The instability and risks presented by COVID-19 show flexible workplaces make perfect business sense.
The spread of COVID-19 has shown the world how quickly normality can be upended. Almost overnight, businesses were forced to shift their workforces to an online work from home model, with only tiny numbers of staff (if any at all) permitted in the office at a given time.
Despite COVID-19 cases declining in some regions and restrictions gradually easing, the world has no guarantee that a successful vaccine will be developed ever, let alone anytime soon. So, if social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future, how will this shape work places and the way we work?
The future of centralised offices?
Going forwards, it will be necessary for businesses to question the approach of grouping entire companies or departments in large centralised offices. With the design of large open plan offices creating ripe conditions for the spread of illness, companies could risk a single COVID-19 case taking down their entire team or workforce. Yet risk management is only one reason for considering changes. Beyond prevention of virus transmission, there are lucrative benefits to be had by splitting teams.
Traditional models equate to cost and commitment
Office space has long been an expensive yet necessary cost to doing business. However, it’s never been more expensive than now. The outbreak has meant that businesses are locked into leases paying for space they simply cannot use. With social distancing a continuing requirement, when teams do gradually return it will be difficult to achieve cost effectiveness on post COVID-19 space requirements.
The value in open place offices value has always come from their ability to facilitate communication and locate a maximum number of people in a space – something that may not be possible again for a long time.
The advantages of flexible term workspace
In contrast, flexible term office spaces are shaping up to be an ideal solution in a post COVID world. Many businesses simply don’t have the space in their existing office to meet minimum social distancing requirements and need overflow. Flexible workspace offers many of the benefits that large permanent offices do, without the long-term commitment to a lease. For one thing, they already include equipment, features and services to make a transition lightning fast, allowing you to scale up or down instantly. Yet commitment isn’t the only factor in assessing a move away from permanent centralised offices.
During lockdown, many employees have proven to be more focused, happier and productive while working from home. Indeed, some large corporations like Westpac have found project teams working at home to be so productive, they are already reconsidering whether they will continue grouping them in the same space going forwards. Meanwhile, Microsoft have already extended their work from home policy, and will allow employees the option to continue working from home even after restrictions are lifted.
The boost to team morale and increased output that working from home and flexibility creates is a large cherry on top for companies wanting to cut risks and costs.
Splitting teams into groups and allowing them to rotate between flexible workspace and working from home ticks every box. It encourages the desirable cross pollination of small groups and ideas while preventing the undesirable spread of illness.
Bigger is not always better
McKinsey & Company put it well when they observed smaller, nimble teams made important decisions faster and better during the COVID-19 crisis. In essence, a flatter company structure equals a more effective way of operating. In their words, “In a world where fast beats slow, companies that can institutionalise these forms of speedy and effective decentralisation will jump ahead of the competition.”
Why Cliftons Workplace?
With flexible terms and the ability to host smaller groups or teams in modern, technology-equipped workspace (did we mention the flawless internet speeds?), it makes sense to explore flexible workplace in this climate. At Cliftons Workplace, you have the benefit of the venue’s rigorous hygiene policies and social distancing measures, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to combine dynamic groups. What’s more, you have all the virtual and physical meeting solutions you could require, from Cliftons Studio for livestreaming to training and event space. With your teams split into CBD workplace, they are still close by and can also dial in to join you with the advantages of lightning fast corporate internet.
A safer place to work
While health checks or visitor registries prior to COVID would have been deemed invasive, they have now become welcome measures to create safe and reassuring environments. In the days of COVID-19 prevention, Cliftons workplace has introduced countless hygiene practices to keep visitors safe. These include stringent cleaning, hand sanitisation stations, staggered entry and break times, zero-handling food services, social distancing adjustments and temperature checks on arrival.