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Is The End Of Office Work Coming?

For more than six months in the year 2020 that is coming to an end, millions of people have been working from home.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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Some companies, including Twitter, have told employees that they are definitely going to continue working remotely. But there is also an effort to show that offices can be reopened safely, led primarily by the people who rent them.

The changes are mainly divided into two groups: the first, which focuses on the air and the ventilation system. Since fresh air is even safer, patios have been reorganized as comfort zones. The second category of change is: surfaces and the idea here is that you won't touch almost any of them.

Some governments around the world, like Britain, are encouraging people to go back to the office. Still, unlike schools where almost everyone agrees with the desired outcome, offices are more difficult.

Telecommuting has largely been a success, and companies and employees are enjoying a new freedom and flexibility. They are in no rush to make changes, in fact, not as long as COVID-19 risks persist, raising serious concerns about the health of cities.

This is the case in London, whose business center looks like a ghost town. Governments seek a balance between working from home and the best of office work.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, managing director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), told the BBC: "Unless we start that conversation about the value of the office, the importance it plays in our productivity, our work lives and in the ecosystem of our city centers, we could sleepwalk until our offices close."

According to the source, workers are more concerned about the risks of COVID-19 and above all, they are concerned about public transportation. It seems that no matter how much the government builds confidence, explains the risks, or relaxes restrictions, the pandemic has supercharged a change that was already happening. The shift to a different way of working was already underway.

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When companies make these changes on a permanent basis globally, would the government's attention be better directed to helping cities manage the transition?

The CBI Director warns: "There will be real adjustments in terms of how city centers work, but we don't want to cause a collapse in city centers, which is what is happening now. It has been very abrupt. generate that kind of adjustment, let's do it in a thoughtful way but that recognizes the real value of the offices."

This is a double challenge for the government. How can you safely calm the nerves of COVID-19 and encourage more people to return to the office in the short term while accepting that it may not be possible or desirable to return to the old normal and that in itself will create new problems?

On the other hand, people have worked productively at home. Still, this depends on each person and their ability to focus on their work and domestic situations. However, workers must also experience camaraderie and contact with others. Jobs can be arranged differently so that people can spend some time at home and sometimes go to local hubs to work alongside other people in their areas.

"There is no point in forcing people to go back to work when they know they are at risk," concludes Professor Susan Michie, Director of the Center for Behavior Change at University College London.

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