Is this the end of the Big Office in the UK?

Market News

Monday January 11, 2021

Don Robertson

2020 has certainly been a year to remember, with businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, having to adapt to a new way of working. No one could have predicted the profound affect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on all aspects of our working lives and the economy, with businesses forced to shut their doors completely, adhere to Covid-19 restrictions, or adapt to working from home. Although some businesses have thrived during the pandemic, many have struggled which has resulted in soaring redundancy numbers as a direct result of the virus.

Since March 2020, businesses have continued to respond to the Government’s instructions, which has mainly focused on advising those who can work from home to do so. But how has this impacted big offices and, when life eventually returns to normal, will there be any desks to go back to?

The impact working from home has had on big office environments

In order to control the virus, the Government made it clear that those businesses that can allow their employees to work from home, should do so. Many employees and employers have adapted well to this new way of working, with little impact on productivity.

As a result, many are now questioning the need for office space altogether, especially as it looks like it could be some time until people can work side by side again. The high costs associated with running an office is also being taken into account and simply not feasible for many businesses at the moment.

As a result, many big companies are now considering whether having an office is a necessary expense.

Will the UK’s workforce return to the office?

At the moment, many businesses are seriously considering working from home permanently, rather than returning to an office environment. This is mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding the virus and the fact that many businesses simply do not have the cash reserves available to cover rent and overheads when national and local lockdowns are lifted.

Not only this but, having been forced to work from home, many companies have realised that it does, in fact, work for them. The past 9 months have shown that it is not only possible, but also successful.

Research has also indicated that only 34% of the UK’s workforce are actually comfortable with the thought of returning back to the office.


Working from home offers a whole host of benefits for both employers and employees, with an incredible amount of flexibility and a better work life balance being some of the reasons why people are reluctant to go back to the office.

On the other hand, many employees do want to return to work for their mental wellbeing, having struggled with the lack of contact with colleagues, a lack of routine and reduced communication. Many simply do not have the space to accommodate a home office.

Tension building

With opinions split when it comes to deciding whether to go back to the office post Covid, tensions are building between management and employees. For example, many managers are keen to get their staff back into the office for management purposes, believing that you can’t replace face-to-face management or the levels of productivity that come with working in an office environment.

This is despite technology companies providing the equipment and software that employees need to do their jobs well at home. In fact, there is now a huge demand for technically skilled Developers, Engineers, Solutions Consultants, as well as staff that are skilled in SW Licensing, Collaboration solutions and Mobile Solutions.

So, what’s the answer?

The answer is, there isn’t an answer at the moment. It’s far too early to determine whether working from home is a temporary solution to prevent the spread of Covid-19 or if it will become a permanent approach for businesses.

What we do know is, data has revealed that 90% of employees don’t want to return to the office on a fulltime basis and further 47% would prefer to WFH on a fulltime basis going forward. 

The challenge

The challenge and the opportunity for technology suppliers is to build propositions and solutions that cater for office or home-based teams where collaboration and mental wellbeing are as important as productivity and accountability. These are not mutually exclusive.

This in turn means that aforementioned technically skilled staff are now in high demand. Finding, attracting, and hiring these individuals is a challenge for clients and service suppliers in Tech Sector but one that Comoro is well equipped to support our clients.

About Comoro

Comoro is a specialist search agency sourcing high quality sales, marketing, technical and business operational roles across the UK, Europe and North America for telecom, technology and IT companies.

We draw on our first-hand industry knowledge and experience to match the technical and soft skill needs of both our clients and candidates. Our mission is to be your trusted recruitment partner.

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