GCUC have been forging ahead with their webinar series and the latest was organised by the GCUC UK team. The subject was ‘Post COVID-19 strategies for reopening’ and featured a great line up including Liz Elam hosting, Anthony Slumbers moderating the session and an expert panel of Jonny Weinbrenn from BE Offices, Natasha Guerra from Runway East, Seb Royale from Platf9rm and Chris Davies from Uncommon.
Here’s our 5 takeaways from the GCUC webinar:
There’s a rainbow at the end of the storm
Liz began the session on a positive note. With larger organisations now realising that having all of their employees in the one office will need to change post-Covid-19, the opportunities for flexspace would be plentiful. If we can ride out the storm, there’s a rainbow of benefits at the end of it.
Is it a bug or is it a feature?
Anthony discussed how in tech you either have a bug or a feature. The bug is a short-term thing that can be dealt with, the feature is long term and becomes part of the way you do things. He felt that the current situation was a bug and that it would actually benefit the flexspace industry in the long term. Natasha thought that it would be a mixture of both, that initially coworking spaces may struggle but longer term the benefits of a workspace near to your home that negates the need to commute long distances on public transport, would offer great opportunities for the industry.
The rise of the regions
As the practice of having more people working remotely becomes a common idea, does this mean that the people will be less inclined to commute into London or other larger cities? The panel felt that it would change the dynamics of where people work and that larger corporates would struggle to fill their city office back to capacity. Home working is fine for some, but a lot of people are longing to get back into an office environment. Post COVID-19 it might not just be working from home, it could also be working from ‘near home’.
Good offices, not bad
The panel discussed how companies will always have a need for an office. The challenge will be to ensure that the operators are providing what their clients need and making the spaces desirable to work from. Some reported approaches from corporates already thinking about spreading out their workforce and creating smaller hubs closer to their homes. Chris from Uncommon echoed this thought with his belief that the current crisis had accelerated the desire for better space directly addressing client’s needs.
As Anthony succinctly put it, we just want good offices, not bad ones.
Health and wellness become key
On the subject of health and wellness – whilst all were working diligently on cleaning and policies and adapting floorplans to allow social distancing – Seb underlined that communicating with their membership had become even more crucial. It was vitally important to make both their clients and their teams feel comfortable about coming back to work in the space. Jonny felt that operators need to raise their environmental standards and demonstrate them to clients with proper certification and Chris added that air quality was becoming a crucial factor and the current crisis has accelerated its importance. He felt that it will become a deciding factor in whether or not some companies would choose to base their teams at particular locations.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all the panelists and hosts on this honest and fascinating GCUC webinar. Thanks also to GCUC and GCUC UK for organising. If you’d like to watch the webinar you can do so here.
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