The COVID Workspace Dilemma

We are helping startups and SME's who are looking for offices in Shoreditch to re-imagine their approach...



We are fast approaching the end of the winter lockdown and many companies are facing a workspace dilemma. Do you go back to the same setup as before, or do you try something different?

COVID has undoubtedly accelerated the adoption of remote working. As stated by the World Economic Forum, working from home for at least 2-3 days per week will become the norm (if it is not already) for most companies, including corporates. It is likely that large firms will look to downsize their central offices and offer more flexible desk provision. Freelancers will continue to roam between cafes and coworking spaces as they always have.


However, the real dilemma lies with growing startups and SME's. Many of these businesses cancelled their contracts and leases with workspaces providers like WeWork, Spaces, Second Home, The Office Group, Workspaces and Regus. The less fortunate organisations were forced to continue paying off their leases even though they were not using their offices. Ultimately, the question that most small business owners need to ask themselves is what is the true purpose and value of having an office?


Traditionally, the answer would have been productivity. If you want your team to get work done you need to provide them with an office. However, we are now finding that working from home can actually be more effective and productive as it is easier to organise meetings and less time is wasted commuting into the city every day.


However, there is a downside. The lack of in person social interaction can lead to a loss of motivation and also a higher risk of mental health problems. There have been many cases of burn out where people are expected to work longer hours without the usual lunch breaks and after work drinks. These social moments have a big impact on team morale.


Another consideration is diversity. Some people thrive in a remote working culture, whilst others struggle. Working from home can also have a negative impact on learning and professional development. Junior people benefit from the 'being in the room' factor, where they can join meeting and learn from the conversations that take place. With remote working information flows tend to be more narrow and the naturally workplace exchange of knowledge and expertise is lost.


The truth is that there is no one size fits all solution. Every team is different and so naturally every workplace strategy should be different as well. What we can all agree on is that the answer lies in a hybrid solution, that offers a blend of office-based and remote working.