The slow march back to the office

The last 15 months have seen the majority of city office workers uprooted from their 9-5 working days. In towns and cities all over Europe an altogether unheard of existence of full time WFH has become the new normal for millions. But can this last and should it?

With a recent BBC survey showing that almost all of the UK’s 50 largest firms stated that they will not be asking employees to return to the office full time, hybrid office/home working looks like its here to stay.

Like many others, you may have conflicting feelings about what comes next. Whilst you may enjoy the freedom and flexibility that working from home allows, you probably also miss the face to face time with colleagues in the office, the watercooler moments and the sense of place that the office provides. After work networking and winding down with friends and colleagues over a glass or two of wine is sorely missed.

What is less opaque, at least for some of us, are the savings that working remotely has seen some people benefit from. The lack of daily commute, taxis, travel cards, expensive inner city rent (especially if you are in London), Pret a Manger, Starbucks and extortionate after work drinks have seen some of us unexpectedly save for things that we wouldn’t have thought possible just a year past. 

Given where we are in the world in 2021, one could argue there’s also a possible ESG angle to consider. Working from home reduces our carbon footprint, through the lack of commute. Inner city transport, flights, taxis and eating out have all been reduced considerably. One of the few positive things to come out of this pandemic.

Whatever the outcome moving forward, the last year has definitely brought about some lasting changes to the ingrained idea of traditional 9 to 5 office life. Employees work/life balance is now more than ever going to be part of an ongoing discussion which may take some time to settle.