The Covid-19 pandemic impacted almost every area of our lives and none more so than the way we work. Almost overnight we witnessed offices around the country being abandoned. Staff were sent home to work regardless of the suitability of their homes as a workplace. New ways of working, particularly with regards to communications technologies, were adopted and adapted at a staggering pace. The very survival of jobs and companies depended on companies finding innovative ways to keep business going.
Back to work
After the lockdowns, it’s fair to say that staff were hesitant to return to the office. Only a third of UK office workers went back to their desks. It was evident that workers in London were much more likely to continue to work remotely than their counterparts in other European capitals including Paris, Madrid and Berlin. Home working however, doesn’t suit everyone.
If you have space for an office at home it certainly makes working remotely from home easier. However, if you’re a graduate sharing a house with others also working from home, or confined to a tiny bedroom, it can be a more negative experience. As well as feeling pressured to work longer hours, you may feel isolated and detached, which can in turn lead to unproductiveness.
A new workspace
The office is certainly not dead. But companies seem to be acknowledging the fact that they must offer their staff flexible working opportunities. We’ve seen many new work spaces emerge, to fill the gap between home and work. We’re now looking towards a ‘hybrid’ way of working, where businesses can retain a sense of community among their staff, at the same time as offering them various different working options. This, in turn, relies on creating office spaces that are compatible with both remote working and in-office experiences.
And it’s worth noting that big cities such as London and New York offer a unique culture, with a diversity and energy that isn’t found in many other places. So they are pulling through to retain their reputation as some of the most exciting places in the world in which to set up and run a business.
Adaptability will be key
So as big cities begin to re-group and new working hubs are set up locally, businesses must start to plan how they will move forward. Retaining the trust of employees is a huge step in keeping them on board. It is, no doubt, the longer-term commitment of staff that will see businesses continue to thrive.
As well as ‘returning to work’, businesses will need to have a structured plan in place to adapt to this new way of working, be it digitisation, new software choices, or re-aligning workforce priorities. Implementing remote working in a structured way and investing in finding a good balance for staff when it comes to work/life balance will be key to retaining productivity.