How businesses are making hybrid offices a permanent feature
COVID-19 delivered a blow to the way we all work, and almost overnight millions of us has to learn how to work remotely. For many companies this forced lesson, taught them that actually remote working can have a lot of positive benefits.
For many roles the 9-5 with the obligatory commuting processes added a level of cost and complexity without any material benefit, and now that we’ve had the chance to test not doing this single model, some have found the alternative to be both better from a work/life balance and also more productive. Obviously not all roles are suited to remote working, and some roles benefit from a mix of remote and group working. But for many companies in areas such as finance, insurance and banking, they have found that the practical improvements in productivity and a reduction in all the costs associated with running large offices far outweigh the perceived benefits of having everyone office based.
I’ve been hearing from many such organizations that they are in the process of making hybrid working their new normal. With bookable shared workspaces for those who need to be in the centers of the business some of the time replacing designated cubes and offices.
The challenge for all businesses is that when your people are not in a secure environment all of the time, then you must have in place systems that ensure privacy, security and productivity are maintained. And so, the consequence of moving from fixed office spaces to hybrid book-on-request offices, with working from home as a regular option, is that budgets need to move from facilities management to IT systems. Even though the sum of all of the budgets will be lower there is still a need to implement new systems.
We’re also seeing a similar migration for consumers of business services, with in-person visits to shops, banks and offices being replaced with online engagements. And this needs a similar model of budgetary change towards business applications.
The result of these changes promoted by the pandemic is in effect evolutionary. Business now have to plan for the next one, and it’s changed the risk profile associate with any growth strategy.