Bye bye offices?

Discussion in 'COVID-19 Forum' started by Peter Cooper, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Doesn't work for me being bone idle, easily distracted and prone to procrastination. I need the demarcation of home/office to force me into doing stuff I'd otherwise never get around to.

    I imagine there are similar people currently employed and WFM and doing very little productive work?

    Each step I have taken from co-working, to shared office space to my own office has increased my productivity and income exponentially. If I were still working from home I reckon I'd still be living hand to mouth.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
  2. simon field

    simon field UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    Conversely though, office culture has had it good for a long time, and just like the traditional high street has had its day, things change and evolve - nothing stays the same forever.

    How many people who work(ed) in offices stated on their CV “is a great team player, but also works well without supervision”.

    Just as businesses have had to adapt, and will continue to do so, it follows that people will need to do the same. It’s dog eat dog out there!
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: simon field Member since: Feb 4, 2011
  3. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    On the other hand, I've gone from working in an office (with a daily commute) to working from home and my productivity has gone up.

    Every business and every person will be different. Good employers will recognise this and allow a lot more flexibility. It may be that some work better with an early start, finish at lunch time and complete their allotted tasks at home. Others will need fixed working hours and daily targets.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  4. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I'm not sure that would be all that manageable, particularly in larger organisations where you might end up with hundreds of variations of work pattern. Everyone is different and will have a different "best fit", but I think they will have to try and find a method that suits most people to an extent, and then everyone will need to work around that.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
  5. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    I worked in an office with flexible working. Some people crammed everything into 3 days and had a 4 day weekend. I started early every day and was finished at 2pm. Others preferred a later start. I all worked well. Everyone was happy and the manglement got the products on time. A new boss started and forced everyone to work 9-5. Productivity plummeted.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  6. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    They will but, I suspect, many other's won't. I'm thinking of all those open plan offices that already exist despite it being fairly obvious that they are not conducive to productivity.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
  7. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Ace Full Member

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    Good point. On the other hand open plan offices are cheaper than the alternative. Having offices is more expensive than working from home.

    I suspect a mix will emerge depending on the nature of people's work, organisational culture, personal choices. Work from home, work some days in the office, work from home but use a local shared office space when necessary.....
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019
  8. TomUL

    TomUL UKBF Contributor Full Member

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    Yeah, I've been thinking the same thing Peter but haven't taken the plunge yet.

    We're a small team of 4 and we have 2 offices in an enterprise centre, totalling £1k a month. We're a research lab so we use both offices when conducting face-to-face research but I can't see much of that happening anytime soon (we're doing everything remotely now and for the foreseeable future), so it's money down the drain.

    If things do pick up and we need to work face-to-face, we can probably get by with co-working spaces and casual room hire if we do any face-to-face research/user-testing sessions.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: TomUL Member since: Jul 2, 2019
  9. Karimbo

    Karimbo UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Working from home, first 2 weeks you get so much done. Then your productivity decreases more and more each time.

    It fine, during coronavirus workload is reduced so you're getting all that you need to do, done.

    But when things start going back to normal - when the workload starts increasing. People won't be able to cope so well.

    Some jobs can be task based, so they can work from home. You have a fixed number of things to be done. If the employee wants 2 hour lunches and 30 minute breaks every 2 hrs. That's all dandy - they'll just have to keep working til 8pm to complete the tasks.

    Other job roles can't be quantified like that, output is a direct result of the time the employee spends looking at the screen and working. Those sorts of jobs will always require the employee to come in to work.

    Why would the employer care that you save 2 hrs each day on the commute. The employer isn't paying you for the communte - that time and money comes out of the employees pocket. The employer can get more out of the workforce if they're in the office 9-5, if they finish their projects ahead of time then they can take the workload off another colleague. If everyones working remotely then someone gets all the work done in 3hrs and puts their feet up - someone else is struggling along having to do all the work over 9hrs.
    Posted: Jun 15, 2020 By: Karimbo Member since: Nov 5, 2011
  10. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    I used a few weeks ago to agree that many office jobs would be done by home workers , and now thing it will just be a few

    Traditionally the people who worked from home were the self employed who had great motivation in that the more you worked the more dosh you earnt, you put up with the TV on downstairs or the kids shouting or even worse singing

    For a short time non self employed are happy to do the same but where is the motivation apart from travel time. that's the only improvement in your life. there is no socille interface, no improvement in wages if you work 9-5 solid or waste hours watching daytime TV

    Employers will find it hard to supervise staff or maybe identify slackers without intrusive logging of events, Broadband and phones cost and may add up to the rent of the old office stace, that now lays empty with no hope of modifying it to be able to rent out. Exchange of information would probably need new expensive software to ensure the transferred data was acted upon and also security of information, relatively easy to control in a office but computers left on at home or papers left around when guests come calling

    For most it would be quite large companies we are talking about

    Just my thoughts
    Posted: Jun 16, 2020 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
  11. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    Every case will be different.

    Some like working from home some don’t.

    My wife logs in to the company servers via a VPN. She can manage her team in the same way as before (they weren’t in the same office as her). Nothing really has changed except the location.

    This is a global company. They still have offices but the plan is to give people the option as to where they work. What they are doing is giving up the expensive London offices.
    Posted: Jun 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  12. menetworkjadaltd

    menetworkjadaltd UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    How about "universal" offices? I'm sure there are many people who live near great office facilities, but actually commute 30 minutes to a differen location. Kind of like hot desking I suppose.
    Posted: Jun 16, 2020 By: menetworkjadaltd Member since: Dec 14, 2011
  13. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    There are some fine examples all around of large empty office buildings in places where residents spend far more than 30 minutes commuting too. More like 2 hours and 30 minutes each way.

    Perversely, they are also commuting into places where local unemployment is very high.
    Posted: Jun 16, 2020 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
  14. Talay

    Talay UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    It is a seismic shift and will never return. People are simply not going to be going back to the old normal.

    Technology has been the big winner in all this (hmmm, who wanted this shut down ?) and mega office demand is going to drop like flies as no-one will pay the sky high rents.
    Posted: Jun 17, 2020 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
  15. Interestedobserver

    Interestedobserver UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Mega offices weren't exactly designed or built for social distancing were they?

    And the commute into and out of work for any using public transport again leads to the opposite of social distancing

    Every industry in UK that involves people being indoors together in any numbers at all can't handle Covid or social distancing economically

    Even if everybody in the UK wanted to continue to work in offices rather than work from home it's no longer viable in its own way just like most pubs and restaurants are no longer viable under social distancing laws
    Posted: Jun 19, 2020 By: Interestedobserver Member since: Apr 15, 2020
  16. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Ace Full Member

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    Social distancing is not forever, only until the pandemic dies - even Spanish flu only lasted an year and a half. Its much more important what is viable in years or decades than what is viable over the next few months.

    The thing about offices in particular is that they are expensive and a lot of people have had a demonstration that they are not necessary. Some organisations will carry on using them, but those organisations that find they are fine without them, or even that some employees are fine without them, will cut down on office space.

    I think we would already have had greatly reduced demand for office space were it not for people wary of trying the experiment. Now they have been forced to try it.
    Posted: Jun 19, 2020 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019