Will we ever return to offices?

With the global pandemic causing us to navigate all areas of our lives in uncharted waters, it has been a difficult year for many business owners when it comes to making choices about our physical working environments.

With more than two-thirds of businesses adopting remote working policies, the question is: will we ever return to offices in the same capacity?

The short answer is no. Now it has been over a year since the first lockdown, it has become apparent that many of us feel more comfortable working at home and are discussing if there is a need for a physical office, especially with the high costs associated with owning or renting an office building.

Let's be honest, no matter where you are working, you will still be doing just that: working. The question of whether this must be in a physical office or from the comfort of your own home ought to depend on the environment you are most productive and efficient in, as well as the industry you work in.

With that being said, there are an enormous number of benefits that we have appreciated since we started working from home. From the flexibility and increased work life balance, to cost factors such as reduced commuting and fewer takeout coffees and lunches. Some companies, 67% to be precise, expect to be working from home permanently, or at least for the foreseeable future. We are also predicting seeing multiple businesses return to offices in a reduced capacity, such as through hybrid solutions offering three days working from a mixed office and two days of home working. 

We cannot deny that there are many significant benefits to home working. But it goes without saying that there are also some negative impacts to ditching office life. For many of us it can be hard to separate work and life when your working day is situated in the same location as your leisure time. This can lead to a lack of willpower, difficulty of sticking to a routine, and reduced motivation without an inspiring working environment and supportive colleagues around us. This can become quite lonely and result in a negative impact on work performance and productivity. 

It is crucial to consider what environment you need to stay focused, happy, and inspired, as well as how you best communicate with your team. If you are self-motivated, adhere to a routine well, and enjoy minimal distractions, then working from home may well be the perfect choice for you.

Whereas if you thrive on social interactions, feel inspired by seeing others working, and stay on track best working closely with your team members, then perhaps working from the office is the way to go for you.

In Somerset we are lucky to have a range of inspiring shared working spaces that may be perfect for those of you looking for somewhere to work in the company of others. A few places we would recommend include: