Article by Ken McInnes, Office Agency Partner at Ryden
All of us have been adjusting to a new life under lockdown. At the start, back in March, it was almost exciting. A sense of newfound freedom, working from home, endless sunshine and plenty of time with loved ones. Daily family walks fast became part of the daily routine.
Fast forward ten weeks, and speaking personally, I now find myself well and truly into a new chapter.
The ongoing danger of the pandemic means we are quite rightly being guided by the government to be cautious, and we all share a profound sense of loss for those who have succumbed to this horrible virus.
Working from home has perhaps lost its initial appeal for many now. I speak to more and more folks who now have a daily urge to move on from full-time home working, to get into the city centre to meet colleagues, to sit at their desk, to meet folks for a coffee, to interact in person rather than by ZOOM or get together with their teams socially.
I think the recent articles written about the death of the office are way wide off the mark. Whilst there is no doubt a new expectation and demand for flexible working for many excellent reasons, in my view there will always be a demand for a central workplace, allowing us to interact with colleagues, clients and customers. And I suspect ten weeks plus of lockdown over the dark, cold winter months may have left many of us with a very different perspective on the merits of homeworking.
Nonetheless, there could be a very positive legacy of this terrible pandemic. Namely the potential for a new army of workers to see their commute as the perfect time to enjoy daily exercise.
I have been commuting to work by bike or running for years. For me, it is undoubtedly the best part of my day - a chance to destress and burn calories rather than sitting in a car, train or bus.
As we've seen recently on the news, the UK's bicycle industry has experienced a significant increase in the use and sale of bikes during the coronavirus lockdown. National and local retailers have seen a rise in orders, both for leisure and commute.
I've experienced this first hand. My local bike shop had to shut last week, overrun with requests to purchase new bikes and repair existing ones, which is phenomenal!
I genuinely hope and believe that when COVID19 becomes a nightmare from the past and we return to the workplace (in whatever format that is), thousands more will do so by bike, run or walk. We would see health and wellbeing benefits, happier and healthier people and, of course, crucial and significant environmental benefits.
Workplaces are already adapting by providing excellent changing facilities, and this trend will be turbocharged. Cities will need to focus on improved cycle lanes; traffic will be less, and the streets should be safer.
Here's to a healthier future for us all!
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