Having worked in the FM sector for over 15 years, it’s fair to say I have witnessed the FM and Workplace sector’s transformation to date.
The FM and Workplace sector has continuously embraced and implemented various smart technologies over the last decade. With Generation Z entering the workplace, companies have been pushed to adapt their working environment and practices to attract the new generation of talent in the market.
However, the current issues around COVID-19 and the pandemic means that we are yet to see the FM and Workplace sector and broader office space enter another period of transformation.
At this point, no one can be certain what the commercial office space will look like or offer to its employee’s post-COVID. Still, it has been acknowledged widely by FM service providers and their clients that there will be significant changes to the office environment post-COVID.
There is an increased need for collaborative workspaces to aid teamwork and build culture, remotely and in the office; while adhering to the social distancing policies currently place, without knowing how long they will be in place for.
Will the UK workforce return to the mandatory Monday – Friday 9-5 work regime?
We are all asking or being asked if the UK workforce will return to the mandatory Monday – Friday 9-5 working week? The general feeling is probably not, and we will see more hybrid and remote working roles across all sectors, not just FM.
Suppose we see more organisations adopt a hybrid or remote working structure. In that case, businesses may have to downsize or repurpose their office space to adapt their working practices to suit a more flexible working offering. There is a feeling that we will see the office designed to be more fun and engaging for employees when they reenter the office.
Will employees naturally gravitate back to the office environment?
There is also the thought that employees will naturally gravitate back to offices for the social benefits that the office environment brings. Remote working is great but significantly reduces the social and networking opportunities which arise during your day to day interactions. It’s evident that one of the major downsides to professionals in more junior positions is not having informal access to more senior stakeholders in the business, and those general conversations which may be had over lunch or a coffee are difficult to replicate over a video call while working from home.
There are many questions to asked and answered, but one thing that is consistent across all conversations is the uncertainty of what the office will look like going forward!