From epicentre to a ghost town
Walking through the office districts of towns and cities across the UK has become a lonely experience.
What were once bustling zones full of office workers are ghost towns, and many have predicted they will never return to what they once were.
Covid has changed everything for these districts, and companies now have a decision to make about what to do with all these square metres of unused floor space.
An increasingly expensive luxury
With so many firms tied up in rental and leasing deals, we didn’t see much in the way of a firesale when the lockdown restrictions came into force.
It probably happened all too quickly for big business to react, so focused were they on keeping the show on the road while the world worked from home.
But now experts are predicting that office space across the UK will reduce by 50 per cent, even when coronavirus restrictions are a thing of the past.
In terms of the big picture, this means companies stand to make a significant financial saving by either selling off or cancelling the rent on these buildings, not to mention all the associated running costs.
Some have even said the future of the office will be geared more towards team-building than simply giving someone a place to work.
Recreate the office experience at home
So the duty now has to be on these firms to take the money saved from plush, city centre locations and invest it in the staff who are working at home.
If a company expects you to be seated in front of a screen for eight hours a day, it’s their duty to ensure you have a proper seat, desk and IT infrastructure.
It’s in the employer’s interests to do that too.
Surely they would rather a healthy, productive worker than one who’s off getting treatment for back pain?
And undoubtedly, as market forces take effect again, talented staff will choose to work for the companies which offer the best packages in terms of kitting out a comfortable and efficient home office.
The commercial property market may still be in a state of flux, and uncertainty continues to reign as the country navigates its way cautiously out of lockdown.
But employers should be getting ahead of the game now and ensuring the physical benefits workers enjoyed in the office can be replicated, or even surpassed, in the home.