TechUK Pannel Chat – Cloud and Hybrid Working with Tom Boggis
The workplace for the future – How can the cloud support the changing needs of the digital workforce beyond covid-19.
Flexi working is here to stay and this trend has been accelerated enormously by cloud technology during the Covid-19 Pandemic:-
- Employees widely like the flexibility of WFH
- WFH does not necessarily mean less work
- Saving time and money on commuting
- Over the last 18 Months ago the big question was why do we need an office at all?
However, Covid has also highlighted the symbiotic relationship between the “old school” office and the cloud.
Not being in the office has impacted on:-
- Mental wellbeing and isolation
- Collaboration and innovation
- Training, promotion and networking
- Risk management and quality control
- Profitability, productivity and new business generation
- The letting market virtually ground to a halt in Lockdown
- Take-up rebounded in Q2 2021 but was only 34.1 % of the 5 year average
- Tech firms lead the way in taking offices space :-
IBM – 1 Southbank Place (157,000 sq.ft.)
Apple – One Bank Street (66,600 sq.ft.)
Depop – 20 Farringdon Street (33,500 sq.ft.)
- Firms with break clauses often tried to renegotiate their leases and costs.
- Many firms went “virtual”
- Most firms had lease commitments
- Inquiries for new space have been increasing over the summer
- After 18 months of low activity there is a sense of pent-up demand
But the return to the office has been slow…
The return to the office is an evolving process and businesses are at early stage of
consulting and evaluating this process.
The return also varies from business to business and sector to sector and the nature of their lease commitments.
Cloud platforms have been widely embraced –
- Virtual desktops
- Increased mobile flexibility and use of 4G and 5G networks
- Improved security, managing risk, controlling data
- Wider use of CRM data and sales and marketing platforms
- Risk Management and contingency planning
- Employee productivity monitoring
The trends in activity returning are:-
- Tenants are drawn to the best space
- Proximity to main rail termini
- Fresh air in A/C systems is key
- Emphasis on more attractive space
- Not necessarily less space but used differently – some just used on different days
- More collaboration space, free standing/movable meeting rooms/pods and furniture
- Increased use of call booths
- Improved IT in meeting rooms and acoustic treatments for team calls
- Green room for more varied and creative content
The influence on cloud in offices is:-
- Fibre back bone in situ – plug and play space
- Less CapEx on comms rooms and equipment
- Environmental savings in electricity, wasted building materials, cooling and refrigerant
- Smaller firms are drawn to space fitted out by the Landlord and this is reflected in the deal
- Shorter more flexible leases
- Ease of moving from building to building
- Cloud Technology been a central pillar in business’s ability to adapt and survive the Covid-19 Pandemic.
- We now have a real choice of how to work going forward and flexi working for a digital workforce is here to stay.
- It is however, highly nuanced and ultimately the implementation of new working practices will be about compromise-
- Some of the principal issues with returning to the office concern risk;
commuting, working excessive hours, diversity of the workforce and childcare.
- Ultimately cloud technology will certainly be a positive force in moving us towards a new way of living and working