With whole swathes of UK industries opening again - will we also see a return to offices?
This last year has seen the most monumental shift in our day-to-day lives, with a global pandemic that’s changed not just the personal, but also our working days forever.
Back in March 2020, never before had millions of people been forced to work from home, transforming a tiny part of their houses into makeshift offices and attending Zoom calls, all whilst juggling personal and family responsibilities at the same time.
It’s certainly changed the way management and business sees the traditional working week too, bringing into question the necessity of the centralised workplace – something that many have decided to do away with completely.
Whole industries and sectors have down-sized their centralised offices, or vowed not to bother with a return to the ‘traditional’ kind of office – instead looking for a more flexible and adaptable way to work.
As we in the UK begin to slowly come out of lockdown over the next few months, hopefully for the last ever time, it’s clear that we’re all taking part in an on-going experiment – one which looks to examine how viable the modern workplace is, and just how effective remote working can be.
Of course, this experiment will look to bring into question the viability of the workplace, as well as examine just how effective co-working spaces can be at getting people “back to work”.
Indeed, at the moment, this return to work is the biggest issue facing businesses and employees.
With vague government guidelines and a general reluctance of many to return back to “the old ways” – many businesses and workers are essentially stuck in limbo – waiting for someone else to make the first move.
There are some people though who don’t have this safety net of an employer; (and someone to make those decisions for them) the city’s creatives, freelancers and the self-employed – people who must adapt and respond to changes in their respective sectors to decide when is best to go back to “the office”.
And although it’s true that many of those creatives in the city have been working from home this whole time, and can continue to do so, it’s also important for many – perhaps those working within the hospitality industry or social media – to be ‘on the ground’ and ready to respond when things open again.
We spoke to Flagship, a new co-working spot right in the centre of the Northern Quarter and somewhere that will be opening their doors to the city’s creatives from this week.
Community Manager Tom Inwood-Field explains; “There has been a little bit more clarity from the government about a return to work, and we’ve been seeing an increase in enquiries over the last couple of weeks or so”.
Effectively located right in the centre of the city’s creative and hospitality sectors in the Northern Quarter, Monday 12th April will see many of the area’s local businesses re-open once again, even within a limited capacity, which Flagship expect will be the catalyst for many to return to work.
For Flagship and the people who will most likely be using co-working, flexible spaces, Monday 12th April is a prudent time to get back to “the office”.
The Northern Quarter, and indeed much of the city, will be abuzz again with open, thriving businesses, people nipping out for a bite to eat on their lunch hour and some life will return back to the streets of our city once again.
Even with UK employees seemingly “most reluctant” to return to the office, it’s clear that the traditional way of working pre-COVID will have to make way for a more flexible post-COVID world of work – one that will see smaller, more adaptable working practises take precedence over the old central office.
And, like it or not – we’re all going to have to start thinking about leaving our little offices at home and retuning once again to the workplace – however it looks.
Flagship is now open, with packages starting from £20 a desk. Head on over to their website or pop in and speak to Tom for more information…
Flagship Manchester, 27 Turner St, M4 1DG