10 September, 2020
Six months has gone by since lockdown began. We are enjoying spending time together in the office again in an appropriately socially distanced way, and reflecting on what has been learned from working away from the office.
Whilst there are certain perks that come with remote working, innovation could suffer in the long-term if we opt out of offices and cities entirely. When people are physically disparate, we lose the ability to ‘cluster’, which is often cited as a reason for higher levels of creativity and innovation in big cities.
With original projections of the impact of COVID suggesting mass exoduses from major cities, and most people preferring remote working, we think it’s worth pausing for thought around whether it’s the right thing for businesses to thrive indefinitely. At GB, we are finding that being back in the office from time to time is important for us to connect as a team and enables us to have the spontaneous conversations that lead to creativity. So, whilst remote working has its pros, so does physically being together.
The answer, of course, lies in balance. We’ve certainly seen the benefits of a more flexible work-life and how different types of work can be tackled more effectively in different working environments. Sometimes, we need to tune-out of those spontaneous office conversations for some serious focus time. And the variety that flexible working can enable, through access to different environments and sources of inspiration during the day, could also be a source of creativity – it’s not the preserve of office environments alone.
So, whilst we don’t want to lose the flexibility we’ve gained, we also don’t want to move away from each other completely – sometimes it’s good to be together, IRL.
By Cara McEvoy