The end of commuting?

One of the world’s first offices was that of the East India Company in London dating back to the 1800s. There are hundreds of office buildings in London with, reportedly, over 500 tall towers still being built or in the pipeline.

However, with many of us not in the office now for more than ten weeks, much of this space is lying empty, bar the artwork.

To take the point a step further, will we need such space going forward? Will the annoying space invasion of colleagues’ bulky gym bags under desks and piles of stilettos encroaching footwells actually become a thing of the past, along with colleagues bantering on about which bins are for recycling and insisting the room temperature is a perfect 20 degrees even when you are blue and freezing?

Now that a veil has been lifted with many in our cities working from home, we can reflect on the staggering number of hours spent on commuting and we may consider that these commuting hours are in fact the best hours of our lives!

At least some companies have tried to make hours in the office itself more pleasurable – or at least more convenient. Ping-pong tables, free food, onsite gyms, launderettes and even dentists in some high-end sites leave little practical reason to go home.

The advent of working from home as a standard practice has made Lens realise the time and stress saved by not having to commute. The headspace achieved (when children are safely ensconced in a Zoom class or – more realistically – playing Minecraft) offers the chance to think more strategically. To be flexible with one’s working hours so long as one gets the job done, is indeed a silver lining of the pandemic and now that this particular genie is out of the bottle, it will surely be hard to put it back in.

Nevertheless, we at the Lens do miss seeing the skyline of London’s gorgeous buildings. And there are undeniably some downsides to working at home. A bad hair day is still a bad hair day when video conferencing on Zoom!