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By Venture Briks

Work from home to Walk from home: The shift in the office dynamics

July 13, 2020

As the world is adapting to the new normal, there are a lot of significant changes that have transformed the work dynamics. The world was forced to shut down due to Covid-19 and companies were asked to operate from home. These three to four months of working from home elevated the concept of remote working that was introduced a decade ago.

As the trend is here to stay, it is not going to be a permanent solution for many professionals. Having a dedicated space to meet the professional needs and have a discussion with clients is crucial, and companies are now looking for ways that incorporate both – Space and employees maintaining social distancing and other statutory guidelines.

Many commercial spaces have been vacant ever since the lockdown happened. Some large scale companies are also looking forward to this new working model and have announced to continue working remotely till a permanent solution to this ongoing crisis appears. Bu this can not divert the fact that such organizations will not remain deprived of spaces for too long. In fact, they are now looking for spaces that can be ideal for a safe working environment.

The need for de-densification and maintaining stringent safety protocols have led to the invention of another trend of “walk from home”. The concept revolves around developing working spaces near the homes. This will improve productivity and ensure the safety of the employees as they won’t have to commute for long hours interacting with unknown people in public transport.

The concept was discovered out of the needs of certain professions that can not adapt work from home, such as banking. We have seen bankers moving out of their houses to work every day in such times of crisis. To ensure the safety of the professionals working in essential services, satellite offices are found to be beneficial.

During the lockdown, HDFC Bank adopted the “walk to work” to ensure that employees don’t have to travel for long distances to reach to office. This ensured the safety of the workers by reducing their travel time and costs.

Apart from the safety aspect, the “walk to work” concept also encouraged employees to adapt to the new normal with ease. Work from home ensured that people remain safe and sound but this surely led people to miss the social interactions. “Walk to work” solved this problem.

Corporates are now adjusting to the new norms for the post-COVID era. Many of the companies are looking forward to accommodating 60% of employees in the workspace while 40% can continue working from home. For that 60 %, corporates are looking for spaces that will adjust to the new routines. In metro cities like Mumbai and Delhi, where commuting for long-distance is a daily routine, it is impossible to practice social distancing while commuting in crowded metros and buses. For such instances, the satellite office model is an ideal solution.

The current crisis has also led to a shift in the consumers’ demand who are now looking at bigger residential spaces to accommodate their work from home priorities. The transition has been noticed by developers who are already designing such spaces along with offices inside the township premises or within walking distance.

Many builders in Mumbai and Bengaluru are even ready with such integrated townships. These townships offer cost-effective solutions with a high quality of life. Such projects are likely to gain attention by the occupiers as people are now more aware of the safe surroundings.

The concept of “work near home” will also ensure the mental well-being of the employees. Walking will enhance and promote creativity and civic engagement.

This will lead commercial spaces to de-densify, and the social distancing norms will be justified by increasing the number for satellite offices.