How remote work is changing the landscape of cities
Will we ever see a return to traditonal working?
The last two years have accelerated the movement towards remote working, making it a primary model of work for many. This, in turn, is having an impact on cities all over the world. Where there was once a buzz of employees come morning and evening, now there is quiet and calm. However, it’s not just the atmosphere in cities that’s changed, but the landscape of them as well.
CHANGING WORKING PRACTICES & EXPECTATIONS
The pandemic has changed our working practices for good. What was initially a means for companies to stay afloat, is now the norm for a huge proportion of the global population. Remote and flexible working is one of the primary modes of work nowadays, and the option to work remotely is something that many will expect to be offered in a role.
This more flexible approach to working has appeal not only for employees, but also for companies. The pandemic proved that productivity does not need to fall simply because staff are not in the office – in fact, many companies were able to thrive with the impromptu remote working set-up that was thrust upon them.
REDUCED IN-CITY NEED FOR OFFICES
With less full-time office work being carried out, there is simply less need for offices in cities. Where previously a company would have needed to house tens to hundreds of members of staff, now only a fraction of this space is required. Thus, large-scale office blocks that have historically lined city streets are becoming less popular for their original purpose, and are instead being transformed to support the new industry demands.
Due to this drop in demand for in-city offices, it’s interesting to consider what the landscape of cities will look like in another few decades. There may be a greater volume of co-working spaces, open to individuals and companies alike. Studios and creative spaces may be present in larger numbers, where corporate conference suites once stood. Or, there may be something else entirely.
INCREASED FOCUS ON RECREATION & ENTERTAINMENT
The opportunity to have fewer offices within city centers opens up the possibilities for expanding upon existing recreation spaces, to create more lifestyle-focused venues for individuals and families alike.
Industrial estates and blocks could transform into arenas for entertainment, with cinemas and arcades, restaurants and bars. Skyscraper office blocks that have become disused could morph into multi-story shopping centers, with space for numerous brands to make the most of.
The possibilities are endless, and it’s exciting to think about how the recreation sector could blossom due to the new professional landscape.
POTENTIAL FOR REDUCED RESIDENTS
It’s a distinct possibility that populations in larger cities will drop following the shift towards a more flexible working set-up. With less time in the office, and consequently less need to be in a city five days of the week thanks to remote working allowing employees to clock in from anywhere, citizens are increasingly stepping away from big city life in favor of the suburbs or more rural areas.
As well, you typically get more for your money the further from a city’s center that you get. For many, living a quieter life with a smaller price tag is too good an opportunity to pass up, and they’re opting for this lifestyle instead.
Now that life has returned to a level of normality that resembles closely what was experienced prior to the pandemic, it’s clear that remote working is not going anywhere. As such, cities are likely to be changed for good. How much a city adjusts to the new set-up of reduced office hours will depend on the city itself, and only time will tell of the precise outcome.
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