.”
First Office Hub’s office search service is free for all companies, but for the rest of 2020 they are helping the business community get back to work during this challenging time with up to £100 cashback per desk when signing up for a private office.