Working from home and the new localism

“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.”

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Which puts even more pressure on local businesses:

Supporting Sidmouth businesses through lockdown – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Here’s a view from the real estate industry earlier in the year – which suggests a rise in ‘localism’:

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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

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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

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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

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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

   
© Vision Group for Sidmouth 2005-2022