Could this be the end of the company office?

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We’ve now been in lockdown for 12 weeks, and as Boris and his team are lifting the restrictions, I find myself questioning if I want to or should be going back to the office.

Our business, like many others, was forced into 100% home working. We achieved this in a matter of days as the lockdown became mandatory, and spent weeks worrying about how our staff would cope, if efficiency rates would drop and what we could reasonably expect from our teams?

Well, with the benefit of hindsight, we needn’t have worried, as it became abundantly clear that all our staff dealt with the change in working arrangements exceptionally and were in it for the long haul. The quality of work was as good and in some cases even better than before. Everyone cracked on and did their job and continue to do so. We have utilised all of the technologies available to us to stay connected, stay on top of our work (control) and remain confident. The 3C’s – something I learnt from my friends at K2 – Thanks Matt Barker!

Don’t get me wrong, it has not been an easy 12 weeks. Everyone has their own personal challenges – whether that be trying to home school your kids, or deal with the loneliness of living on your own – but with those challenges we learn an awful lot about ourselves, what we are capable of achieving, and we also learn a lot about our teams and colleagues, how to trust and support.

Which brings me back to the question at the start of this post – Having staff working from home can have some huge benefits. Not least the cost savings for both the employee (no commuting costs) and the company. For instance, I can reduce the size of my office, thereby reducing rent, council tax and utility costs along with other hidden costs of employment. Like many offices, we provide free tea, coffee, fruit and other refreshments, and rightly so, but as these costs reduce I can look at other ways to invest in our employees and a whole host of opportunities can arise. We could spend more on training and development, ensuring our staff have the skills needed to successfully navigate a working from home lifestyle.

But what’s in it for the employee? Well, I think I can safely say that I am very happy to get back 2 hours a day of commuting time! I haven’t missed putting my kids to bed once in the last 3 months, I’ve found time to run and spend more time with the family. Of course, trying to switch off from work can be tricky and finding that work/life balance is key. But having the flexibility to work different hours can be a real bonus.

So – could this be the end of the office as we know it??