Businesses have adapted the way they work more so over the past few months than they ever have before. Previously, working from home was a rarity; a luxury in many cases, however, it has now become a common way of working. But what does this mean for the traditional office?
I caught up with Emma Mason, Centre Manager of The Business Centre in Barry, to see how the crisis has affected the way their clients are working, and what they believe the furture holds for office spaces.
Hi Emma, thanks for chatting with us! Tell us a bit about The Business Centre, who you are, what you do, and how long you’ve been helping local businesses.
The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd supports local business to grow and thrive by providing simple, flexible and professional services. These services range from physical Office Space to Virtual Office Packages, Meeting Room Hire and so on. Over the past 13 years, we have helped and supported over 500 small businesses and watched them grow and expand into successful, flourishing companies. Our moto, that we’ve worked with since day one is ‘We take care of you, whilst you take care of your business’.
How did lockdown affect The Business Centre?
Throughout lockdown majority of our clients were not able to travel to The Business Centre to utilise their office space which did affect the atmosphere around the centre, however we had several of our care company customers still using their spaces as well as financial advisors as key workers and therefore decided to keep The Business Centre open to support these customers.
Have you seen more businesses coming back into their offices since lockdown restriction have eased?
Yes, since the lockdown restrictions have eased, we have seen more and more companies return to their office suites each day. We would probably estimate that over 70% of clients are back on site at The Business Centre and using their office suites again.
What changes have you put in place now in The Business Centre?
To ensure that we are keeping all clients and visitors safe along with following the government guidelines in line with Covid-19, we have implemented the following:
- Screens around Reception desk
- Hand sanitizing areas around the building
- 2 meter distancing at all times
- One way systems in the corridors
- A limit on the amount of people using the toilets at one time
- Extra cleaning hours
We have also implemented a brand new offer to help potential new clients looking for new office space, this is one month free if you honour a 6 month agreement.
What has been the most significant change you’ve noticed since the crisis started?
The way that businesses have changed their working practices. At the Business Centre we have worked with our clients to change our services to suit their current working conditions.
Pic Credit: supplied
Although we have had a number of businesses return to normal and practice COVID secure policies, some of our customers have continued to work from home and we have supported these businesses by continuing to answer telephone calls, forward mail and also collect deliveries on their behalf.
What do you think the future holds for business premises/offices?
Although working from home has become the new normal, we do question whether it’s sustainable. Many people have had to adapt to working from home, finding a new rhythm and discovering the advantages and disadvantages of remote working. There’s a lot to be said for the flexibility of working from home, however lots of people have found themselves struggling to focus and missing the boost of working with our team, as well as managing boundaries between their work and home lives. For this reason we believe that the future is bright for local business hubs, providing we maintain a secure and safe environment for all members of stall and clients.
The future could also be a great opportunity for more targeted and local office space providers to be working with the local community and surrounding areas, rather than commuting into city centres.
Any advice you would give to businesses right now?
In very uncertain times it is easy to default to concern, worry and negative thoughts. There has been such a massive change to the way our world is and the news is always full of dread. In practice; we have seen our clients returning stronger than ever, and each one of them has been surprised that business has “not been as bad as feared”. As a result, I would like to encourage everyone to ‘Stay Positive’!
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