How Office to Rent in Brentford Will Evolve Post-Pandemic?

With the vaccine rollout well underway, it is looking promising for a return to the office by the end of 2021. Though, as previously explored in last month’s insight article, it’s likely that the office of the future will look differently to the traditional headquarters in the city centre. It’s not just geography that is set to change in 2021 either: in this article, we look at a range of ways in which the office of the future could be different, from new etiquette rules to the technology we use. We also look at why, for those looking for an office to rent, Brentford could be the best post-pandemic option.

The Evolution of the Office

Those concerned about the rumoured ‘death of the office’ need not be. Figures suggest a return to the workplace is welcomed by both employees and employers, with three quarters of respondents in a recent survey by JLL affirming this preference. Last month, property agent Colliers International reported a 13% growth in average monthly lettings figures since the pandemic started, with 420,000 square feet of central London office space signed for in this period.

Guy Grantham, director of research and forecasting at Colliers International, said: “Over 70% of transactional activity was for Grade A quality space… this reinforces expectations of a ‘flight to quality’, as occupiers seek to secure and create the best and safest environments for their staff, once a full return to work is possible.”

So it is rather an evolution of the office that we will see in the coming months, as opposed to it being abandoned altogether. Organisations may look to trim back some office space, but for the most part will retain a quality, fit-for-purpose workplace to suit the new way of working post-pandemic.

The global working from home experiment forced upon us by Coronavirus has brought to the fore some of the issues found in the traditional model, giving the employee a greater voice in what they want from their working life. As a result, hybrid working is an emerging trend among the workforce. The office of the future will need to cater to those working remotely as well as those commuting in on a flexible basis, and be equipped with the tools to do so.

Large, open plan collaborative working places are likely to be common in future, with dedicated areas for the kind of ‘deep work’ -focussed activities like researching and reading- made possible by the home office. Video conferencing technology will also prevent crowding into meeting rooms to stay within social distancing guidelines and keep home workers in the loop.

The Suburban Office

Whilst there’s growth in the capital at present, one of the trends emerging as a result of the pandemic compelling us to rethink the organisation of work is the ‘hub and spoke’ model. Decentralisation away from city centres favouring numerous, smaller ‘satellite’ offices, is increasingly popular, particularly after almost a year of virtual working has meant a break from the long commutes many traditionally faced. In the ‘hub and spoke’ model, locations like Brentford that are out of the centre, yet well-connected and accessible places to live, become a great place to attract and retain staff.

According to Alastair Carmichael, investment director at HB Titan speaking in Property Week, “the role of the office post-Covid will be to anchor an expanded, complementary network of working spaces that exploit the advantages of the suburban and commuter-belt markets while continuing to provide the services that make central offices popular.”

HR for Hybrid Working

With the workforce becoming more flexible in the hybrid format of the future, companies will need to adapt the way staffing is organised. A new title is even emerging in some larger companies: the ‘Director of Remote Working’, dedicated to managing the balance of in-person and virtual presence between employees.

In fact, the future workplace will need to treat employees more individually, as people with differing home set-ups and requirements for working life. Therefore, the onus will be on middle managers to effectively coordinate their team members, to carefully curate a culture of trust through fostering a supportive atmosphere, whether staff are at home a few days a week or in the office full time.

By ensuring career development conversations can continue remotely, by still offering high-quality learning and development opportunities, and by avoiding division between home workers and those commuting into the office, employers will get the most out of their people.

Office Etiquette Out of the Window

So, when lockdown is over, and it’s safe to re-enter the workplace, what else will be different? For one, we will have to maintain physical distance from our colleagues. The formal handshake is out, replaced by an elbow bump or simple smile – that is, if we’re not recommended to still wear masks by then, of course.

In communal spaces like the break room, staff will need to avoid sharing food, so the weekly offerings of home-made birthday cake are not advisable for now. The way we navigate the physical space will change too, walking in corridors may even be governed by a one-way system, where staff are asked to walk on the left and minimise contact made by bumping into other people.

Open plan, well-ventilated spaces may be divided into individual working spaces by plexiglass shields, to stop the spread of infection. Meeting rooms will be used less frequently to avoid crowding and maintain adherence to social distancing. In place of the previous office rules, we will need to develop etiquette for the virtual tools used. For instance, agreeing which communication channels to use and how often, whether to all have cameras on or off, and being disciplined in doing so to ensure teams remain united despite the distance.

Office to Rent Brentford: The Mille is the right choice

For an office of the future in Greater London, you can look no further than The Mille. The locale is ideal for transport, with Waterloo just 30 minutes away by train and Heathrow Airport only 15 minutes by car. The Mille absolutely represents the ‘flight-to-quality’ discussed in this insight, with a building full of amenities such as a gym, café, and TREND controlled air conditioning so you can be sure the space is safe for the post-pandemic return to the office.

To learn more about sourcing your future-proof office to rent in Brentford, why not get in touch with one of our sole agents and arrange a viewing at The Mille?