Last edited 29 Jul 2021

Post pandemic places report



[edit] Introduction

Post Pandemic Places was commissioned by Legal & General and published in March 2021. It reveals that pandemic-based home working, coupled with a desire for continued flexibility, could increase the number of people spending money in their communities and buying local. As a result of these findings, the Government is being encouraged to invest in the establishment of more local offices and hybrid-working initiatives.

[edit] Report findings

Conducted by the think tank Demos, the report found that 65% of the working population were forced to change their place of work during 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Of these, 79% want to continue to have some form of remote working in the future. However, the findings - taken from a large, nationally representative poll of 20,000 adults - indicate that a desire to work remotely is not necessarily the same as wanting to work from home all of the time.

Relatively high levels of support were recorded for ‘local desk space’, particularly among younger people, with one fifth of those in their 20s rating it as their top priority for employment premises in their locality. When asked how people were intending to spend their money once the pandemic restrictions were over, 36% plan to spend more locally than they did before the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Amongst those people required to work from home, this percentage rose to 47%.

The report suggests there is an opportunity for the Government and businesses to support more hybrid working and flexible local desk space, to give people the options they prefer and to progress the 'levelling up' agenda. It is also thought the move could help to spread spending power across a wider geographic area.

[edit] Farewell to corporate headquarters?

Historically, investment in landmark regional offices has been shown to drive regeneration and economic growth. This supports job creation, increases in daytime footfall and drives spending towards local high streets.

This has been demonstrated through HMRC’s Government Hubs programme, which has seen the establishment of 11 regional offices across the UK. In Cardiff, for example, the ‘Central Square’ Hub played a role in the city centre’s transformation, supporting an estimated increase in economic wealth of £1.1bn over 10 years.

Based on this model, remote working can help serve as a community regeneration tool. This could be supported by introducing employee tax incentives, such as ‘remote working vouchers’, similar to the childcare voucher scheme.

[edit] Making flex-work permanent

Throughout the pandemic, people changed the location they work, and those people have built a new relationship with their local area that is expected to remain even after pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

The Government has stated that it intends to make all jobs flexible by default. This move could be supported by the conversion of some local civic buildings to remote working spaces, which could be used by any civil servant.

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[edit] External resources

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