There are still many theories as to what a post coronavirus world will look like, and what it will mean for the way we work. Some are questioning whether office life as we knew it could soon become a thing of the past.
The logic is that If workers can maintain similar - if not increased - levels of productivity while at the same time doing away with draining commutes, why would companies continue to pump resources into leasing offices for them to travel into?
Antony Chesworth, CEO of Preston based cloud-ecommerce platform EKM, has found himself mulling the same question of late.
In 2017 the firm spent £3.5m launching a 23,500 square foot office - equipped with a giant three story slide, employee gym and original airstream caravan among other things - in anticipation of further growth.
Since the coronavirus lockdown EKM’s operations have been conducted entirely remotely. While the transition has been “seamless”, Chesworth says he has no plans to ditch the office. For one simple reason.
“People forget that the reason the transition has been so seamless for many is because of the personal connectivity, camaraderie, joined-up thinking and can-do attitude that had already been built up by these teams prior to COVID-19 hitting - at the office.
“When we built our offices, the central idea was to create a place not just as good as home, but in-fact preferable to home. If you create a place people literally want to come into everyday, you’re halfway there already to getting the best productivity out of your team.
“But having gathered your team into a single workspace every day, the hands-on team management, motivation and support you can provide within that shared environment cannot possibly be replicated in a home-working model. Digital tools can go some way to imitating that, but it can never fully recreate it.
“So, as we see it, the office is far, far, far from dead. Admittedly, it has to be the right kind of office. But if you get it right, no way of work is more productive than a well-appointed, well-run office.”
Image courtesy of EKM