Work-From-Home Has Left Behind Many ‘ Ghost Towns’, Is It Sustainable?

by Shatakshi Gupta

Ever since Coronavirus Pandemic hit the world, it has changed ways of living and earning. It has affected almost everyone’s life on the planet. By allowing the employees to work from home had helped firms to keep afloat during this crisis. But as regular working space stood empty, many of the local businesses dependent on the passing trade are suffering.

The large city centres have become ‘Ghost Towns’ now, it affects many local dependents like cleaners, sandwich trucks, dry cleaners etc.

Work From home could be a permanent culture

Many companies said they were offering choice and flexibility to those who want to return, particularly in the banking and finance sectors. A large number of firms say that working from home – which was initially introduced as a temporary measure in lockdown – could become a more permanent work culture. Some companies’ take on this.

  • Fujitsu announces permanent home working plan.
  • The law firm Linklaters announced that all of its 5,300 staff could spend up to 50% of their working time remotely.
  • Lloyds Banking Group is reinventing its office space requirements and working culture, as most of its staff have worked effectively from home during the crisis.
  • Others including NatWest, Fujitsu, Facebook, Twitter and HSBC have also said they plan to allow much more flexible working in future.

The reason behind such initiatives is clear, it allows companies to cut their costs while providing employees with a better work-life balance.

Drawbacks of such working-culture

 Work-from-home had worked very well for many and is likely to remain an alternative. But it has some drawbacks as well.

British Businesswoman Dame Carolyn said that it has “serious downsides” including a lack of opportunities to train new recruits and foster better work and productivity in certain types of business. The impact on local businesses is also very adverse in such a case. For instance, many food chains– which were dependent on a break work crowd – had to close many of their outlets. They also had to cut their staff’s hours and pay.

She further said, “It’s time for the UK to bring its workplaces back to life or we will look back with regret at the jobs lost, training missed and communities harmed.”

Adapting Businesses

Some dependent on office workers businesses have stayed alive by adapting the new way to operate.

Also read: The Poor Can’t Work From Home, Now Face Risks to Health & Income

  • Local street vendors, who were dependent on passer-by are now switching to the home delivery system and finding their another set of the customer base.
  • Super local co-working spaces are now popping up. For example, Sam Barber, a partner at Workshop, which offers co-working spaces in the centre of Winchester, says she has seen a significant increase in enquiries from people who no longer want to commute to London. These co-working spaces provide you with many services with a conducive working environment.