Covid-19 and The Shift to Hybrid Working

There is no doubt that the last 18 months have been a challenging time for many. Adapting to the working from home lifestyle, the endless lockdowns, and the never-ending promise of freedom. For many in the United Kingdom, we have come together and shown a great sign of resilience, the end is now in sight. 

The lockdowns haven’t all been bad news, it's helped evolve the way in which we work and live. Having the ability to carry out roles from the comfort of our own home has significantly increased the productivity of many, with several large corporations weighing up the option to adopt a hybrid working lifestyle. 

For others, however, the workplace provides an environment for being together with colleagues, a conducive atmosphere for bouncing ideas around, and new business initiatives. One thing is certain: the COVID-19 pandemic has had a long-term influence on our society, not just economically and in terms of global healthcare, but also in terms of where and how we do business.

Companies across a wide range of sectors are confronting the inevitable: the hybrid work environment, as we break from the grip of isolation. Some firms allow employees to work entirely from home, while others promote the “three days in the office, two days at home” philosophy. We're about to enter uncharted territory: the wild west of the workplace.

It's unclear how things will turn out, but there are compelling arguments on both sides. Let's look at some of the consequences of the hybrid work environment on the real estate business, from changes in office layout to employee incentives.

Redefining Residential And Commercial Real Estate

The layout of areas within an office is rapidly changing to fit our post-pandemic requirements. Google is developing "Team Pods," which are simply rooms containing chairs, workstations, whiteboards, and storage units that can be quickly reconfigured. They've also created new "Campfire" meeting rooms, which are modular, circular rooms with seating and impossible-to-ignore virtual participant displays.

Microsoft is also swiftly modifying its workplace space by constructing cutting-edge conference rooms that cater to people who are unable to attend in person. Eye-level cameras and displays on the walls will be installed in the conference rooms, allowing employees to maintain eye contact with their coworkers even when they are not there.

All of these modifications are beneficial to those who utilise such places, while many people like working remotely, it is not for everyone, particularly those who live in smaller accommodation. Those looking to lease an office with more space have already experienced extreme fluctuations in rental prices. Today, some landlords are still offering incentives, although it is believed these incentives will slowly disappear and return to their pre-pandemic levels as time progresses.

These trends will have a significant impact on commercial and residential real estate, as well as how the market acts. Companies may choose to recalculate the amount of square footage they lease for their employees now that there are fewer individuals in the workplace. As a result of the inevitability of lower demand for office space, the market value of the office buildings, which is based on leasing revenue, is likely to fall. Repurposing the building for residential use may be the greatest realistic choice for landlords in such instances, potentially transforming the real estate sector and urban structure of our towns and cities. 

Working From Home And Its Effects On The Environment

On a positive note, the worldwide temporary remote-work scenario has raised awareness of the amount of power we as humans have to help in the healing of our planet. In many regions of the world, eliminating the commuter workforce resulted in lower greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality. Because of these consequences, some environmentally concerned employees will undoubtedly be hesitant to return to the workplace. Even if the beneficial impacts on the environment appear to be secondary to most corporate executives at this time, the increased awareness may provide chances for future entrepreneurs – a whole new, environmentally friendly paradigm for how people operate might be on the horizon.

Final Thoughts

Working remotely isn't for everyone, however, the hybrid working dynamic is arriving. The new norm might contribute to relieving some of the concerns that come with working remotely. Office spaces will continue to exist and welcome people who value bouncing ideas around, brainstorming, and working among their peers, whether they work from home, the office, or a combination of both. 

What’s for sure is that employees will now have greater control over how, when, and where they choose to be most productive, considerations that have to be to the fore in employers maintaining not only a productive and profitable workforce but also a happy one.