How Covid-19 Has Affected Our Workspaces
The Rise of Homeworking
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put an increased focus on the manner in which people work. Measures introduced by the UK government to contain the coronavirus include guidance to work from home if possible.
In April 2020, nearly half (46.6%) of people in employment did some of their work from home, with the vast majority (86.0%) of these homeworkers stating that this was because of the pandemic. (ONS)
Growth in Domestic Garden Buildings
The perception of the garden being an extension of the inside living space continues to increase and, in addition to homeworking, people are spending more time in their homes to socialise and undertake their hobbies. This, together with other factors, has seen people improving their homes and gardens, providing opportunities in the garden rooms and structures market.
The recent Covid-19 restrictions meaning that people had to work from home, wherever possible, has provided the opportunity for employers and employees to experience the pros and cons of home working, which may consequently become more commonly practiced in the future. Whilst most people have been working in their homes, some may decide they need a separate area for working if they are to do this on a regular basis, which could provide increased opportunities for the sale of garden buildings into the medium-term.
An increase in homeworking has seen an increase in those wanting to separate their home and working space and looking at a garden based facility to achieve this.
Smart Homes Technology
The UK smart heating controls sector has evolved and is expected to show high levels of growth to 2025 and beyond. With the Covid-19 pandemic and trend towards homeworking it is anticipated that there will be a growth in advanced systems that offer zoned heating control of the home during the day. There will also be greater demand for conventional and smart TRVs for control of individual radiators. – Residential Central Heating report
The trend towards homeworking is likely to continue as increased broadband availability, advances in technology, increased travel costs and the benefits of flexibility encourage more people to work from home.
It is anticipated that there will be a growth in smart advanced systems offering zoned heating control of the home during the day. There will also be greater demand for conventional and smart TRVs for control of individual radiators. With the current trend towards homeworking, there is also an increasing requirement to ‘zone’ heating areas in the home.
There is a growing demand for smart thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). These are fitted to individual radiators of a property, allowing the homeowner to heat only specific areas of the home during the day. The number of suppliers that offer smart TRVs has increased in the last 2-3 years and now include Hive by British Gas, Tado, Drayton, Danfoss and Devolo UK.
UK Household Penetration of Smart Heating Controls 2017, 2020 & 2025
Creating a smart zoned heating system can offer better control and greater energy savings to the homeowner. Given that Part L states that all new houses larger than 150m² should be built with at least two heating zones, these advanced zoned systems are likely show good growth in the future, particularly with the current trend towards homeworking.
The Fall of Office Working
The Rise of Coworking Spaces
Continued changes in working practices, such as growth of co-working workspaces, greater flexibility in working hours and homeworking, “hot desking”, and a growth in businesses requiring 24hr access, all add to the need to manage who is using the workspace and when.
Facial recognition and other biometrics for access control to workplaces is on the rise. The Covid-19 pandemic has generated further development of specific applications such as management of crowd density and touchless access control.
Electronic Security Market - Access Control, CCTV, Intruder Alarms % Share by Value 2019
The retail and entertainment & leisure sectors were particularly severely affected by Covid-19, exposing the fragility of many businesses, and the long term growth of e-commerce will continue to affect the retail sector. Commercial office construction is also likely to be weak in the short term if the reduced need for office space generated by the increase in homeworking during 2020 becomes a permanent feature.
"It remains to be seen whether the move towards greater homeworking will remain once the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic pass, or whether employers are likely to revert to previous working practices. Should homeworking become more commonplace over the next few years, this will have an adverse impact upon demand for commercial office space."
Reports Featured within this Document