The Hybrid Workplace: The future of office space & server rooms.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of stay-at-home orders in March 2020, many office workers have been working remotely. However, as COVID-19 restrictions have eased over the past year, many employers and workers have found numerous advantages to remote work, leading to an interest in making it a permanent feature of employment. This trend, known as the hybrid workplace, could potentially change the office work landscape forever.
Employers are embracing hybrid working for two primary reasons. Firstly, it is most popular with employees, as seen by Aviva’s plan to close two out-of-town offices near Norwich and invest in the remaining central Norwich office in response to positive feedback from employees. Similarly, Lloyd’s banking group plans to reduce its office space by 20% over two years after nearly 80% of employees expressed a desire to work from home for at least three days a week. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter have also announced plans to allow permanent remote work for staff. Secondly, businesses are instituting remote work to reduce costs, achieved by reducing their physical footprint and reviewing long-term lease commitments.
Micro Data Centres for Home Offices
The capacity of technology available for remote working has enabled the hybrid workplace trend, facilitated by sophisticated document sharing and video software that allows individuals to work remotely while remaining connected to their team. However, businesses will still require server cabinets or micro data centres for home offices for mission-critical data storage and processing. As a result, communal areas such as kitchens and breakout rooms in reconfigured office spaces could see the appearance of micro data centres, as the server room may disappear due to smaller or reduced office footprints.
As businesses prepare for the future, accommodating the hybrid workplace has become a priority in 2021. While it is challenging to predict the future of office work, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rethinking of space and limited resources, resulting in a positive reassessment of the best environment for employees to be productive and maintain a work-life balance. Additionally, this rethink could significantly reduce the carbon footprints of many businesses, reinforcing a commitment to Net Zero 2050, while improving the mental health of office workers in the UK.