Creating “smarter” buildings for the public sector is vital, says the chief executive of a workplace software firm after news reports suggesting that working from home could become a permanent option for some civil servants.
According to The Daily Telegraph the Treasury has told cabinet ministers to consider keeping changes enacted during the Covid pandemic that save money.
Government departments may also downsize office space or more officials could be relocated out of London permanently to reduce costs.
The Daily Telegraph also stated that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote to all cabinet colleagues announcing the “savings and efficiency review” and urging their cooperation.
In April Facilitate reported that civil servants were to be allowed to work both from home and in hybrid office spaces with 10 cities preparing to adopt government flexible working plans following a deal with International Workplace Group (IWG), an office space provider.
Raj Krishnamurthy, CEO at real estate software firm Freespace, said: “Whilst many ‘return to work’ principles for the private sector also apply to public sector organisations, a significant number of employees in the latter must speak face to face with the public. Their options aren’t quite as flexible as private businesses. Therefore, creating smarter, fit-for-purpose buildings for the public sector is more important than ever. Whilst it is inevitable that hybrid working will largely become the norm across the public sector to allow organisations to become more nimble and flexible, the technology is now there to support this.”
He highlighted the use of technology in hybrid working. “Employees are already beginning to use apps to plan their time in the office and plan collaboration with their colleagues at the workplace," he says. “While focused work will be carried out mostly at home, or in some cases across the public sector in regional hubs, employees are using apps to help attest their health, plan an office visit, request a safe, clean desk and coordinate to have 'team days' so as to make their visit as productive as possible.”
He added: "Workplace sensors can also record actual space usage at desks as well as informal spaces, help with validating social distancing behaviours, prevent congestion and place limits on total occupancy."
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