Where will we be working in the Central South?
BDO partner, David I’Anson
takes a closer look at our most recent Rethinking the Economy
research. In a week in which we’ve learned about a delay to the UK’s lockdown roadmap, mid-sized businesses were already making long-term plans to change the way they work.
More than a third of Central South businesses (37%) plan to create permanent remote roles, as companies make a major shift towards new ways of working. What’s more, one in five regional businesses plan to invest in technology to support more people working remotely in the next six months, according to our latest Rethinking the Economy survey. As organisations look towards more agile ways of working, David I’Anson considers which changes will remain as the region’s economy recovers from the pandemic.
Building an agile workforce for the future
UK searches for agile working reached an all-time high in March this year according to Google Trends. In our own business, we’ve set out plans to encourage teams to work from where they will be most productive depending on the task they are working on and the best option to support our clients. Once we are able to reopen offices, we’ll continue to encourage this flexibility. Mid-sized businesses in the Central South region are clearly embracing agile ways of working for the long-term too with nearly half (47%) also intending to adapt their office space to allow for different types of working.
Nearly a third of respondents (30%) shared that they expect the majority of staff to work from home for at least two days a week even when offices reopen. As such, businesses are continuing to invest in the technology and infrastructure that will allow this for the long-term. Having the right IT infrastructure in place is crucial to supporting your teams’ productivity and building resilience.
Changing the focus from office space to place
Beyond the work-life blend, business leaders in our region also feel remote working will be the biggest driver in boosting economic recovery which will help to support the Government’s levelling up agenda. According to our survey, 50% of Central South respondents feel that the region will benefit from workers spending more money locally in towns, suburbs and rural economies, rather than commuting into city centres.
That said, some city centre office markets are still faring well with data last month showing CBRE’s latest office research showed office take up across Southampton was the highest in over 10 years for the first quarter of the year. Take up in the city was the strongest Q1 on record and an increase of 100% on the ten-year Q1 average.
We are also seeing places rethink the way they will attract people into our cities to enjoy the cultural, hospitality and leisure offering. From food and drink pop-ups, open air venues to Southampton’s bid for the UK City of Culture 2025, we are seeing bold reinvention from the businesses and leaders here.
If agility is the ability to move quickly and easily, this will continue to be key to the DNA of the region as we rebuild for the future. For now, it’s hugely encouraging to see such ambition and positivity across the region as we collectively create a great place to live and work.
There are a range of tax, finance and compliance factors to consider when employees are working from home. If you have any questions or for further information, talk to our team today.