Yesterday's edition of Property Week carried an article written by Helen Beresford, head of ID:SR at architects Sheppard Robson, under the title "How crash course in WFH will affect future of office design".
With disturbing symmetry, 51 years ago to the day, on 16 April 1969, BBC's Tomorrow's World revealed to its audience the office of the future. In a soothing, somewhat smug voiceover, the Boss, as that is surely who he is, describes to viewers his world of work: "ah my office, the perfect office...perspex desk, no in-tray, no out-tray, no phone, no filing cabinets, no clutter....quiet....cool....very efficient....I need never get out of this chair...hmm....that'll be nice, no distractions just me and the work, alone and efficient..."
As with much of the programme's content across its four decades of broadcasting, what this vision really demonstrates is that predicting the future is far from easy. Yet I think we can already be certain that in a matter of just a few weeks Covid-19 has irreversibly changed office life and corporate attitudes to WFHers, at last heralding in a way of working that many thought would become the established norm 20 years or more ago.
However, reports of the death of the office are greatly exaggerated. Our offices may be reconfigured, repurposed, re-imagined but we will still, in time, gather - less frequently than before perhaps - if only because a change of scenery does us all a power of good.
Prior to the impact of Covid-19, the office had already become a place of convergence between professional and personal, formal and informal. Willingness to embrace flexibility and upend traditional ideas of corporate culture has already been established, so changes enforced by the pandemic will only further feed this burgeoning appetite for agility.