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HOME OR AWAY? THE FUTURE OF WORKING IN THE OFFICE

Wednesday 28 October 2020 Data Insight & Analytics

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Holly Mansell's picture
By Holly Mansell

After completing my two-week work experience with CACI from the bedroom of a Devonshire holiday cottage, I have been rethinking what my future office and working habits could look like. For some time, technological advancements have increased the capability of remote working. Yet, limited flexible working practices have been incorporated into business models as CEOs have stressed the value of collaborative, face to face working. However, lockdown has made remote working no longer a choice, but a national lifestyle. CACI believes lockdown has caused online shopping trends to jump forwards 5 years in 2 weeks, and the same could be said for online working. The relationship between where we work and where we live has been completely disrupted; where we live no longer has to be governed by where we work. Of course, as lockdown restrictions ease and life becomes more ‘normal’, we will see the return of workers to their offices - but to what extent?

The UK experienced a total lockdown for around 6 weeks but for now the public are still being advised to work from home if possible. CACI has been collecting data on working behaviour; in the next 3 months 36% of respondents state that they will continue to work from home at the same level as during lockdown and 32% will combine working from home and with their workplace. They say it takes 2 months to engrain a habit, and many of us are seeing the benefits of flexible working such as saving time and money by not commuting - or even being able to work a ‘London job’ by the seaside!#

A national preference for flexible working will significantly impact the residential market. CACI’s Paul Nash, discussed in a recent blog post the growing interest of city workers to ‘escape to the country’. With the prospect of the daily commute being swapped for a ‘once a week’ commute, suburban lifestyle is growing more attractive.

Compared to June and July last year enquiries to estate agents from city dwellers about town relocation was up 63% in addition to a massive 126% increase for village relocation. Residential developers need to ensure that new builds are located in towns and cities within a 2-hour commute to major UK cities, of which Paul Nash identified a potential 15,000 villages.

Priorities of renters and buyers are also likely to change to reflect changes in lifestyle and working behaviour. Office space, gardens and parking are likely to become more desirable property features and so should be incorporated into future residential design irrespective of location.

The future prospect for urban areas post-Covid does not necessarily look bleak. People did and will still love living and working within large, fast-paced cities. Changes to land use will, however, need to be made to respond to new consumer behaviour. The size of permanent office space is likely to decline. For example, if a business had its employees working from home one day a week, its need for office space would decline by 20%. Mixed-use land use is therefore a more sustainable model. Building residential and office space together alongside defeats the large commute of suburban areas but by incorporating green open space areas will also gain a more ‘rural’ feel. Cities also have a competitive edge over the suburban areas who have never been designed to provide mass catering or leisure options as demand has always been concentrated within urban centres.

In the future we could see the growth in companies such as WeWork who provide ‘rent a desk’ services. These have typically been found in urban locations but may pop up in typical holiday regions such as Devon and Cornwall, cashing in on people taking more ‘staycations’ and working holidays.

CACI solutions can help you understand changes in your consumer’s behaviours and drive location strategy for residential demand, workforce planning and mixed-use developments. If you are interested please call Tom Fletcher-Wilson on 020 7605 6123 or contact us.

CACI believes lockdown has caused online shopping trends to jump forwards 5 years in 2 weeks, and the same could be said for online working. The relationship between where we work and where we live has been completely disrupted; where we live no longer has to be governed by where we work. Of course, as lockdown restrictions ease and life becomes more ‘normal’, we will see the return of workers to their offices - but to what extent?

HOME OR AWAY? THE FUTURE OF WORKING IN THE OFFICE