The future face of the office - what will the office look like in 2021?

Covid-19 has challenged some of the preconceived views on employee productivity in the office.

A lot of businesses have found that remote working has brought out the best in their employees, and in fact the demand to go back to the office is incredibly low. With giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Salesforce embracing a complete remote working model until summer 2021, a lot of smaller businesses are following suit.

With a large share of the global workforce successfully working from home, and many companies offering remote working indefinitely, it’s brought into question the ‘formal’ office schedules, working hours and working policies most organisations are governed by.

 

What might your office look like in 2021?

Regardless of whether you are in work currently, or looking for a new role, you are likely to have asked yourself this exact question.

Hiring managers are no longer constrained by having to hire candidates who live in the same location. This makes a difference when looking for say finance workers or IT professionals who have a specialist skill set – something that is becoming more common as technology develops. 

With remote working, a company based in London can easily hire someone who lives in Newcastle, particularly if it’s a fixed-term contract. Candidates finally have the opportunity to secure their dream job, irrespective of whether the company is based locally or hundreds of miles away.   

 

What will the city locations of London, Glasgow and Edinburgh look like?

It is important to realise that the role of the office has not gone entirely – it has just changed. With traditional working patterns gone, there is still good news for the humble office and those workers that prefer a place of work other than their homes. Studies show that people do still want to come into work for social and collaborative purposes. A study by FinderUK found that 30% of remote workers say they struggle with loneliness. It seems likely then that the office will become a meeting space for teams to interact and brainstorm new ideas, rather than a location you’re expected to work from every day. We might see more shared office spaces, and the rise of the ‘Near Home’ office in city centre locations.

Standard Chartered Plc announced in November it will “push the boundaries” for half of its 85,000 staff, who work in nine of the 55 countries where it operates. From early next year, it will offer those employees the option of heading to a “near home” location, which it will rent from an office-sharing company.

It is likely that shared office spaces used mostly for social and collaborative purposes will spring up in large cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh and London. The concept of the ‘Near Home’ office could help provide office bases for large and small companies that are offering a hybrid mix of remote and office working.

 

The end of the traditional 9 to 5

When lockdown first came into play in March, businesses across the UK scrambled to implement digital infrastructure that would allow employees to work from home. Organisations who traditionally previously discouraged working from home were now finding their employees maintaining great performance. When lockdown was lifted, many companies implemented flexible start and finish times so that staff didn’t have to commute in the busiest hours, limiting their person-to-person contact.

Many of us have adapted a day-by-day approach to life and work – national lockdown measures, frequent local lockdowns, self-isolations and ever-changing guidance – it’s easier for employers and employees to simply maintain an agile approach. As this becomes the ‘new normal’, candidates will likely demand this level of flexibility permanently from employers meaning traditional working hours change.

 

As a new starter, will I receive virtual onboarding? 

There is no denying that companies, pre-pandemic, varied in their onboarding processes. For many companies still working from home, virtual onboarding is the new normal. While it might be daunting to start a new job at the best of times, many of the new starters we have placed here at Meraki Talent have reported positive experiences. From branded items and equipment being delivered and installed ahead of their first day, to buddy programmes, previews of the first day itinerary and ‘weekly winddown’ sessions, starting a new job remotely can be an enjoyable process.  

To find out more about Meraki Talent call us on +44 (0) 131 297 2700 or email hello@merakitalent.com