Have we anticipated the death of the office too soon?
As far as workspaces go, we might tend to think of construction sites and offices as chalk and cheese. But their future effects on modern ways of working are perhaps more important to each other than we might think. A productive construction industry has boosted office building projects for 2022 – and in the process, may have secured the long-term function of offices in modern working culture.
Despite a dip in the number of office-builds over the last three years – the number of new office builds in the 6 months to March is a third lower than the previous winter – the summer ahead is looking to give the construction industry a huge boost, with predictions for office builds climbing. 250,000 square metres of planned office buildings are in the demolition phase, and scheduled to start by September of this year. And this is good news for the construction industry.
One of the overriding narratives which surfaced during the Covid-19 pandemic was that the office would become a thing of the past. That remote working would become the dominant culture of employment, and that office spaces would become an outdated, impractical, unnecessary distraction. Little did we know that the respective futures of both the office and the construction industry would become integral to one another.
Not only does the office remain an integral part of modern working culture, but a significant amount of employers, employees, and investors consider improvements to offices to be responsible for making recruitment and working life easier and more appealing. A study by ISG showed that seven in ten businesses “experienced an increase in productivity following workplace investment”, suggesting that predictions of the office’s demise have been “misplaced”.
This isn’t to say that the function of the office won’t change – it will, and it has. But as our relationship with the office has changed from being a permanent fixture of work throughout the week, to becoming a more flexible, part-time space for more effective work, our perception of what makes offices useful has also changed. According to a survey of over 1,300 employers, employees and investors, recruitment has actually improved as investment in offices has grown. The survey said that over half of those employees who answered “did not want to work remotely on a permanent basis”. Perhaps, then, rather than killing the office, the pandemic has in fact ensured its future survival.
Investing in offices will bring great rewards for the construction industry, and so this rediscovered appreciation for the place of the office in our working culture is a big thumbs up for productivity levels in the coming year. The pandemic, despite all its challenges and setbacks, might have given the construction industry this added boost in demand and projects in this unexpected expansion of office space.
This development follows an unprecedented rise in council house building, mostly in the London area. The highest volume of new council homes in 40 years is currently underway, with 5,000 new homes built between April 2021-22, according to the Greater London Authority.
Does this not look like an industry which is thriving, back on its feet, and ready to go after the setback of the last two years? It might offer a symbol of inspiration to those of you who are similarly trying to get back on your feet and feel fulfilled in your work. If you’re even considering the possibility of retraining in construction, and escaping your current mode of employment, then now is the time to take advantage of an increasing high demand for construction workers – not only in the capital, but spread equally across the country.
No matter where you are based, we have training centres which can serve your needs, get you trained and qualified, and out working on site before you know it. Offices might be on the rise again, but that doesn’t mean you want to be stuck in one yourself.
Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.