One of the country’s largest Build To Rent players says the government should incentivise working from home and the use of ‘local offices’.
Legal & General has funded a survey by think tank Demos which shows 65 per cent of the working population were forced to change their place of work during 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
Of these, 79 per cent want to continue to have some form of remote working in future.
However the findings - taken from a poll of 20,000 adults - indicate that a desire to work remotely is not necessarily the same as wanting to work from home all of the time.
Relatively high levels of support were recorded for ‘local desk space’. This was particularly among younger people, with one fifth of those in their 20s rating it a top priority for employment premises in their locality.
When asked how people were intending to spend their money once the restrictions were over, the research found that 36 per cent of people plan to spend more locally than before the pandemic. Among people required to work from home, this rose to 47 per cent.
The report suggests there is an opportunity for government and business to support more hybrid working and flexible local desk space, to give people flexibility and also make progress on the 'levelling up' agenda, by spreading spending power across a wider geographic area.
L&G claims that historically, investment in landmark regional offices has been shown to drive major regeneration and economic growth; supporting job creation, increases in daytime footfall and driving spending towards local high streets.
Demos and Legal & General are encouraging government to provide local office space for their workers, particularly in areas with lower economic activity.
They are also calling for the government to urgently consult on fulfilling its stated intention of making all jobs flexible by default, with location-flexibility included; and to convert some local civic buildings to remote working spaces, which could be used by any civil servant in order to help spread spending power out across the country.
Legal & General chief executive Nigel Wilson says: “Covid-19 has driven major change to people’s lives and global economies. Our ideas around what we need from our homes, workplace, and communities have been challenged. Twenty five per cent of our workforce were already ‘agile’ before Covid-19 and the trend toward flexibility has accelerated. Remote working remains popular with some and is driving a desire to spend more time and money locally.
“But people also miss the buzz and collaboration opportunities of the office, which support their personal wellbeing and development, and ability to drive ideas and innovation. We now need to be creative in how we think about the future of the workplace. Not all homes are conducive to a good working environment and not everyone is able to work from home.
“As we ready ourselves for the post-pandemic world, bringing forward more flexible office and innovation spaces, in locations near to people’s homes, could be an important hybrid solution, complementing the return to office. Government and business now need to work together to incentivise the creation of the next evolution of workspace that drives up productivity, whilst helping to push spending power out across the country, driving forward regeneration and levelling up.”
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