Re-emergence - a new future for the office environment

If you are an office based organisation, have you started to re-think your office space for the future post-covid19? We think that our work life patterns and needs will be very different and with the proven ability to all work from home, what do we really need our office space to do for us? We will no longer need banks of desks and want to use our space for meaningful face to face interactions with our teams, customers and as a showcase for our employer brand.

Are any other companies looking to do a similar review and what ideas have you thought of initially? I would love to hear ideas on Facilities, People and Digitalisation.

Thanks for reading!


  • For what its worth
    several drivers:
    redundancies will mean less need for space so offices will shrink/move
    Cost pressures will drive consideration of WFH coz its cheaper.
    Realisation that WFH can work

    IMHO there will be all three drivers and a realisation that a more blended approach works best for all and lots of friction about who gets Mondays and Fridays off/at home.
  • Here's an article stating Twitter employees will be allowed to continue working from home forever and Mastercard employees can remain away from the office until they feel comfortable returning:
  • I think a lot depends on the individuals desire to do this too not just the organisations desire, they may not have somewhere suitable to work from home on a more permanent basis, it may be too disruptive to their home lives, they may feel isolated etc. If they did agree, the expectation would also be that the organisation would need to supply the right kit to allow staff to do this without risking their health and safety (sitting at an unsuitable workstation or flat surface if you can find one, is no fun I'm sure many of you will agree) and perhaps an allowance to contribute towards the costs such as phone bills, internet use etc. I would caution thinking that everyone is happy/can accommodate working from home, a lot of consultation needs to take place too as part of any move away from office based working.
  • I think the WFH pendulum has swung sharply in one direction caused by this crisis. As with all sudden and drastic changes I wouldn't expect things to stay at that extreme but to gradually swing back. Certainly not to its starting position but probably (IMO) far closer to that overtime than many people currently think.

    So we may well see a hybrid developing but I wouldnt necessarily be making long term buildings and facilities decisions just yet.
  • In reply to Elaine Helen:

    Some valid points made my Elaine and borne out by my own (now slightly outdated) research.
    For many people the additional problem with WFH is that processes are set up to favour those in the office. It can be a true 'out of sight out of mind' scenario when it comes to promotion prospects and work allocation (who gets the interesting/career progressing projects).
  • I chair a network of 200+ HRDs and it is noticeable that the role of an office is under scrutiny. On a call I hosted yesterday around 30% of attendees are intending to reduce office capacity imminently, and a similar number will be doing so at the point in time they can exercise a break or come to the end of a lease.

    And then there is also a re-think around space utilization, so moving away from allocated workstations to hot desking, collaboration hubs, and so forth.
  • In reply to Marc Weedon:

    Yes re-thinking around space utilization is not easy
  • COVID-19 will change the working life and possibly we will be more dependent to technology. However, face to face interactions will be the best way of communicating, since I do not know what have replace that right now.

    I am conducting a research regarding e-HRM. It will be helpful if some HR professionals could answer this short and completely anonymous survey: edinburgh.eu.qualtrics.com/.../SV_41mGR9xtC9JSpY9
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    30 Jul, 2020 15:00

    Hi Alex we ran a live twitter Q&A on this yesterday and you can look at the comments via this #AskTheCIPD link for interest! twitter.com/search

  • In reply to Keith:

    We are London-based. The City currently still resembles a ghost town but this is London - I can't imagine it not bouncing back at some point. Urban spaces thrive on people interacting and all that entails. Human interaction being a driver for creative thought and innovation. Plus there is the more personal stuff that home workers will miss out on. London's demographic is younger than average, they often conduct their social lives at work, plus how many people have met their other halves when their eyes met across the copier?.

    More pragmatically, I know many people at my work would love to be in a proper office again, with a proper desk, and a printer and copier. People who live in London often don't have huge amounts of space to set themselves up.
  • I recently read a report from a company which makes most of its money through the development and leasing of commercial property (predominantly office space) and you'd think they'd be concerned by the prospect of companies downsizing, but interestingly they're not and it ties back to Alexandra's questions quite neatly.

    In the short-term, whilst offices will contain fewer people, they also have to accommodate social distancing, meaning that the same amount of space is needed for half the bodies.

    In the medium term, they expect offices to continue to be a visible sign of "success" (no one will want a smaller office, because it will look like they can't afford a bigger one!), but their use will shift away from, as Alexandra puts it, banks of desks to more imaginative spaces: a combination of private offices, hot desks, sharing spaces, break-out spaces and social areas.

    However, in the long term, they expect emerging companies to grow their office spaces more slowly and to make more use of shared space with other companies because they won't fear the risk of poor perception arising from a visible "down-sizing", but be able to spin it as part of their culture (environmentally and fiscally responsible). But the investors still expect to make money by simply charging more money per square metre.

    Ah. Capitalism.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    11 Aug, 2020 11:20

    Picking up again from 's thread starter... another thought-provoking piece considering what coronavirus might do to our offices (and homes)...