That’s pretty much also the description of a hotel room so it’s not surprising that some of the major operators in that sector are looking to remedy their plummeting levels of occupancy by hiring out their rooms to office workers.
The working from home model is already looking like a busted flush as millions come to terms with the realities of noisy kids/pets/neighbours, ergonomically unsuitable workspaces (the kitchen table!), and the sheer monotony of occupying the same environment 24/7.
So hotel operators like Accor with its ‘Hotel Office’ concept are exploring providing an alternative to working from home and the less-than-biosecure spaces offered by coworking centres.
Accor’s service can be booked for a single-day or a five-day package, and rates are typically less than an equivalent overnight stay at each hotel. Guests booking a Hotel Office package will also have access to the hotel’s “bars, restaurants and wellbeing rooms, in addition to all in-room amenities”.
With London hotels experiencing an average occupancy rate of 25%, it seems more than likely that Accor’s lead will be followed by others.
When workplaces gradually transformed from individual offices to a mostly open-plan layout, nobody could have predicted that trend might be reversed. Ironically, after the Second World War when office space in London was in short supply, many hotels – particularly in the West End – were converted to offices precisely because their cellular lay-out was so conducive to the prevailing way of working.
Now it seems that hotels might again have the right formula for the displaced office worker: social distancing guaranteed, disinfected spaces upon request, and most important of all, privacy.
And, of course, if you work late, you could always sleep over.