Since the restrictions to combat COVID-19 began to be eased, many companies, which had adopted teleworking to continue their activity during the worst of the pandemic, have decided to return to traditional face-to-face work. Large companies such as Snap or Twitter modified their remote work policy, and recently Kastle Systems, a security company, reported that more than half of the workers registered in its system were coming to the office, a figure that had not been seen since that the pandemic started.
However, teleworking does not seem to be going away. Some companies are strengthening their remote work policy, such as Atlassian, an Australian multinational specialized in software development, or Rent a Recruiter, an Irish SME that has also adopted a four-day work week to improve its competitiveness. In this sense, teleworking poses a series of challenges in certain areas, such as real estate.
Housing to telework. In an article published by Talk Business & Politics on February 5, Jessica Hester, CEO and principal architect of Verdant Studio, acknowledged that the company was designing multi-family homes in the city of Rogers, located in the US state of Arkansas, to be occupied by workers in full or hybrid teleworking regime.
Architecture based on ‘Zoom’. Hester said they are designing workspaces in homes in ways they weren’t before the pandemic. In addition, he pointed out that this type of professional seeks space for computers, files and documents. They also attach importance to what can be seen in the event of having telematic meetings: “Three years ago we would not have thought about what is seen in a Zoom call,” she said.
In this sense, Hester underlines the importance of offering homes with spacious and well-lit desks, elements that have become a priority for remote workers.
Adapt the space. It is, in short, a different way of conceiving housing, since teleworkers spend more hours at home: “The time that people use to use these spaces has gone from five in the afternoon to ten at night, to six from the morning to ten at night,” he said. Therefore, you have to optimize the spaces, as well as correctly design and select the interiors and furniture. The architect pointed out that this type of approach is necessary in architecture since teleworking is here to stay.
There is a trend. It is a reflection shared by Bo Diamond, architect, co-founder and one of the managers of the investment company Caisson Capital Partners. In conversation with Talk Business & Politics, Diamond pointed out that it will be necessary to invest in housing designed to meet the needs of telecommuters: “Even if we see a weakening economy and a recession in 2023, the pandemic served as a turning point in that sense,” he said. In his opinion, in five years this type of housing will be “almost necessary.”
The implications of not going to the office. On the other hand, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a report on teleworking on June 2: “The time that people use to use these spaces has gone from five in the afternoon to ten at night, to six in the morning to ten at night,” he said. Therefore, you have to optimize the spaces, as well as correctly design and select the interiors and furniture. The architect pointed out that this type of approach is necessary in architecture since teleworking is here to stay.
Another consequence: the donut effect. One of those implications in the housing market, for example, is what a report by the US Department of Economic Research called the donut effect. It is the phenomenon by which the demand for certain goods and services moves from the centers of large cities to areas with less population density, located on the periphery of those same large cities.
Digital nomadism and rising prices. On the other hand, teleworkers can also contribute to an increase in housing prices, as has happened in Lisbon, one of the favorite destinations for digital nomads, as recognized by the President of Portugal in November 2022.
Not all telework. This is because, as a study published by the London School of Economics and Political Sciences in December 2022 pointed out, teleworking is generally more linked to a “metropolitan elite” working for large companies located in major urban centers. and, therefore, have a higher socioeconomic level than other wage earners.
Imagen: Unsplash / Kristin Wilson