With Covid edging closer to endemic status and a spring season ahead where the Government looks set to ease restrictions even further, the great return to work can begin in earnest. The Prime Minister has called upon Whitehall to lead by example, recalling civil servants from their home working positions.
At the same time, a report called The State of the Estate (published by the Government Property Agency) does sit at odds with Mr Johnson’s call to action. The document revealed that the Whitehall Campus will only have enough space for around half of the staff actually based there by 2030.
The move to reduce desks and meeting rooms by around 50% is part of Whitehall’s dual drive to decentralise where civil servants work – with the intention that they spend more time away from London to work in regional offices – and also to cut the running costs of its estate.
While Whitehall’s blueprint has caused ructions among senior Torys, with former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith claiming the workspace reduction was “another bonkers idea brought to you by a bunch of civil servants on their Pelotons”, the financial savings of replanning the workplace can’t be ignored.
“Rents, business rates and running costs are coming into sharp focus in 2022,” comments MPL Interiors’ Partner, Harry Simons. “We are encouraging clients to look at ways they can reduce fixed overheads through relocation, space replanning and refurbishment. Once an occupancy analysis has taken place – something the MPL team can organise – we can establish where a company is able to downsize to a smaller, cheaper-to-rent premises, free a floor or portion of their workplace to sublet, or even make wholesale energy efficiency improvements to lower fuel bills.”
MPL can help other organisations follow Whitehall’s suit, creating a new blueprint that takes working from home, rota patterns, annual leave and offsite working into account. “For some businesses, the days of a set desk for every person – regardless of the number of days they’re in the office – are over. Our job is to help businesses work out how many desks they actually need, how their workplace can be optimised for a more fluid, interchangeable workforce and integrate tech solutions – such as dedicated video conferencing rooms - so remote/offsite employees can still work as a united entity,” concludes Harry.
If your workforce is changing this year and you’d like a workplace evaluation, contact MPL Interiors today.