The success of working from home will mark the end of the office, at least the way we remember it, according to interior architect Iva Durakovic, who says that remote working might become the new norm.
"We already saw this idea of a distributed workforce getting stronger, and this will only accelerate it. And for a lot of businesses with knowledge workers, I certainly think that's going to be the shift."
The Associate Lecturer at UNSW Built Environment believes that remote working arrangements will continue long after the coronavirus pandemic has passed and will also change the nature of office spaces for the better.
She says that widespread working from home is shaking up the role of the traditional workplace and highlighting what is truly valuable.
"It will break down what we need to come to a traditional workplace for, like face-to-face contact, and the way the future work environment looks. And it will be very different."
She says that working from home can be a win-win for both companies and employees.
"I think that organisational trust is being tested in a positive way and they [will] realise that we can do it. It gives us a lot more autonomy and responsibility for our work which is a good thing for productivity," she says.
"Organisations who have maybe struggled in the past with trusting [that] their employees, [even] if they're not in the building, will still get their work done, [will see] that they're accountable. That teams will manage to function and communicate effectively, even if they're not in the same room."
She says another obvious benefit is the hours saved each day on commuting.
"If we can at least reduce the number of times that we need to go into the office, if not completely, it will free up productive time that we could [use] working without having that stress of the commute, [or] that we can get back for ourselves so that we have more of a work-life balance.
"What might be a future scenario is that design firms start doing the same sort of thing with other consultancies. Or, you might even start to see firms that have long-standing clients grouping together for that centralised space and then everything else happens at home."
She says the downscaling of the workspace will have significant implications on the commercial real estate industry.
"Large corporations and Companies – they're never going to let go of an office or headquarters completely – but they will need less space, and commercial real estate will need to be more flexible with that.
“We have already seen seismic shifts towards Space as a Service (SPaaS) models as a result of the gig economy with increased demands for lease flexibility and better alignment between workspace and contemporary ways of working."
"They're now going to have to get even more creative with how they can multi-purpose certain areas of buildings, be more flexible in the leasing terms and costs to make that work for them financially."