The past two years have taught us a lesson in productivity: it’s possible (and acceptable) to conduct the nine-to-five from home, in a café, on a train, by the beach… We’ve grown accustomed to working anywhere and everywhere.

William Newton

William Newton

Navigating changing government work-from-home advice is a challenge, but not a new one, and I’m confident the office will remain the beating heart of the working world. It is a space that nurtures company culture, allows collaboration to flourish and encourages employees to engage with work in person rather than on screen.

Recent Colliers research found London was the most popular office location for 2022 for 45% of global investor respondents, paving the way for an office market renaissance. There is strong investor anticipation that office demand will drive a 10% rise in core office values in the next 12 months.

Despite fears that the office would become a thing of the past, the opposite has occurred: the office remains synonymous with working. But employers now have to offer the flexibility of hybrid working to remain relevant, raising the question: who should foot the bill for the ‘home’ bit of the hybrid model?

Developers must step up to the plate to create better-connected buildings

Portugal recently introduced rules requiring employers to help cover workers’ energy and internet costs.

If hybrid working is to work in the long term, it is time to talk about who should pay for the better internet connectivity a flexible, hybrid workforce needs.

The buck shouldn’t stop with employers. Developers and landlords must ensure the built environment can accommodate the connectivity demands of hybrid working, today and long into the future.

Financial support

Research shows more than half of Europeans (57%) think employers have a duty to provide financial support for the costs of improving connectivity when working from home, while 62% see working remotely as beneficial to their wellbeing and 60% agree that poor internet connection causes stress.

What’s clear is that people like remote work because they think it’s good for them, but poor digital infrastructure is a significant pain point.

While it is likely to become the employer’s responsibility to support staff in connecting via an immediate and reliable network, it will be the responsibility of landlords/developers to make sure the homes of today and tomorrow incorporate first-rate connectivity to facilitate productivity, ensure cost efficiencies and reduce stress when working from home.

This goes beyond the landlord and developer. The entire real estate industry needs to buy into improving buildings’ digital infrastructure – homes and offices alike – if hybrid working is to continue successfully.

Developers must step up to the plate to create better-connected buildings and governments need to be ready to provide a subsidy or mandatory regulations for better connectivity in all new residential and commercial buildings.

To support the workers of tomorrow, there needs to be a standardised approach to the experience we deliver not only in our workspaces, but in our homes and social spaces too.

William Newton is president and managing director of WiredScore