Has the impact of COVID-19 created a new way of working?
COVID-19 and the subsequent enforced shutdown of the UK economy has highlighted the ability of companies and businesses to adapt quickly in a fast changing environment.
Projects, plans and processes that may have taken say 3 years to implement pre COVID have been implemented, with relative success, in less than a tenth of the time – a clear sign that we are perhaps far more adept at adapting to and managing change when pressures are at their highest.
The big shift, of which everyone is aware, has been the need to work from home. Previously the preserve of the travelling salesperson or self-employed entrepreneur, we have now morphed into a nation of home workers balancing the economic needs of professional lives with dog walking, becoming supply teacher to the kids and in my case, the odd bike ride.
Let’s be honest, working from home has been thrust on to businesses when many may have resisted such a wholesale migration of their workforce. Lack of trust in staff to actually undertake productive work whilst at home as well as IT infrastructure issues may have previously have been cited as reasons not to support such a move and yet here we are having undertaken such a change, seemingly successfully, at brake neck speed.
We have been agile and long may that agility continue as we seek to bounce back strongly from the worst economic hit in modern times.
I wonder whether homeworking will last?
Undoubtedly there are clear benefits to the employee including but not limited to cutting out the daily commute and battling with all that the M1 has to offer. In addition, many have benefited from greater family time and a far greater degree of flexibility as to when and how they work which must all contribute to a sense of mental well-being.
And yet I question whether in the mid to long term we are all so prepared to give up the office environment which clearly has stand out benefits, not least as being the hub for instilling company culture, ethics and the like. I, for one, miss the buzz of an office, the banter, the lighter hearted moments which are somewhat diluted looking wearily at colleagues down the lens of my laptop on yet another Zoom call.
Hence, I am looking forward to returning to the office but I would say that – I’m a property lawyer after all and leases are my bread and butter. I’ll save a discussion on the future of office space for another time. In the interim, all said and told, will I want to be in the office 5 days a week if and when normality resumes? Probably not but ask me in a year or so!
Get in touch
For more information on this update, please contact Real Estate Principal, Terence Ritchie.