It’s fast approaching a year since our world changed.
The Office was Dead.
The surreal experience of having the Government directing us to go home, stay there, not to venture out and to work from home if we could, will stick with us all for years to come.
For those that could work from home and were fortunate to have some outdoor space, the combination of technology and the good weather made it a novel, safe and pleasant experience .
In fact some over-zealous voices were announcing that the office was dead, we could all work like this forever, and cities and our lives would change irreversibly.
Evolution not Revolution
As with most things the passage of time changes our perceptions and inevitably what is initially considered a revolution becomes an evolution and the end result doesn’t become that much different to what it originally was.
Now, after nearly a year, most people are weary of working from home, the lines between work and personal life have become blurred, every day has the same feel about it and whilst focussed work is still best done in a quiet environment and collaborative work is best done face to face in real time with your colleagues, home is not the best place for either.
Getting our mojo back
Most office based organisations, during this pandemic, have been delaying decisions relating to the function and size of their workplace but now it seems they are accepting that, despite some initial positivity surrounding the situation, productivity has fallen, their people feel disengaged, unattached and, despite the huge uptake of technology to assist the working from home scenario, now want to return to the office to socialise, collaborate properly and feel part of a team. You can read more about why working in person matters in LandSec’s latest report: https://landsec.com/sites/default/files/2021-01/In%20Person%20Reporrt.pdf
The ongoing office exclusion has affected people across all age groups, however, it is particularly younger workers, who need to benefit from the guidance and wisdom of others, and generally don’t have the space and facilities at home to support them, who have suffered most.
RTO is the priority
Getting people back to work is now the priority for increasing numbers of our clients. They are watchful of the government’s incremental advice and risk levels and are developing their RTO (Return To Office) plans to bring their teams back into a new normal world where the office really provides a hub of sociability and collaboration whilst still providing suitably spaced COVID Safe workplaces.
Collaboration and the Office
We are finding that where existing meeting facilities are now inadequate to provide sufficiently spaced collaborative working, clients are de-densifying open plan areas by removing desking and forming larger collaboration areas for teams to book and plan their time in the office. For the time being it seems that focussed work is still best undertaken at home, however, real collaboration can only really be hosted in the office.
The New Norm
It is clear that the new normal for office workers will be a mix of being based at home and at the office, likely to be in equal measure. One thing is clear, however, the office is not dead and in many ways is needed more than ever. Return to the office has begun ……
For more information on how CPC is supporting workspace solution please visit: https://cpcprojectservices.com/sectors/workspace-solutions/
Written by CPC’s Duncan Adams on 17 February 2021.