If you reconcile the above with another development in working practices, employers and employees have recognised the benefit and efficiency of home working. The movement in this, in our opinion, will be embraced but tempered. An increasing number of people will be invited to work more flexibly with an allocation of time in the office and working remotely. Some of course will have become very familiar and comfortable with working from home all of the time, perhaps just visiting the office for key face-to-face requirements. A proportion of staff will be hankering for a return to a fixed routine and social engagement; some will just have to return as that is the nature of the role they hold. Unfortunately, others will just not have positions to return to.
The ultimate effect of this, which is also reflected in the results of a Regional survey carried out by Aithison Raffety* is that a business’s footprint requirements won’t change much, however how it is deployed, will do so. Opportunity exists to change the way we work without sacrificing interaction nor by necessarily increasing footprint to accommodate people. This new mix will mean that the office will now be considered a resource available to staff to work in the best way for a given situation (professionally and personally) where reduced numbers of workstations, set out at ‘normal distancing’ levels will be offset by need for increased circulation, collaboration and welfare footprint.
At SEC Interiors we are currently supporting an existing client, Audit Bureau of Circulations, to determine a consolidation project whereby they are looking to consolidate one building into two and is it into a smaller footprint building over three floors or one larger property over one floor, and the associated cost benefit analysis of each.
In the early days of the lockdown they surveyed their staff and, with the exception of those whose roles dictated work place attendance, all seemed pretty satisfied with a work from home principle. Three to four months later the same exercise demonstrated that the uniqueness of this largely fell off and that most people actually preferred, in fact needed, to have access to the office in order to balance effective execution of their duties against pure convenience as well as the social congress this brings about.
This will be forming a significant part of the benefit consideration over pure cost as to which facility they pursue.