This problem was compounded by the fact that if you’re charging for space by the day, week or month then when everyone starts working from home then your revenue streams pretty much stop immediately. However, as we now start to take the first tentative steps towards a return to the workplace, there may be new hope for at least some of these flexible office providers.

Working from home has opened the eyes of many people and businesses to a different way of being.

A recent Colliers International study found that 50% of the UK workforce would now favour working remotely for 1-2 days per week. However, whilst this would make positive contributions to relieving congestion on public transport, the cost of offices for businesses and probably the wellbeing of workers, it is a moot point as to whether this remote working is best done from home.

Few people have the luxury of a dedicated ‘home office’ and, as such, perching in your living room or bedroom with a laptop poses all sorts of ergonomic, concentration and connectivity issues. However, if you could walk, bike or take a short car ride to a local serviced office and work, say, two days a week from there that could be far more attractive. Obviously, this could create strong new demand for serviced office space but it would be more likely that this demand will be felt in the suburbs and commuter belt. This won’t be of much comfort to the operators who have all their centres in city core locations but could bring new vitality to local environments and the regeneration of High Streets.

While the pandemic plays out, there is an ongoing need to avoid environments where there are a high density of people. A ‘hybrid’ approach of dividing your weekly working hours between your business’s main office and a local, serviced office could be a model which delivers social and financial benefits to both employer and employee.

It would be perhaps fitting that after all the tragedy and disruption that the pandemic has brought, one of its lasting legacies could be a better work-life balance for millions.