Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not there is still going to be a place for offices moving forward. With businesses having to implement working from home policies and procedures, and staff reaping the benefits of flexible working, are traditional offices a thing of the past? The pandemic has allowed the home office perks often only seen by start-up companies to be experienced by the wider world.
Several companies including Microsoft and Twitter have already announced that their staff can work from home forever, which is a very bold statement. It isn’t just employees who have seen the benefits of working from home though. Businesses can reduce their costs linked with office spaces, and they can hire talent from across the globe rather than by being limited by location. All of this sounds really positive for both employers and employees alike, but surely there must be a point where working in pyjamas all day becomes a bit boring?
The Problems of Working From Home
Let’s start with ‘Zoom fatigue’ – yes that is actually a term now! There are only so many meetings in a day that you can carry out whilst staring at a computer screen. An overload of Zoom meetings can make employees feel detached from an organisation and unmotivated. This, in turn, can lead to lower levels of productivity which is never good.
Now looking from the viewpoint of an employer, Zoom does not provide many more benefits. Communication with teams is definitely harder – nothing quite beats the face-to-face catch-ups on a Monday morning. That is before you consider how to integrate a new member of staff into the team.
Of course some people have been working from home before the pandemic hit, and this is a normal way of life for them. It appears that for the majority of organisations though working from home is not a sustainable option in the long-term. Workplaces provide an environment in which productivity thrives, and there is a good mixture of socialising and private working areas.
The Importance of Workspaces
One of the main issues with working from home is the blurred line between ‘home’ and ‘work’. Many employees are working much longer hours and are struggling to switch off at the end of a busy working day. By travelling to a workspace each day, there are lots of psychological and social benefits of this. The continuation of lockdown has meant that the initial novelty of working from home has worn off, and many of the downsides are starting to creep in. This includes never leaving the house, being lonely, and like we have mentioned, working much longer hours.
In recent years, we have seen a real boom in coworking spaces and they have almost become fashionable. This is because people have realised that they are places where ideas can be exchanged, you can meet with like-minded individuals, and you can feel part of a community. For those who were lacking the social interaction part of working from home, coworking spaces completely filled that gap.
The Future of Office Space
So where does that leave us now? Well until the vaccines are rolled out (which they are now starting to be), we have to continue with Zoom calls. Lots of research has been carried out to see whether employees would like to go back to the office when allowed, but the majority are opting towards the working from home option at the moment.
The majority of employees are swaying towards a flexible working model where they have a mixture of office-based and remote working. This is going to be a challenge for employers who are renting office premises if only half of the team will be in at any one time. Could we see more larger corporations looking into coworking spaces as a happy medium?
There are still lots of questions to be answered surrounding the next steps with workplaces and the entire ecosystem – including landlords, workspace operators, employers and employees. Just like the digital transformation that has happened as a result of the pandemic, working spaces are also undergoing big changes. Long-term leases and rigid working conditions are very much a thing of the past, and a flexible, hybrid way of working is set to dominate the future.
Here at McCue House we are offering the perfect solution for all businesses – a high quality serviced office space, with separate coworking areas included within the facility. If you would like to register your interest today, please contact us.