Do Something Great

Written by Jamie Rothwell

On May 28, 2020

The office is a vital part of our daily lives, both culturally and mentally. More than just a place to work, many of our social bonds and partnerships have been formed in the office. A great office is also the beating heart of any organisation, projecting its brand, identity and culture. So, could we really live and work without the office, is the office really dead? Well no, I don’t think so – long live the office!

However, I do think that our relationship with the office and the way we use it is going to change fundamentally.

Why do I think this?

The debate around the question of whether the office is dead or not is passionate on both sides. I guess like politics; the answer depends on how you ask the question and the detail behind it.

The media is full of different surveys at the moment, all trying to support both sides of the debate. The headlines could equally read “76% of people surveyed said they like working at home” while also saying that “76% of people want to go back to the office”. How can this be, who is right? Well, both probably.

A more detailed survey in the US last week seems to shed more light on the situation.

When asked first if they wanted to return to a physical office then an overwhelming percentage of people said yes. Easy victory then you would say to the debate, we all want to go back to the office. But just hang on in there a moment. The second question asked was “post COVID-19 how often do you anticipate going into a physical office” and the answers showed a different picture and how our relationship with the office may change.

Answers by City were:

Bay Area (San Francisco)

  • No – 14%
  • 1 to 2 days a week – 46%
  • 3 to 4 days a week – 26%
  • Everyday – 14%

New York

  • No – 14%
  • 1 to 2 days a week – 40%
  • 3 to 4 days a week – 27%
  • Everyday – 19%


  • No – 15%
  • 1 to 2 days a week – 42%
  • 3 to 4 days a week – 27%
  • Everyday – 16%

The result doesn’t surprise me and reflects many of our own personal gut feelings. Our preference for the future seems to be a hybrid of a blended working week between the home and office.

The great home working experiment created by the reaction to COVID-19 has worked. Business continued, we got more time with our families, we began to manage our people based on output, not facetime and the planet took a breath as the rush hour disappeared.

This should provide us with an opportunity to embrace change and to adapt for a better future. I think it’s a big opportunity for the commercial interiors industry to embrace and take the lead with. Acrylic screens are not the answer… Think Big. Think Bold. Think long term change.

There are understandable short-term fears and practicalities of returning to the office post-COVID-19, but when we return to the office, we will want smarter spaces that make us feel safe, stimulate us and allow for greater collaboration and creativity.

Technology and forward-thinking solutions like Hotbox and Sedes are a part of this solution and will allow us to work when, where and how we want. What else could we need?

The office as we knew it may be dead – but let’s make the office of the future an even greater place to be.