Has the idea of a '˜traditional office' had its day?

The face of a working environment has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Today, more and more people - even those working what was once considered to be a 9-to-5 job - are taking the opportunity to work more flexible hours from home, or in co-working spaces. So how important is a traditional office environment?

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:38 am
Updated Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:40 am
Philip Bennison - views page

- SARAH WEST, TRAINEE SOLICITOR AT SHULMANS LLP

Whilst I don’t dispute the attraction to working from home, the view from Wellington Place is too good to miss.

We are at the heart of Leeds booming business quarter with new neighbours moving in all the time. If I was to work from home I wouldn’t be able to attend a thai boxing class at lunchtime, or grab a burrito from the street food vendors and sit on the deck chairs in the sun. Nor would I be able to attend that creative writing class I heard about, or try the new prosecco bar; and that’s not even stretching outside of Wellington Place. Regardless of my job or the responsibilities that could or couldn’t be fulfilled at home, I’d miss the opportunity to take up all that the city has to offer.

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Sarah West - views page

I’m inclined to agree that the traditional office has had its day. But luckily for us, our office isn’t ‘traditional.’ It’s an environment I want to work in – it offers multi-functional spaces, floor to ceiling windows and most attractive of all, it’s open plan. Notwithstanding the aesthetics, the open plan environment offers unique opportunity for me work in partnership with experienced lawyers, and to be a part of insightful discussions which I would otherwise miss out on if were all cordoned off in separate officer. All of this key to the service we offer our clients, and key to my development as an aspiring lawyer.

- PHILIP BENNISON, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, FABLR

When you think of a workplace you may think of it as just a place to get work done, but it is much more than this.

It has the potential to be a home-from-home, a community, and a place to learn and develop your skills. I have worked in large offices, from home, and in co-working spaces, so I’ve experienced a breadth of working environments. I now work for myself, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Working from home is something I’ve never been particularly good at. I get distracted easily. But even if I could be productive in a home office, I still would miss out on chatting with my peers in the communal kitchen, meeting and networking with people, and the general buzz of people building, innovating, and creating. I’m in a co-working office the moment. We rent a couple of desks for me and my team, and my business partner does the same in Manchester. It gives us the flexibility to grow and develop without the commitment of a a dedicated office. Can we work from home instead of an office? Probably. Should we? Not in my opinion. Working from home would be just one more step toward separating and dehumanising ourselves. We would losing some of the most important things about the work environment - comradery, shared experiences and expertise, and, perhaps more important, solidarity.