Throughout the pandemic, mainstream and business media have often focused on the future (or death) of the high street. After all, it is a hallmark of every town and city, and its changing fortunes have reflected wider changes in society, notably the rise of e-commerce. So whilst the reopening of the high street provides a much-needed boost of footfall and revenue, it is still not the whole story.
Specifically, organisations that are imagining a new, more dynamic future for town and city centres are able to cut through and be heard on this increasingly competitive topic. For instance, even though a return to the office looms on the horizon, will those offices still be located where they once were? Indeed, many larger corporations have already said publicly that they envisage staff working remotely for the foreseeable future, even after the vast majority of the population has been vaccinated.
This is an important conversation that has raised the prospect of “hub and spoke” working, where a central location is combined with “spokes” or offshoots of people working from home or in flexible workspaces.
Indeed, as Sapience client and workspace IT-enablers technologywithin have argued, disused retail space could be converted to flexible workspace, allowing people to work in more agile ways closer to home while still accessing the in-person benefits of an office.
Don’t stay in your lane
Such thinking also plays into other important debates beyond that of work-life balance. For example, it also touches upon the UK Government’s “levelling up” agenda, by potentially bringing more well-paid jobs to once forgotten high streets. Similarly, the conversion of retail space to flexible workspace could help close the revenue gap for many high street landlords. Ultimately, these types of conversations have a direct benefit for the businesses having them.
Because by engaging with bigger topics of interest to a wider audience, organisations can raise their own brand awareness much more than if they simply talked about their products or services in very narrow terms.