After the pandemic, office workers will be seeking “substantially greater flexibility in determining where, when and how they work”, according to an analysis by consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates.
The analysis of client studies and many surveys undertaken since the spring shows that the average employee would like to work 2-3 days a week at home. But this averaging "masks a myriad of distinct options that we predict will be adopted by specific work teams and communities going forward”, states a report of the findings.
In most organisations, these options will coexist, with the potential of driving down commuting journeys and reducing the volume of office space required, all of which can reduce carbon generated by office workers by up to 26 per cent.
But each of these options will place very different demands on the office and its capacity says the analysis.
If these are not managed well, buildings will be empty on Monday and Friday (days when workers prefer to stay home to extend their weekends) while “office utilisation will resemble Swiss cheese due to the pockets of empty space”.
Not only would this be wasteful, but it would also create “lifeless offices with little atmosphere or energy”.
The very thing that people have registered that they need to balance their time working from home is the social connectivity and the buzz of the office.
The analysts say that this will “naturally lead to the death of the one-person-per-desk model in which people own space and will require far greater sophistication in managing office capacity such that occupancy is consolidated onto specific floors”.
If organisations optimise their use of office space and realign working practices and policies to enable greater virtuality, the carbon dividend for the UK could be a reduction of 10.5 million tonnes in CO2 emissions – the equivalent of seven million return flights from London to New York, or a 3 per cent reduction in the UK’s total CO2 emissions, states the analysis.
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