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Before the Covid pandemic, the conventional view had been that offices were a necessity, were critical to work productivity and a general hub of activity and connectivity.
There are of course many positives to working from home, the reduced stress and costs of the London rush hour commute, commuting mums and dads now being able to spend more time with their children and of course the disappearance of childcare hustle.
Although certain company giants such as Twitter and BT have announced that staff can choose to come back into the office or continue from home this does not mean that the idea of office life is over. Working from home unfortunately is not equal for all members of staff, the comfortable space to set up a home office will not be possible for all and sitting on your sofa typing away on your laptop is not for everyone. Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon has in fact rejected remote working as a “new normal”, in particular Mr Solomon was worried about young and upcoming staff missing out from direct mentorship. JP Morgan and Barclays have also echoed Mr Solomon’s concerns about working from home.
Recent research has showed us that people still want spaces to gather and connect in a workplace and the desire for human interaction that isn’t always gathered from Zoom calls. The research also shows that the physical office plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration, employee health and wellbeing and in most cases productivity.
Many office workers rely on the office for structure, communication and is needed in achieving the balance between their professional and personal lives. People want to have the opportunity to wear different clothes, see different people and in a lot of cases build lifelong friendships with colleagues.
The current pandemic has given employers the need to rethink the office/work from home balance, but there is without a doubt an essential need for the physical office space. As we slowly start to return to the office, we will, I’m sure newly appreciate the office life that we maybe once took for granted.