Planning For Success After COVID-19: Location

2021-05-26 |  Ruari Scullion

What is changing?

Traditionally, a location strategy would look at how a company’s offices and workspaces enable it to deliver its strategic objectives.

This generally meant reviewing the suitability of these spaces for fostering productivity, creativity, and employee wellbeing. It might also include assessing new cities or sites to improve access to talent.

However, the pandemic has forced companies to re-evaluate not only how we work, but where we work. Do we need the same locations and workspaces when we have been able to work remotely for the past 18 months?

How will this impact you?

This will impact your organisation’s location considerations in three main ways

  1. With the trend for remote working expected to continue, you may need less space: The majority of companies we’ve spoken to have said that their employees want to work remotely more frequently than they did pre-COVID. Most have demonstrated that they can work productively – supported by the right technology – and have enjoyed the benefits of a greater work-life balance as a result. Flexible working, a trend that was slowly picking up momentum, is likely to become the norm. Therefore, less space may be required, which will mean less money spent on offices.

  2. The purpose of your office may change: If staff are only occasionally using offices, then there is an opportunity to define what purpose they serve, and to look at the strategic objectives they should support. Most agree that they will continue to be important places to train junior staff, to foster creativity, to set objectives and to manage performance. Identifying the reasons for having an office will help to define the size and location of your workspace.

  3. Technology will be critical for any fundamental change to your location strategy: With more teams splitting time between home and the office, it’s important that they have the technology to support a hybrid way of working. Will meeting rooms become Zoom or Teams-enabled, allowing people to seamlessly interact whether working remotely or in office? Is the IT kit at home comparable to the one in the office in terms of usability and spec? If not, a two-tier workforce may not work for you. 

What do you need to do about it?

Firstly, you should survey your teams to identify where, why, and how they want to work. You should then overlay this data with the strategic objectives of the business. For example, if staff want to work completely remotely, but your business depends on their frequent interaction with third parties, then you should set out the parameters around when staff should use offices and when they can work flexibly. This will allow you to figure out how much space is needed in the future and where the office should be located.

After that, you should review your existing footprint to identify opportunities to reduce cost and improve employee experience. How much square footage and how many desks do you need? How much collaboration space is required? Is there an opportunity to consolidate into fewer sites or reduce the space needed within your existing offices? Are there sub-letting opportunities?

Your location strategy should also [re]consider off-shoring or near-shoring opportunities, even if these were previously discounted. Many of the perceived difficulties of managing teams cross-border have become more manageable with the new ways of working. 

How can we help?

Location considerations form part of a broader conversation around what the Future of Work will look like. We have supported several organisations define and implement new approaches to meet the new expectations of their teams and their customers. This covers everything from defining your strategy and agreeing how you want to work in the future, through to what this can mean for your office footprint and workspaces. 

If this or any of our other related COVID articles interest you, then please get in touch with Helen Clark.

Further reading:

Planning For Success After COVID-19: Product & Service Offering

Planning For Success After COVID-19: Customer Data

Contact Helen Clark:


Phone: +44 (0)7585 111 518

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