“With more businesses embracing WFH culture and employees no longer having to commute into the heart of the city, and people being more mindful in supporting small businesses, local economies have the potential to flourish through localism.”
During the last lockdown, working from home was very popular:
The working from home revolution – Vision Group for Sidmouth
And most people didn’t want to return to the drudge of the commute and the office:
Most office workers would like to continue working from home – Vision Group for Sidmouth
A survey before the latest lockdown was pretty clear about most people’s preferences:
Most workers want to work from home after COVID-19 | YouGov
And a new survey during the current lockdown carries the same result – if not amplified:
Almost everyone wants to work from home | News | The Times
More than 90% want to work at home | East Devon Watch
Many commentators see this as an opportunity to revive suburbs and smaller towns where people will be relocating to:
Working from home: reviving town life – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Decentralization and technology-enabled home working – Vision Group for Sidmouth
However, if more of us are shopping online, that won’t necessarily ‘help the high street’:
Survey: UK consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis | McKinsey
New forecasts put figures on how much bigger online shopping will be this Christmas than last – Peak – InternetRetailing
Which puts even more pressure on local businesses:
Supporting Sidmouth businesses through lockdown – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Here’s a view from the real estate industry earlier in the year – which suggests a rise in ‘localism’:
Shifting working patterns: How WFH could be the high street’s saviour
This entire analysis feeds broadly into what can be defined as localism within retail – ie, prioritising neighbourhood businesses for shopping requirements in whatever form the “neighbourhood” might take – and, of course, relates to where people live rather than where they work.
The experience the country has had in terms of needing to rely more acutely on local retailers for all types of goods during the pandemic should also not be underestimated. This significant lived experience has added to the weight of importance attached to supporting local businesses. Growing public awareness over fashion and food “miles” will substantiate the popularity of localism either consciously or subconsciously potentially causing further issues for those areas which rely on the incoming office commuters to underpin their consumer performance.
Shifting working patterns: How WFH could be the high street’s saviour | EG News
And others are saying the same:
With more businesses embracing WFH culture and employees no longer having to commute into the heart of the city, and people being more mindful in supporting small businesses, local economies have the potential to flourish through localism.
What will the Post-COVID-19 ‘New Normal’ look like for Business?
Localism ‘buy local’ becomes a mainstream movement: Kantar report, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
Indeed, with this latest ‘breakdown’, localism seems to be making a comeback:
Localism 2020-2050 (well predicted from Helsinki, 2012). It’s all “Empathetic Communities” + “Local Loops”—after the breakdown… — THE ALTERNATIVE UK
There are plenty of other views, of course:
Why a future of remote work will fail the next generation – Personnel Today
Working from home is BAD for business: Bosses accuse WFH staff of skiving off | Daily Mail Online
Why working from home hurts the high street | Centre for Cities