a) “offices may be a thing of the past”
b) “to safely reopen, make the workweek shorter, then keep it shorter”
We clearly need to be redesigning our spaces:
Office design guidelines include distancing in lifts and floors, reduced hot-desking and staggered shifts.
Reimagining our parks and public spaces, our homes and offices, our restaurants and shops.
But perhaps the office as a space to work is now redundant:
Millions of people will get the chance to experience days without long commutes, or the harsh inflexibility of not being able to stay close to home.”
Promoting Economic Resilience: “New mixed development should… consider the values of homeworking to the economic vibrancy of the Sid Valley.”
Enter the rural environment as a destination for those displaced from, say Canary Wharf, with an enviable work/life balance, properly equipped with resources appropriate to decentralized working.
And, besides, we might be working fewer hours and fewer days anyway:
Last month’s Atlantic magazine looked at the four-day week:
Whilst the FT this week looked at the “likely increase in automation to safeguard employees”:
And banks and big-tech are suggesting that “offices may be a thing of the past”:
Today’s Guardian looks at the issues:
Office life is not over – but the way we work must surely change
From furloughing to four-day weeks, coronavirus is making the impossible seem possible
The idea that office life is over is almost certainly overdone. Not everyone loves typing away on the sofa day after day, panicking about being out of the corporate loop. But for those lucky enough to have the choice to work from home, the collective near-death experience we’ve endured as a nation may be prompting a re-evaluation of what matters.
Commuter dads who once rarely saw their children awake have got used to the casual intimacy of being around them all day long. In the privacy of their personal Facebook feeds, more than one hard-hitting Westminster type has melted into a puddle of baby pictures. For the less sentimental, savings from seven weeks of raiding the fridge for lunch and not filling the car are adding up; the environmental benefits of keeping traffic off the roads are a happy bonus. But if the shift to home-working has been relatively painless, that’s merely the beginning.
Modern working hours are in part a legacy of the Great Depression of the 1930s, when collapsing demand for labour encouraged companies to share around what work there was: what had been a six-day week for many shrank to five. Now it may be shrinking again.