I enjoyed your briefing on the future of the office [''What a way to make a living''.]

Running the world's largest provider of flexible workspace, I have seen many of the radical shifts in working behavior that you explored.

The debate should focus less on working from home versus the office, and more on the shift to hybrid working, which was already taking place before the pandemic struck.

People have enjoyed working from home and the relative luxury of not having to commute.

At the same time, companies still need offices that employees can drop in to for social interaction, meetings and business reviews.

It is also fair to say that very few people have the discipline to work from home all of the time. And we have seen the rise of  ''Zoom fatigue''. Video conferencing can be more draining than in person interactions, voice tone and pitch and body language.

What employees need in a hybrid workplace, where they can split their working time between home, a local office and their company's headquarters. As a result, more companies will have distributed workforces.

The pandemic won't lead to the demise of the city-centre office, as companies still need somewhere that characterizes corporate identity and a place that allows people to congregate, but it will mean greater  economic opportunities in smaller towns, where local businesses can grow supported by increasing numbers of home workers.

The hybrid office rather than the ''optional office'' is the future.

[The Economist : Mark Dixon, Chief executive, IWG, ZUG Switzerland]


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