The pandemic has caused a complete reassessment of how we approach our lives, from where we live to how and where we work. It has massively increased and focused interest in creating places where everything we need to live our everyday lives can be found within a distance short enough to walk, cycle or take a short bus ride to – ’20-minute neighbourhoods’. 20 minutes is considered to be the walking distance that most people are happy to cover for daily errands, with food shops, schools, health services, work opportunities, outdoor leisure opportunities, entertainment and financial services in easy reach. It equates to around a mile on foot. For those who can’t manage to walk or cycle, plans for 20-minute neighbourhoods need to align with transport infrastructure planning, so that using public transport locally is easily achievable.

Staying local and reducing traffic congestion is good from an environmental viewpoint and also as means of stimulating local businesses, leading to increasing employment opportunities close to home. There has been talk for years on how to accomplish this by decreasing our dependence on cars and utilising technology more effectively to enable remote working. A lot of people were always deeply sceptical about how this could ever be brought about or whether it could actually work in practice.

Work-life balance in 20 minute neighbourhoods

The chief argument for continuing to commute to town and city centres on a daily basis was based around the need to provide employers with the widest choice of candidates and for the workforce being close not just to workmates but also to customers and suppliers. The work from home revolution we have seen over the past 18 months has disproved these arguments once and for all.

For many of us, working from home has been proven effective, in some cases leading to higher productivity and in many cases, a better work life balance. Our appreciation and awareness of our own locality and community have been hugely enhanced by long periods of lockdown. For some sectors, it appears that it no longer matters at all where someone lives in relation to where their company is based. All that’s needed is a practical space in which to work and reliable internet access.

Covid has sped up the rate of change

Mammoth cultural change of this kind usually takes a very long time to implement, but in this, as it has in all kinds of ways in many areas of life, Covid has sped up the rate of change. Our usage of technology has come on in leaps and bounds and forced to adapt by circumstances outside our control, we have embraced a new way of life. Hybrid working, part office and part remote, looks set to become a popular compromise for many of us.

House sales are already showing that homeworking has increased demand for larger homes in less densely populated places as large swathes of the population are rejecting the idea of ever returning to long daily commutes. Organisations must now adapt their thinking and their work model to ensure this becomes an efficient and productive way of working for everyone.

With years of experience in change management, the C.Co team is ideally placed to assist you to develop your future-work model and create a successful future hybrid workplace. Find out how we can help you maximise opportunities, as well as implementing the practical changes needed. Our rapid diagnostic assessment tool for future working can be delivered at pace. Contact us to find out more.