Our urban communities have been previously built on one model where most people have to commute to work. With the changes due to the pandemic, the traditional urban model is morphing into something different.
It would appear, due to the forced changes that were placed on so many, both businesses and workers are entering a space where they feel freer to decide when, where and how they work. This pandemic has permanently changed the way we live and work.
So, what are some of the changes that might be staying for a while that may impact everyone?
Concept of Home and Work is Shifting
Working from home may seem simple, but the pandemic has forced some long term impacts on working from home.
One of the major shifts that needed to be made is cybersecurity. IT specialists have spent decades building in-house systems to protect critical infrastructure primarily based on the office model. Now, there needs to be a shift to employees mainly being responsible for their own cybersecurity. With this in mind, there is an apparent uptick of people becoming more aware of how to protect their networks with internal security software and passwords.
Even if that isn’t common amongst all teams, people are definitely more aware of good digital hygiene standards. But the truth is that currently, home offices are not as secure as corporate offices. This is something that will need to be addressed in the future.
The Hybrid Office
With the move back to the office happening at a snails pace, we see a radically different office and what it should provide employees. There is a move to work in a hybrid mode, where employees sometimes commute to the office, and stay at home on other days. This model seems to be the norm for most people at the moment.
This means that offices need to be streamlined for future operations. They may not need to hold as many people at one time. The advent of ‘hot desks’ that people can share and smaller workstations as people will be less often personalising their workspace. A move towards more collaborative spaces to improve innovation and communication. There will also need to be technology to facilitate the hybrid meetings – half in house and the other half virtual.
With the hybrid office, there is a connection between the employee’s home office and work office. It will be crucial to make remote connections as secure as possible. Currently, VPNs are an absolute necessity for remote workers. They help secure communications when using shared networks or even your own home WiFi.
Death of the Metropolis?
Shifting to work from home or hybrid offices may change the way we look at the work environment and the cities where we work. With so many employees not needing to commute, it can change the structure of where and how people live. Why live in a congested city when you only have to make it into the office once a month for a few days? Why not live further out of town in a family-friendly suburb?
This concept is a significant shift, where country towns and outer suburbs were once thought to be dying. Now many have a new lease on life.
If this trend will last is difficult to predict. But there seems to be a definite swing in how people choose to live and work. People are less willing to pay the high prices commanded in the overpopulated and overpriced cities to the same level as a few years ago.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the extreme shift of the last few years will stick. It is more likely that it will be a levelling out where the hybrid office will become the norm for non-essential workers. What is apparent though…people are willing to ask for a more balanced and better quality of their working and living environment. To make this achievable and profitable, strategies need to be implemented to improve communications, security, and productivity.
Learn more about remote work in the following article: Top remote work ideas for 2022