It’s not that working from home is impossible but as we all know, (particularly those with children at home), it does present challenges in terms of maintaining focus and ignoring continuous distractions!
The world we are currently living in has turned upside down in the last 4 / 5 weeks and we have all had to try and adapt very quickly. I think it’s fair to say that we as a business have risen well to the challenge and are communicating well and trying to carry on doing business as best we can. It is however definitely not ‘business as usual’ as a lot of companies have been suggesting!
Business is very unusual at present as we all face a situation that is about as alien as we could get from what was our normal?
That being said, the world of commercial property and particularly the office sector has not and will not stop as we all need places to work from and to exchange ideas / communicate and interact with each other – remember those days – feels a long time ago right?!
I think it may be a while before we have some form of semblance of a ‘normal’ working day and things we have learnt and will continue to learn over the coming weeks and possibly months can certainly be used in a positive way going forward into the future.
Post pandemic offices may end up looking radically different.
Hand sanitising when entering and existing the office will become a familiar routine and the cost of supplying the office antibacterial hand wash in the WC’s will rise. Swabbing door handles and limiting numbers in lifts will also become a familiar routine.
New seating arrangements in what were more densely populated office spaces will need to be designed to allow for more ‘social distancing’ and possibly even materials (that discourage the spread of germs) when looking at new office fit outs will need to be considered very carefully?
It is also possible that when companies return to work, rather than needing less office space, they may actually find that they require more, as social distancing becomes a key part of the way forward for some time?
I think that now most companies realise that remote working is an option, this will be more accepted by those who previously thought that the best way of extracting the maximum out of an employee was to have them chained to their desk! It may just be for an hour or so a day some days, or longer if the best place to work from is home due to traffic issues and wasting hours sat in the car or avoiding peak times on public transport etc. The ‘hybrid’ office will be the way forward.
The office will always be the beating heart of any good business as we are at the end of the day – humans. We like to talk, see other humans and have a good chat with them regrading business ideas or simply asking them over a coffee as to how they and their family are today?
I will hold my hands up and say I miss ‘the office’ and all that goes with it! ‘Normal’ will return but it may never quite be the ‘normal’ we all used to know. Only time will tell….
Author – James Dickinson, Director, Canning O’Neill