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Did Covid make offices redundant?

The role of the office in corporate cultures

Digital Transformation brought about the end of the High Street. Did Covid make offices redundant? What about corporate cultures?

Did Covid make offices redundant?

The 4th Industrial Revolution – did it spell the end of the High Street?

Before the turn of the Century, the idea that a family could buy whatever they wanted without leaving their home may have seemed far fetched. Along came Digital Transformation to inspire the 4th Industrial Revolution, and now that’s our reality. For some retailers, this was an opportunity. For others, a threat which warranted a greater level of concern than it got until it was too late. Read more about golf betting sites. Does anyone remember video shops, or is the concept of having to choose a film based on what’s in stock, and hope that the previous customer had rewound the tape just a little weird now?

The 2nd Commercial Revolution – is this the beginning of the end for the office?

Has Covid brought about a Commercial Revolution by rendering the office redundant? When we’ve seen that a workforce which has to work remotely can do so, do we have both a philosophical and economic question about the purpose and value of an office? It’s not just the financials though. Can we still justify lengthy daily commutes?

Might this indicate a seismic shift in Corporate Cultures?

Once upon a time, an organisation had a leader at the top who relied on fear. The culture might have been described as unstable, chaotic and perhaps even like a war zone, with survival as the aim and an absence of strategy or planning. For some organisations, this is still the case. Next came conformism, with a tribal mindset and a drive for stability and predictability. A fixed place of work served a crucial purpose, with people being seen as dispensable workers with a perceived need for direction from the hierarchy.

Over time, with empowerment and the introduction of cross-functional working such as Project Groups, meritocracies became more prevalent and the preference for rationality over emotion could give the illusion of soulless cultures, whilst politics were at play by individuals jostling for position. At this stage, an office still serves a useful role. Those striving for personal success could more efficiently tap into the capacity of the workers in offices than they could if everyone was remote.

As leaders and managers became comfortable to relinquish control in favour of trust, their roles changed from troubleshooters to servant leaders, able to empower their people to create happy customers. A shared purpose and vision are key enablers for the trust and empowerment that makes this culture work, and by now the role of an office is less obvious. A space for collaboration, sure. An essential base for the whole team to work from, no.

Organisations were at different stages of this evolution when we were all stunned by the emergence of a new virus, and a global pandemic. Life as we knew it stopped. For the last year, organisations have found new ways of working, mostly outside of offices.

Redundant beliefs?

Along with values, beliefs are an important part of culture. What happens when the evidence shows that beliefs aren’t valid?

  • Do people need to work in a particular location to be effective?
  • What about working hours? Are start time, finish time and hours worked as important as the quality and quantity of outputs?
  • What’s the correlation between empowerment and results?
  • Are offices a place of work?
  • If not, what are they?
  • What does this mean for corporate culture?

So, did Covid make offices redundant?

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Posted on 16/03/2021 in General