15 Oct 21

Remote working’s impacting on mobility and office space

European-based vehicle leasing provider Arval and BNP Paribas Real Estate have researched the impact the COVID-19 pandemic and the adoption of remote working has had on fleets, mobility and the need for office space.

Four different scenarios have emerged, details about which the two companies have published in a white paper.

The paper highlights that although the pandemic accelerated a shift to remote working across Europe and hit the corporate real estate market heavily, there are already encouraging signs of recovery. That said, it could also have a lasting impact on employees returning to the office and could even change, forever, the way organisations work. According to Arval and BNP Paribas, this is accelerating the move to alternative mobility solutions and the need for flexible working practices.

The need to be less bound by bricks-and-mortar

Shams-Dine El Mouden, Arval Consulting Director, said: “There is clearly a huge number of factors that dictate whether or not a company can change its approach to work, and we know that certain sectors are better placed to do so than others. However, the four scenarios illustrated by our matrix show that industries less bound by physical constraints can transform and combine bricks-and-mortar and remote working practices

The four different scenarios that emerged from the research were: a hybrid approach - satellite offices; maximised remote working; hybrid approach - flex working mode, and rapid return to the office.

Hybrid Approach - Office Structure Satellite

This is where businesses have established a series of satellite offices, often co-working spaces while retaining but downsizing the main headquarters. The impact on traditional corporate fleets has been minimal.

Maximise Remote Working

This is where a completely remote workforce (or the majority of the workforce works remotely) has quashed real estate costs. It does away with the environmental impact of physical premises and travel and makes life logistically easy for employees because, at most, they make the occasional journey to a co-working space to meet colleagues in person.

A Hybrid Approach - Flex Working Mode

In this scenario, existing office space has been reshaped to create more collaborative working areas, such as meeting rooms and large working spaces. Employees have been given the option of a physical office but can still work remotely if they need to. Corporate fleets have remained unchanged, while car-sharing and micro-mobility solutions have flourished.

Rapid Return to the Office

Employees have gone back to physical locations and working practices as they were before the arrival of Covid 19. This has had a zero impact on company fleet’s management.

These new ways of working will have to respond to employees’ well-being by using and making available offices and workspaces to maintain direct contacts and thus corporate culture. The impact on the corporate fleet and acceleration of mobility will have to be factored in.

Image of remote workers on a conference call, courtesy of Shutterstock.

Authored by: Alison Pittaway