Guy Gowing, managing partner at Arnolds Keys, talks about changes in the workplace and Arnolds Keys’ new office.

While it is customary to cite the pandemic as the reason for all sorts of seismic changes in the way we work, Covid accelerated a process that was well underway before those dark days of lockdown.

Ever-advancing technology, the need to attract and retain the best talent, evolving attitudes to work/life balance; all of these were already changing the face of work, particularly for those of us who work in an office.

In Norwich, the introduction of Permitted Development Rights (in 2015, five years before the pandemic) removed many older office buildings from the market, improving the overall quality of the city’s office stock.

At the same time, work was changing. As technology started taking over the more mundane tasks, employers recognised that collaborative working was the way to get the best value out of their employees.

That meant providing an environment that was conducive to creative thinking and team working.

At the same time, a new generation of employees emerged, with different expectations of what work should be.

In a tight labour market, the brightest talent realised it was in a good position to negotiate against its priorities, and often those priorities were as much about the working environment as they were about salary.

The result has been something of a sea change in office accommodation. Offices are still very much needed, but focussing on quality rather than quantity.

Today’s offices need to be well-designed, with collaborative workspaces, adaptable to the latest technology (and future-proofed).

They need to be located where people want to work, and they need to be accessible.

We have been advising our clients about these trends at Arnolds Keys over recent times, and now we are practising what we preach.

Last week we moved our Norwich head office to a much more modern, open-plan office suite.

It is all on one level, with attractive breakout areas and equipped with the latest communications technology.

A car park for visitors, full disabled accessibility, lots of daylight, a city centre shop window; these were all boxes that needed ticking.

We count ourselves very fortunate that we found this at 25 King Street, just across from our previous premises.

They say that the only constant is change, and that certainly applies to the world of work. A workplace that is fully adaptable to the constantly evolving way of working is now a necessity if you want to attract and retain the best people and get the best out of them.

Our new offices have a great coffee machine too. Do pop in and look for yourselves, and we’ll fire it up for you.

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